olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

overgrown

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It’s been out for more than a year but Overgrown by James Blake still slays me. Every time. And I haven’t tired of listening to it. All the time.  The moment’s other go-to artists include Sun Kil Moon, Asgeir, James Vincent McMorrow and Death Cab for Cutie. 

There are quite a few fun gigs coming up. If I didn’t have to get on a plane at 6:30am tomorrow I’d be at Oscar Key Sung and Banoffee at Good God tonight, fo’ sure. But next Monday I’m shooting the Jezabels at the Sydney Opera House and the week after that it’s the Arctic Monkeys and not long after that (drum roll) LAURYN HILL (!). I was going to Lorde’s Sydney show scheduled for next Friday but unfortunately it has been postponed until, like, November.

Book-wise, I’m reading Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver. To The Wedding by John Berger is next in line. I think I see a theme emerging…

Dan and I are working our way through Parks & Recreation with a little Community thrown in from time to time. I started watching Breaking Bad but it upset me and made me quite anxious so I quit. I know everyone raves about it but I really don’t think it’s for me. 

And finally, I’m devouring Matt Eich’s photography. The best stuff I’ve seen in a very long time. Intimate, poetic, fearless.

leafy locks

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A double exposure of lovely Lee Lee taken last Saturday when we visited the Blue Mountains. This shot turned out better than I thought it would!

(Re-posted this because I like the 6×4 version better than the square crop.)

wear it well

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Australian Fashion Week is happening in Sydney right now and it has reminded me of my one foray into that world. Three years ago I snapped the backstage preparations for Toni Maticevski‘s Spring/Summer 2011 show at Carriageworks. I then squeezed in amongst the dense pack of photographers to shoot the models strutting down the runway. I remember feeling quite overwhelmed and nervous yet forcing myself to play it cool and act like I knew exactly what I was doing. I’d love to do it again some time but I think I’d take a more photojournalistic approach. You know, try to find an angle, slow down, be in the moment, keenly observe and then *click*. Something a little more like what Tamara Dean captured here. Rachel and Hannah-Rose are covering this year’s event for Broadsheet and they’re going about it in a refreshingly level-headed way while still producing insightful and captivating words and images each day. Really, what else did I expect from these two wonder-girls? 

While we’re on the subject of fashion, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about style and sustainability, quality and ethics. For the last two years I’ve tried to buy clothes while keeping the mantra ‘seek style over trends’ in mind and I’ve been paying more and more attention to fabrics and where garments are made. Dan’s big on buying clothes that are both designed and made in the same country (eg. designed and made in Australia or Denmark or Sweden etc.) as he’s found it’s usually synonymous with care and quality. The more I look into it, the more I tend to agree. The other day I read the following quote from the PR Director of Australian label bassike, Jacqueline Perrett, and it really resonated with me: “There is a conscious step away from decided displays of luxury of the obvious and excessive kind, and no longer are the clothes wearing us. We’ve returned to a pared-back, understated luxury with a focus on integrity and longevity, and with greater regard for the product we’re buying ; where it came from, how and where it was made, and the philosophies of the brands we’re buying into.” And just yesterday I read this post on the slow and careful curation of a wardrobe and the process of developing personal style. 

I know things are tough for designers these days, but recently I was very disappointed to discover that one of my favourite labels has stopped making its clothes in New Zealand and has cut right back on quality fabrics like silk, linen, wool and cotton while sticking with the same price point. Thankfully, another one of my favourite labels, twenty-seven names, has not gone down that path. I refuse to pay $300+ for 100% rayon or viscose. 

Of course, from time to time, I still compromise and give in to my desire for something ‘on trend’ and affordable, but from now on I’m going to try my best to be a more conscious consumer and reject the collection of uncohesive and poor quality pieces. I’m aiming to buy less but choose well: I want to spend my dollars on garments that I’ll still be wearing and loving in 10 years time. 

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andre

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My dear brother at the Art Gallery of New South Wales last Sunday. 

lovers

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Dan’s brother Mike married the beautiful Bianca last Saturday. After a week of thunder and rain, the clouds cleared to reveal a sparkling Sydney day. Oh love. Oh these two. I can’t get enough!

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^^ Oh hey, dapper Dan.

small town girl – usa

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“I grew up in a small Australian town cut through the middle by a wide river, its two sides joined by a bendy bridge. I didn’t think the life I lived was anything special; I just did my thing and that was that. It’s only now with a bit of hindsight that I realise how unique those years on the cusp really were: Alive with possibility and yearning and so completely raw.

Almost exactly a year ago I posted this – a description of my Small Town Girl project and a call out to teenage girls in little US towns who were willing to have me come stay with them and photograph their average week. Friends and friends of friends shared the post and I had an amazing response from interested teenagers and their families. In June 2013 I flew to LA and set off, living with/photographing two girls in Oregon, one in Ohio, one in Maine and one in Texas. I landed back in Sydney in August and thought I was done. But I’m not done. I’m still curious. And so on June 9, I’ll touch down on US soil and set off again.

This time, I’d like to find out what it’s like to grow big in a small town if you’re African American, if you’re Native American or if you’re of Hispanic origin. I’m looking for 13-18 year old girls of diverse cultural backgrounds who live in towns with a population of 10,000 or less. I’ll live with you and your family/friends for a week and follow you around, taking fly-on-the-wall style photos that will form a body of work to be exhibited in galleries in Australia and the US.

If you’re interested or if you know someone who knows someone who knows a teenage girl who fits the bill, then please comment here or email me for more details: elizestrydom@live.com.au Feel free to share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and any of your other networks. Many thanks!

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an inspiring thing

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I was stoked to discover that someone on the other side of the world wrote something lovely about this very blog. Thanks, Bijan! When I post my pictures and type my words, I must admit, I’m not thinking about how many people I’ll inspire or encourage. But it is quite heartening to know that my captures/ramblings are resonating. I’m trying my best to use this space to express my most authentic self and speak my heart as truthfully as possible – forget judgement, forget trends and what’s socially acceptable, forget trying to be what I think others think I should be. If that ends up being an inspiring thing then hooray!

Meanwhile, this week I’m getting serious about planning my next US trip and lining up some Small Town Girls to stay with/photograph. Tickets have been purchased – I fly out June 9 – and I may or may not have just booked four days at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs to kick off the adventure. After that it’s down to business though, I swear!

local love

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Last Saturday I had breakfast at a bar. I drank a cold pressed green juice and ate a bagel with an organic egg and some relish on the side…plus a tiny pear and a slice of watermelon. Not your average pub fare, eh? There’s a reason for that: The Local Harvest Collective has taken over Darlo Bar’s upstairs communal lounge and filled it with bags of fresh produce, beautiful blooms and breakfast-y delights care of Cornersmith, Brooklyn Boy Bagels and Prodjuice Cold Pressed Juices. I met Hannah-Rose, Rachel and Alana there and we had the most relaxing morning, chilling on the couches and filling our tummies with fresh, local deliciousness. Just think, next Saturday that could be YOU!

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a man, a baby and a dog

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Dan and Vienna at The Top Shop in Byron…plus a pretty perfect end-of-the-roll light leak.

it all feels right

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Because sometimes you just need to book a last minute flight and go up to Byron to see your besties and their littles. It was such a quick visit – only one night – but if you wait for the ‘right’ time to go you’ll be waiting far too long. The children are growing, we’re getting older, life is moving on…I just miss my girls, Taryn and Ali. And so we went, Dan and I. We arrived at Ali and Nate’s place during quite a tumultuous time. They’re in the process of turning an ‘on the side’ venture into a full time gig, renovating a house in Lismore, setting up a home in Byron Bay, raising three kids under five, dealing with extended family issues – all that fun stuff. But Ali has never been one to sugar coat things or sweep the mess under the rug and I am thankful for that. I would much rather know the real Ali and stand beside her as she navigates the ups and downs of real life. It’s way easier to have a surface level friendship and only share in someone’s Instagram-able moments but you miss out on such rich and satisfying connection if you leave it at that.

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Time slowed down and the two days stretched right out. We played with Eden, Tully and Mosko, watched them swim with their uncle Hamish and ate lunch on the deck where Dan dozed off in the sunshine. In the evening we all took a dip round at Wategos then had a picnic dinner on the shore of Main Beach. The next day it was more of the same plus a catch up with Taryn and baby Vienna at The Top Shop. As we chatted I was filled with a feeling of just right-ness. I relished the ease and comfort of being in the presence of someone who knows and understands me so well. I love and appreciate my Sydney friends but those relationship are still in the early stages, a few years old, and there’s something quite different about the way you relate to someone you met when you were 16.

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