olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

about last night

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My friend Chloe took this picture with her phone outside Woolies on George street in the city last night and I love it. We’d just left a bar where we were celebrating the opening of Small Town Girl – Australia, South Africa and the USA at Gaffa gallery and I was feeling so happy. An hour or two earlier I was in a room full of people I love and people I’d never met. 23 framed photographs representing the best and brightest experiences I’d had over the previous two and a half years were lining the walls. Looking around that room, I realised that the Small Town Girl project encompasses so, so much more than the images. It occurred to me that it really isn’t about the photos at all. It’s about relationships and connection. The camera is the ‘key’ that gives me access to the girls’ lives – it’s my reason for being there – but the experiences we share, the things we learn from each other and the reciprocal understanding we gain is the real reason and purpose. The photos are just evidence, you know?

I’d like to thank everyone who came along and said kind things and told me that the photos/words on the walls made them feel something – the highest compliment. I’d especially like to thank dear, dear Justin – my mentor and friend – who spoke so beautifully about the project and tied it together perfectly. I am so fortunate. The world is abundant.

summer type stuff – part three

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1. Brendan at Gordons 2. Brendan in Marrickville 3. Inner city greenery 4. Faith and Yudi just before they got married 5. Spit to Manly walk vista 6. Leica light leak ladies – Lee and Sophie at the MCA 7. One of my last days at the house on Wilson street 8. New friends on the train from Wynyard to Redfern 9. Mama at Brickfields a few days after Christmas 10. Changing room window 11. Anna and little man George 12. Goodbye Lyndsay ‘the Doctor’ McDougall! 13. Chippendale laneways 14. Reading on the rocks

All photos shot with a Leica M6 and Kodak Portra Film. Developed/scanned at Richard Photo Lab.

summer type stuff – part two

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And just like that, I’m back! South Africa was fascinating and wild. The small town girls I met and photographed have such a special place in my heart and will never be forgotten. There’s so much more to say about the journey but for now, let’s go back to before. All photos shot with a Leica M6 and Kodak Portra film. Developed/scanned at Richard Photo Lab.

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so much to tell you

Elize Strydom web main page

…and so many pictures to show you. But they’re currently sailing through the sky somewhere between Los Angeles and Sydney and won’t arrive before I say goodbye to my laptop and hop on a plane bound for South Africa. Over the next two and a bit months I’ll visit towns with names like Nieu-Bethesda and Ngodwana and Eendekuil and photograph the teenage girls who live there. Maybe I’ll catch a glimpse of what my life could have been like? I’ll see my dad, aunties, cousins – family I met for the first time 12 years ago and haven’t seen since – and I’ll experience so much more of this wonderful ol’ world, stuff I can’t even imagine right now. I’m seriously amazed at the journey photography has taken me on and I’m feeling genuinely blessed to be off on another adventure. I’ll be holding onto all of the film and developing/scanning it when I get back in mid April but until then please do follow along at the Small Town Girl project Instagram x

sounds like 2014

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Okay, wow, if this video doesn’t compel you to vote in triple j’s 2014 Hottest 100 then I don’t know what will. I haven’t laughed so hard in a very long time…check it! Here’s my top ten:

1. Murmurs – Hundred Waters (Sitting at my desk at work, brushing tears from my cheek when I heard this for the first time)

2. Hunger of the Pine – alt-J (On repeat during the bus/train/bus ride between San Francisco and Los Angeles)

3. Two Weeks – FKA twigs (Blushing while listening to this in an airport lounge on my way to New Zealand)

4. Overcome – Tora feat. Merryn Jeann (Feeling super proud hearing Small Town Girl Merryn – from Byron Bay, Australia – sing on this track and playing it to Small Town Girl Tara when I was staying with her in Winthrop, USA)

5. Heavenly Father – Bon Iver (No explanation needed, obvi. Oh and this magical cover of it by Highasakite!)

6. Since Last Wednesday – Highasakite (My friend Zan emailed me this song because she “thought I might enjoy it”. She was so right)

7. Got It – Banoffee (On repeat one rainy Sunday afternoon helping me get over the post US trip blues)

8. End of the Affair – Ben Howard (“What the hell, love?” Goosebumps upon goosebumps)

9. Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes – Sun Kil Moon (Harrowing and grim and compelling and unforgettable)

10. Habits (Stay High) – Hippie Sabotage Remix – Tove Lo (Driving Tara’s grandma’s car – on the WRONG side of the road – around the winding Winthrop back streets and hearing this on one of T’s mix CDs. Guilty pleasure song. Sorry not sorry)

room for rent

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Sadly, I have to say goodbye to dear Rachel and the little blue house. I’m going to South Africa at the beginning of February and I’ll be there a few months so it’s just not practical to keep my room in Newtown. If you or someone you know is looking for somewhere to live (a renovated terrace house on Wilson street, across the road from Carriageworks/Eveleigh Markets, super close to Sydney Uni and Redfern Station and the city, perhaps?!) and you’re happy to share with a creative, passionate young school teacher/writer and pay $300 a week plus bills then please do get in touch: elizestrydom(at)live.com.au

summer type stuff – part one

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Mornings at the beach with Meg and Amelia // Strolls around the Eveleigh markets // Cups of tea with chocolate covered scotch finger biscuits on Ange’s new balcony // Summer, you can stay.

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Lee is one of my best friends and she sure helped make 2014 a sweet year. Oh and can we take a minute to appreciate that darn CUTE Gorman playsuit? Shot in Surry Hills with a Leica M6 – developed/scanned at Richard Photo Lab.

you will take the east side and i will take the west

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A month or so ago I hopped on a train and travelled south to a tiny beach town called Gerroa. To be precise, I got off the train at Gerringong and after refusing a lift from a guy driving by, walked into town, had a coffee, then headed four or so kays down the coast to Gerroa, the road and ocean on my left, rolling green hills on my right. I swatted flies and sang songs I knew all the words to. I stayed in a cabin at the caravan park and thought about what would happen if I never left. The city had been grating on me and I needed: some quiet, a horizon, birdsong. I did not need: construction noise, mobile phone reception, conversation. I wanted to devote a little time to figuring out who I am when I’m alone. I’m a different person depending on who I’m with (v. exhausting) but who am I when nobody else is around? (Still workin’ on that one.) The night I got back to Sydney I had dinner at my friend Matt’s place which is right in the middle of the city. I was reluctant to leave the silent and spacious bubble I’d been in for the previous two days but once I quit resisting, I realised that an evening of meaningful conversation and nourishing food was certainly welcome.

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^^ An accidental double exposure…not sure how that happened? Still getting the hang of my Leica.  All photos developed/scanned at Richard Photo Lab.

on this side

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Very rarely am I on this side of the camera but a few weeks back my friend Jason asked if he could take some photos (on film, of course) and interview me for his blog. At first I was all awkward and self conscious but eventually I started to enjoy myself. Now I know how it feels when I take YOUR picture!

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All images developed and scanned at Richard Photo Lab in the US of A.

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