olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

Month: July, 2013

backtalk

ImageLook, I’m no good at thrift-shopping. I walk into the store with high hopes, set on finding some vintage gem that everyone else has overlooked. I start sorting through the racks of pre-loved garments with the best of intentions. But I lose interest…fast. I don’t have the eye, don’t have the stamina. I give up and go to the store next door instead, the one with ‘vintage inspired’ dresses that cost ten times as much. I guess I need my second hand threads curated. That’s where Portland’s Backtalk comes in. Never before have I seen such a good mix of affordable vintage, locally made and brand new clothes and jewellery. My friend Hannah and I stumbled on Backtalk when we were biking around the city’s Mississippi District last month. We struck up a conversation with the gorgeous Katie – store owner and jewellery maker – who gave us tips on where to eat, drink and shop in Portland. We exchanged band recommendations, too. Now I just need to hire her to be my personal shopper and I’ll never have to set foot in another op-shop again!

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red, white and blue

ImagePeople keep asking me what Australians think of (north) Americans. ‘How would you describe us?’ ‘Patriotic,’ I reply. ‘You seem so sure of where you’ve come from and who you are as a nation.’ I think Australians are uncomfortable with patriotism; I know I am. Isn’t it a bit arrogant? Should I be proud of my country’s history? What makes up our national identity anyway? When I see the Aussie flag I can’t help but think of bogans with Southern Cross tattoos and ‘we grew here, you flew here’ stickers on the back of their cars. Pretty sad, huh? That said, being away from home and immersing myself in another culture has given me much more clarity on the issue. And my little identity crisis certainly didn’t stop me celebrating the Fourth of July with Small Town Girl subject Jenn in Ohio.

35mm film developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in Hollywood. Thanks!

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huge hearted humans

ImageIn between stays with Oregon Small Town Girls Taylorann and Maddie, sweet Emily and her family took me in. It was a last minute arrangement and the Turners had hosted Emily’s high school graduation party the night before so I was expecting a low key evening. I most certainly wasn’t expecting an extensive tour of their spectacular surrounds, a campfire, s’mores (my first taste!) and a backyard movie under the stars. In a matter of hours I felt a genuine connection with the Turners and was touched by their honest interest in me and what I’m on about. I know I wrote about it a few posts ago but my goodness, the kindness of strangers just continues to hit me for six. Thank you so very much, dear Turners.

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little loves

ImageThinking about this little lion girl and her baby brothers. ImageImage

a camera and an idea

ImageI’ve been in the US for almost three weeks and I’m absolutely blown away by the generosity and warmth shown by the families who have opened their homes and welcomed me in. They’ve given up their beds, shared their food, disclosed their wi-fi passwords and driven me all over. The Small Town Girls have shown nothing but support for the project and have gone above and beyond to accommodate me. Reflecting on this, I’ve realised that I would never have found myself in such a unique and privileged position were it not for a camera and an idea. Time and time again I’m reminded that the camera is like a key to door behind which are people I wouldn’t have otherwise met and experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Like a little girl’s fourth birthday party on her family’s farm just outside Medford, Oregon.ImageImageImageImage

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