olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

Month: April, 2014



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


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


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. 




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



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!


^^ Oh hey, dapper Dan.

small town girl – usa


UPDATE: I’m currently in the US and I’m still looking for one more girl to live with/photograph. If you were thinking of getting in touch – now’s the time. I’ll go anywhere in the US and I mean anywhere!

“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 20,000 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!