olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

Category: elize strydom

on this side


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!



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

summer stay

ImageThe first of Autumn was cold and wet and I braced myself for what I thought was in store. But then Summer made a beautiful return and I blessed every sunshiny day. I let the light and warmth fill me up, ever storing more, keeping it in reserve for the long Winter months ahead. The balmy weather inspired beach trips, bare legs, balcony nights and brunches with besties. Here’s a taste.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage^ ^ Solo swim selfies at sunrise on Good Friday, ha!

small town girl


I grew up in a small 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.

In 2012 I set out on a photographic journey of remembering and discovery. What’s it like to grow big in a small town? I was asking that question of myself as well as my four subjects; Jannah in Broken Hill, Savannah in Parkes, Emily in Grafton and Merryn in Byron Bay. I wanted my memories of adolescence both validated and challenged.

In June this year a selection of the images will be exhibited as part of the Head On Photo Festival in Sydney. And after entering them in the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award for photography I was named runner up.

Now, Small Town Girl is leaving home. On June 13 I will fly to the US of A and spend two months there, photographing the lives of teenage girls in Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi and Texas. The thing is, I haven’t found my girls yet. Can you help?

I’m looking for a girl (aged between 13-19) who lives in a town with a population of 20, 000 or less in each of the states listed above. I’ll live with her and her family/flatmates for a week and follow her around, taking fly-on-the-wall style photos.

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!


self (E)


matt corby


A week or so ago I caught a ferry over to Cockatoo Island to listen to Matt Corby. It was the third time I’ve seen him live. The first was in a tiny bar in Kings Cross in 2010 and the second was in my friend Talitha’s backyard in 2011 before ‘Brother’, before all of the craziness. Everyone seems to have something to say about the boy but there’s no denying he has a special thing going on.

The second to last picture is a girl who didn’t get in to the show, on her tippy toes trying to see over the barrier.

always breaking


“Feel as though my heart is always always breaking, every single bus trip and every single plane. I fall in love with the babe in the arms or the driver of the bus or the boy with the green eyes who clearly needs a little loving.” Clare Bowditch Thin Skin.

too sad to tell you


It had not been a good day.

too much


of not enough.

light + day


While it was still dark I hailed a cab and closed my eyes as we drove towards the seaside. My feet touched the sand at 5:45, two minutes after first sun. I watched as the light grew and slowly blanketed the ocean and the land and continued its journey across the sky. It was the Spring Equinox. A balance of light and dark, night and day. Comfort in the knowledge that soon, very soon, the light would outlast the darkness.


lunch in the veggie patch


The Veggie Patch Van has driven into town for the summer and I couldn’t be happier. Seasonal produce from local growers shared with friends in the park on a balmy afternoon? Don’t mind if I do. All summer long.