olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

Category: Uncategorized

about last night


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.



I met Judy at a bookstore in Potts Point. She was sitting reading and looked so serene so I asked if I could take her photo. She obliged and proceeded to tell me a bit about herself. She was born “just around the corner from here” and has spent all of her life in Sydney. She told me about some of the local characters she’d known and the changes she’d seen. I got her address and told her I’d print the photos and mail them to her. Meeting Judy made my day.

in a haze, a stormy haze


Tomorrow I’m going down the coast to stay in a caravan. That’ll be nice, won’t it?

girl gang goes to floriade


Yeah, we got up at 6am on a Sunday to drive to Canberra. Yeah, we attended a floral festival aimed at middle aged mums and grandmas. Yeah, we ate fairy floss. What of it?








only words


I am the dreamer, always the dreamer. After that evening spent taking photos on Ange’s rooftop and after my stroll home in the delicious warmth, I collapsed on my bed and gazed out the window and experienced such a lovely sense of wellbeing. A few ideas began to piece themselves together and words started to form an orderly queue in my mind. A poem was taking shape, for the first time in years. I texted Ange and Amelia: ‘How do I write a poem without sounding like a 15 year old girl?’ ‘Maybe write more how you would speak to me? I don’t know, I never mastered it’ came Ange’s reply. ‘Reading poetry can always help you figure things out. Don’t overdo adjectives, never talk about hearts or butterflies. Avoid rhyming…look for truth!’ said Amelia. I wanted to write about  something I’d observed, nothing groundbreaking, just interesting to me: Saying goodbye to someone who was about to take a trip and how strange it was to say goodbye as he was almost 12,000 kilometres away from me to begin with. When he arrived at his destination there would be almost 16,000 kilometres between us. But what’s another 4,000 kilometres? Apart is apart. Once we were in the same city and didn’t even know it, or each other. The poem is on a scrap of paper by my bed, unfinished.

tonight what feels important is this


Deeper and deeper they talked, baring their souls. Akhmatova confessed her loneliness, expressed her passions, spoke about literature and art. Berlin had to go to the bathroom but didn’t dare break the spell. They had read all the same things, knew what the other knew, understood each other’s longings. That night, Ignatieff writes, Berlin’s life “came as close as it ever did to the still perfection of art.” He finally pulled himself away and returned to his hotel. It was 11 a.m. He flung himself on the bed and exclaimed, “I am in love; I am in love.” An extract from this extraordinary piece: ‘Love Story’

A special thanks to Grizzly Bear for providing my late night soundtrack. Yellow House is still my favourite record. 


night, all night


But my nights were you. My happy thing, the best part. – Daniel Handler

alphabet family journal


Just over a year ago my friend Luisa asked me if I would like to contribute something to a new publication she was putting together. I jumped at the chance and pitched a photo essay. At the same time my friend Rachel told me Luisa had asked her to write a piece for what would eventually become Alphabet Family Journal. I wasn’t happy with the results of my shoot so I didn’t end up submitting it but Rach thought it would be cool if I took some photos of her and her then flatmate, Ella, in their little blue house in Newtown to sit alongside the article she was writing. We made our submission and kind of forgot all about it. Fellow photographers mentioned that they had contributed images too, but no one was really sure if or when the magazine would come to fruition. And now we’re all red faced because Alphabet Family Journal is here and it is glorious. Seriously, when I first held AFJ in my hands and slowly turned its matte pages I couldn’t quite believe how wonderful it was. It celebrates families (in all forms) and the homes they create together in a genuine and relatable way. The words are poignant and the images are warm, inviting and inspiring. I’m so proud of Luisa and the work she has done to get this thing off the ground. And I’m proud of the friends, fellow bloggers, photographers and writers who have submitted such high quality work. Last weekend Luisa asked me to take some photos of Maria and Mel reading AFJ for an article in Broadsheet. I’d been wanting to meet these ladies for some time now so it was the perfect scenario! Sweet Maria made us feel right at home in her Potts Point apartment and served green tea and homemade pie.


green eyes


I got some film scans back yesterday and noticed I’d made a lot of green pictures. Here are some of my favourites:

1. Rolling hills somewhere near Coffs Harbour // 2. Dan hidden in Surry Hills // 3. Lyss’s plants at Emerald Beach // 4. A vine that climbed over a wall in Surry Hills // 5. Construction workers moving a plant in Ultimo

Honey, you should know that I could never go on without you.



I have some photos in an upcoming group show – ‘Vital’ – and got to be part of the little promo video. It was filmed in Mike and Deb’s apartment on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Deb was the awesome director/producer/lender of the sweater I’m wearing while Bec Wright shot and edited. Check it out here.