1 Write consistently here and over on Surely Simple.
2 Stay organised.
3 Stay focused. But also relax and have fun.
Yup, just three! It’s so much simpler, isn’t it! HAPPY 2016!
1 Write consistently here and over on Surely Simple.
2 Stay organised.
3 Stay focused. But also relax and have fun.
Yup, just three! It’s so much simpler, isn’t it! HAPPY 2016!
Hello everyone. Today we have an interesting feature- all about instant photography. Polaroids are definitely making their comeback, and have been trendy for a while now. So it was perfect to talk to Kate who clicks instant photos with a creative expression and also, as a welcomed distraction from her busy student life. However, I think it’s more than a mere distraction- just check out her gorgeous instagram feed! I like the consistency and the varied subjects she takes shots of, and it’s always nice to see a good polaroid photo in your instagram feed, isn’t it? Read on to her what she has to say!
Please tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’m Kate and I’m a 20 year old student from the UK. I’m in my last year at University studying Computer Science and Business – which is a million miles away from my love of instant photography.
What sparked your interest in photography in general? How long have you been practicing?
I’ve always appreciated photography. I remember going to the Wildlife photographer of the year exhibition when I was little and enjoying reading the information about how the pictures were taken. I admired the patience and skill required to capture such a perfect shots. However, my interest in photography was amplified in June when my boyfriend Ben gave me an Instax camera for my birthday. I’d never specifically said I wanted one but he clearly thought I’d enjoy it and he was right. However, I think he is still pretty surprised at how big an obsession it has become for me!
I love how you capture moments exclusively with your polaroid camera! What interests you about polaroid photos?
I haven’t been practicing photography for very long at all, since I only got the camera in June. My camera – an Instax mini 90 neo classic has a lot more settings than a traditional polaroid camera. For example, you can adjust the light levels and take long and double exposure shots so there is lots of play with. It’s difficult to ‘practice’ instant photography on a student budget because the film is so expensive (75p/shot) so it’s frustrating when things go wrong. However, I do still experiment and I always keep the failed shots (which you wouldn’t if they were digital pictures!), although they don’t often make it to Instagram!
How do you interpret the presence and significance of photography in your lifestyle?
Until recently, photography wasn’t a very significant part of my life but now I’m also now constantly thinking of new things I can try. I get annoyed if I see something I really want to photograph and I don’t have my instax with me!
What keeps you motivated creatively in life?
Before University I had a pretty continuous creative outlet – I spent at least 10 hours a week practicing and performing music. I’m now a final year student on a science degree, and I no longer have time for music in the same way. Although, I didn’t realize it properly until I unboxed my camera- I think I was craving some creativity after 3 years of technology and business.
I think being given an instax camera reminded me that underneath the academic theory and coding, I’m actually quite a creative person and it’s nice to be reminded of that!
Can you share a glimpse of a typical day in your life?
Well, I’m a student, so the majority of my day is taken up by attending lectures, waiting for buses and procrastinating – that’s where photography and ‘pix_of_polaroids’ comes in.
I got my camera and started my Instagram account during the summer holidays when there was a lot more time and opportunities to take photos, but I’m still managing to take some shots on the way back from lectures and on the weekends.
What’s your outfit staple, favourite food, fave flower and country and why?
I’m notoriously scruffy so probably not the right person to ask about my outfit staple! I do have a vast collection of scarfs though, so maybe that is my outfit staple.
My favourite food has to be ice cream – I recently started making homemade ice cream. It’s really fun and easier than you’d think. I like experimenting and trying to recreate my favourite Ben & Jerry flavours (I have the recipe book!). Some of the flavours I’ve made so far include Oreo, honeycomb, salted caramel and strawberry.
I think daffodils are one of my favourite flowers because I love the springtime and they remind me of Easter egg hunts in the garden when I was little.
What kind of photography themes and subjects are you interested in nowadays?
Initially, when I got the camera I was just enjoying taking pictures of my friends and family. I hadn’t been thinking about it in a particularly creative way – until I took a photo of a pier stretching into the sea on a beautiful sunny day. I started to experiment, seeing if I could line the instant photo up with the rest of the pier. It was fiddly to achieve because of the differences in scale, reflection, focus and of course, all the strange looks you get from passers-by. I was happy with the result though. When I got home, I started looking at shots other people had taken on Instagram and that inspired me to continue.
I like trying to seamlessly blend the retro instant picture into its digital surroundings. I try to identify things that I can line up, for example, the horizon or a building. The most effective shots are a result of perfectly lining the instant photo up with the background but this is difficult to achieve! I also try to make the background as interesting as the instant photo – I want to bring 2 interesting photos together to make an even better one.
I wouldn’t say I’m interested in a specific theme or subject, but I do look at things differently now – I’m constantly spotting potentially interesting shots to try out. I’d like to get into portrait photography – maybe an instant Humans of New York style series. If only I put this much effort into my Uni work!
What are your hobbies? (Apart from clicking polaroid shots!)
I play the flute and sing although not as much as I’d like to anymore. Lots of my best friends are musicians and some of my happiest memories are music related – singing in the middle of a square in Belgium flash mob style, singing Postman Pat in 4 part harmony and getting my grade 8 flute after years of work. As I’ve already mentioned I also enjoy cooking and recently started making ice cream.
Instant photography vs. well, not instant! Pros and cons? Anything you’d like to elaborate on which one (or both) you would choose?
Our lives our very reliant on digital technology. I’m a Computer Science student so I know this all too well. In a world full of Photoshop software and Google images there is something really refreshing and exciting about taking a unique, one-off picture and watching it develop in front of you.
There is nothing to hide behind- you can’t just delete it and take another without wasting film. Shooting film is a completely different experience to using a digital camera. When I’m taking digital pictures, I’ll take 10 to make sure I get one I like. Whereas, when I’m taking instant pictures, I’ll think really carefully about what I want to achieve first.
My computer is full of thousands of pictures of great memories and moments- but the pictures I cherish the most are my instant shots. I love the instant photos I have of my friends and family – they seem more real because it truly is a second in time rather than one of 15 shots we took to get just the right one…
Are you planning to pursue photography professionally or is it just a hobby you love?
At the moment, it’s definitely just a new hobby that I’m loving which has grown quicker than I expected. I’m very much at the start and I have a lot to learn about photography.
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
That’s a scary question for any final year University student! I will graduate in 2016 and plan on taking a year out before starting my graduate job in Technology. So, in one year I hope to be travelling more and taking lots of pictures but in a few years– who knows…if I’m happy, have the people I love around me and have a job I enjoy, then it’s all good!
You have a quite a few landscape nature shots in different places. A bit more on your travel experience so far?
This summer we went travelling around Croatia for several weeks as you can guess from my Instagram series #pixofcroatia. The landscape was beautiful and it was the perfect first big adventure with my new camera. I also went travelling round Europe (9 countries in 4 weeks) the previous summer, but sadly that was before I got my instax so all my pictures are very digital and mainstream! The coolest place I’ve ever been to is probably Moscow. I went to Russia on an orchestra tour a few years ago and it was amazing- I definitely need to go back with my instax – the architecture is incredible.
I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of the UK where there is lots of natural beauty to photograph- such as beaches and moorland. It is getting a little more difficult to find things to shoot now that the weather is pretty rubbish all the time- although, I think it is encouraging me to be more creative. Notes: )
What are some qualities you think makes a great photograph?
I like photography that makes you think about something differently- or see something from a different perspective. I also really like pictures with great symmetry or interesting techniques. For example, after my recent experiment with sparklers and long exposures I’ve found some amazing long exposure photography on Instagram.
Do you think a photographer’s subject he/chooses somehow correlates indirectly to their own attitude and choices in life? Is that true for you too?
I’m not sure what my account says about me! People who know me, but don’t know about my photography, might be surprised by my pictures. To me, my account reflects a choice to start making time for creativity and fun, rather than everything being about my degree. I hope it also reflects a choice to explore and look at things differently.
I’ve always valued memories and experiences far more than things and I take pictures to remember moments. I think this is particularly true of instant photography.
Any nice memory that brings a smile to your face?
On Christmas Eve, every year my family gathers around the fire and listens to the original snowman audiobook on tape (even more retro than instant photography!). We’ve done it my whole life. I know every word and sound effect but Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it.
What do you think is the future of photography today and in the future?
I think photography is becoming more and more about ideas and concepts because high quality equipment is becoming more affordable. I also think it’s clear that instant photography is making a comeback from all the great new models of camera being released. A physical photo is a real novelty to us now. In an age where CDs are being replaced by iTunes and books are being replaced by Kindles, there is something satisfying about swapping out a digital camera for an analogue one!
Thanks for sharing, Kate! Find Kate on her instagram here.
I’ll be sharing a moodboard each week – my inspiration changes every week because the vast world of the internet has so many amazing things to share- ranging from art, beauty, interior design, food, intriguing stuff etc etc etc.
Clockwise from the top left:
1– watercolour and hair sketches! my fave.
2– i’m all about watercolour currently, and wow, when I discovered this amazing shop filled with wall hangings like this..makes me happy.
3– still feeling that fall feeling, so these copper painted leaves are nice and cozy
4– coffee, chocolate and a book. I mean, what else do you need? A pretty perfect shot, I’d say.
5– I’m trying to clean my room and studio space, so this image of a nice workspace is slightly motivating.
6– I don’t know why, but I really want some ice cream cake. Mint + ice cream cake = winner in my book.
Hope you liked this week’s inspo. Got plenty of nice stuff to share for moodboards, so stay tuned. See the previous mood boards here. – Aaria
So, for this sketch+ story, I thought I’d write a longer descriptive story on this admittedly random sketch I made a couple of nights ago. I draw a lot in the night, not really with a preplanned idea, but more for practice and it’s just enjoyable for me to draw without any planning at all. After looking at this quick freehand, I knew I could probably think up a story for it too. Naming her was a problem- but I finally settled for Freya, because somehow, she just looks like a Freya. Does that make any sense? Haha. Well, here’s Freya’s story, written by me.
The morning light flooded in through the windows. The bed near it was empty, sheets folded, pillows fluffed. Freya was already up. She was a normal girl- with a penchant for neatness. She couldn’t bear anything messy in her life, and everything about her was immaculate- her room, her nails, her neatly arranged bag. Funnily enough, she didn’t include her hair in her neat routine- it was always a natural quiet mess- and maybe she didn’t brush it to extreme neatness, because it was the one thing that didn’t have to be perfect.
Freya had just finished her degree, and she had no idea what to do next. Her life till now had been a quiet and simple routine of studying, library breaks, reading tattered novels, writing down anecdotes in equally tattered notebooks, sitting and staring at the green landscape outside her window. Now, she wasn’t sure of anything. She hadn’t applied for any job, like her friends had. She hadn’t even thought of further studies- it seemed pointless to consider anything when she didn’t even know what she wanted to do. So she had gone home and was thinking about what to do next.
Meanwhile, downstairs, her family were at the table, eating breakfast and getting ready to go to work. Her parents both went to office, and her younger sister was away at a school trip. She walked downstairs, and by the time she had reached the table, they had already gone. A stack of pancakes and bread and jam were laid out for her. Freya heaved a sigh. Her parents were kind, but always busy. She wished they would talk to her sometimes- but they had their own lives, their own work. And she had no idea about her life.
She ate her fill of pancakes, and switched on the TV. Then she switched it off, and grabbed a notebook, which was lying on the sofa. There were plenty of her notebooks strewn all over the house- another contrast to the neatness of her room. She started writing.
Well, that’s a little story! I might come up with more, because she’s kind of an intriguing character. Have you ever felt this way / like you have no idea what to do next in your life? I’d love to know! Stay tuned for more stories and sketches- find me on instagram (@opinion9) to be stay in the loop!
This story is the property of Aaria Baid. Please do not copy or repost anywhere else without my permission. Copyrighted courtesy of Opinion9.com. Thank you.
Hello! Today we have Laurel and Rowan talking about living the vintage life! I’m actually really excited about this feature, because they are the first vintage scouters (can we call them that?) on Opinion9! They have a lovely shop called Sarah & Ludo (the name’s inspired by the cult classic Labyrinth) filled with a varied array of vintage clothing. It’s also great to see them working together on this.
Vintage clothing has always been special for me. I remember going to my grandmother’s house and finding a one piece swimming suit, cat eye glasses, old coats and blouses, sundresses, skirts that all spoke in silence; echoing an aura of a past era, filled with memories. Vintage clothing is something else, more than just what you’d pick up on a clothing rack in a mall. Like their shop tagline says, it’s ‘a hint of magic!’
So, when I saw that Sarah & Ludo was all about finding and selling vintage clothes- I had to know more! They’re a pretty interesting duo, too.
Read on to hear what they have to say!
Please tell me a little bit about yourself.
We are Laurel and Rowan, the owners of Sarah & Ludo, a small online vintage clothing boutique that we currently operate through Etsy. We live in Melbourne, Australia but still call New Zealand home.
There’s something so great about vintage- knowing that it has a history behind it. How long have you been interested in vintage?
I have always loved the thrill of searching for treasure. My dad used to take me to garage sales with him on Saturday mornings when I was young and I think it all started there. My actual passion for vintage though really took hold in my mid-twenties when I travelled to London and Europe. Every city I went to I seemed to end up finding vintage and thrift stores down obscure alley ways and back streets. I spent many happy hours in those stores and realised that I had fallen in love with vintage clothing. It is now a way of life.
Rowan used to run his own street wear clothing range, Tripod, and when initially starting out, he would thrift for well-made items that he could take apart and put back together again (to teach himself construction). He has always been partial to old school Adidas, vintage tees and denim.
I find we are leaning more and more towards simple well-tailored design. Black. White. A splash of colour. Uncluttered.
How do you balance running a creative business and regular life?
It is hard not to have the two merge together. But for now, Sarah & Ludo is a side project that we are hoping to grow organically. I have a full-time day job at the State Library Victoria and Rowan is studying Graphic Design full-time at RMIT. Sarah & Ludo is our evenings, our weekends. We both love the creative process though and are happiest being busy and bouncing ideas off each other.
What motivates you the most?
Coffee. Books. Music. Films. Melbourne. The dust, palm trees and endless sunshine of LA.
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
We would like to be making small limited run items for our own label as well as continuing to sell vintage. I would like to be living by the beach and for life to be a little quieter and serene. Rowan will hopefully be a world class graphic designer by then and freelancing from home. I also want to learn Shibori and incorporate that into both our own label and our vintage collections.
What would be the most ideal vintage find?
A lost collection of perfectly preserved dresses from the 1900s to the 1970s that belonged to the same woman (or possibly a generation of women!) and which documented her life and adventures.
What are some qualities you look for in a vintage piece?
We look for pieces that have something about them that is special; little details, an eye catching print, exquisite tailoring. We also like pieces that can easily be assimilated into a modern wardrobe. And statement pieces. We are all for statement pieces.
What’s one vintage piece that impacted you the most- and one that you are still searching to find?
We are impacted by them all! I am quite taken with a Big E Levi’s denim shirt I found on our first US buying trip (even though it is missing all its buttons!). You just don’t find that level of detail anymore. We are always searching for vintage denim, 1950s/1960s/1970s cotton sundresses, and vintage tees. No one item in particular but a multitude of labels and styles.
Your etsy shop has some lovely finds- I love the baby doll dress, the black ballerina dress and the blush pink sundress – to name a few! What is your general process for selling your vintage finds?
Thank you! I love every single item that we sell. And I make sure that every single item has been washed, cared for and fixed up before it is sold. It is extremely important to us. Rowan luckily is a whizz on the sewing machine so he takes care of busted seams, fallen hems etc. Once an item is cleaned and in excellent sellable condition, it gets put onto a rack to photograph. I try and have a general theme to each shoot – colour/style/season – but it doesn’t always work out that way with vintage! We currently have two beautiful models and are photographing weekly for now. After photographing we take measurements, write descriptions and note flaws. Then we list on Etsy. From there, we answer customer queries, and package and send orders. I must admit the Post Office is not my favourite place but once something has been sold I am always very quick to get it off to its new owner (especially as I have no patience myself!).
Can you describe a typical work day?
A typical Sarah & Ludo workday would be a weekend day, so it would start with coffee and brunch. Then it would be photo shoot preparation – steaming, pressing and organising clothes; putting up the backdrop; setting up the camera. Our model would arrive for the shoot which generally would be two – three hours. Following this, we would load the photos onto the computer and the editing process would begin! I am always keen to get started right away but often Rowan will make me take a break and we will go for a drink in the sunshine or the like. Then measuring and listing on Etsy (as above). No day is ever the same. It is all dependent on sales etc. Packaging is my one of my favorite parts of the process; I package items first in recycled tissue paper and then I use recycled brown paper which I hand stamp with little crafted stamps I ordered from New York. I then tie it up with string (either hemp or natural twine) and add a little hand written note. Every item we send off is sent with love – we want our customers to love their purchase and be happy with the whole experience!
What are some values you’d like to convey to your customers?
How do you manage to find the vintage clothes?
We go to America! It is a great excuse for us to go on holiday once a year and also a way for us to get vintage in bulk. Also, we find that the older vintage is incredibly hard to find in Australia, and though still tricky in America (as it becomes rarer and starts to wear out) that there is more opportunity to source the items we love. This year we went to LA, Austin, Houston, then back to LA (with a little side trip to Palm Springs). We stayed with friends in Austin, which was awesome, especially as my friend Andrea is a vintage-lover from way back and took us to all sorts of wonderful places. Houston was a mecca for vintage warehouses but was also hard work. It was hot and humid, no air conditioning and the warehouse bins were tough going. We sourced some real gems though so it was definitely worth it in the end. And we stayed in a super cool Airbnb loft studio down the road from the Last Concert Café.
We love to escape Melbourne winter for a week. It gives us a burst of much needed sunshine that helps push us through to spring when we get back. We are still dreaming of Palm Springs, bottomless mimosas and swimming pools…
Simply because they don’t make things like they used to.
Also, vintage clothing has a history, a story, a previous life. There is a certain whimsy in wearing something from another era.
Just for fun: what’s your favourite city, food and book/movie?
City: Paris. Granada. Dubrovnik. Melbourne. L.A.
Food: Avocadoes. Everyday.
Book: I can’t pick one! Here are a few – What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt (actually, everything by Siri Hustvedt, starting with The Blindfold), Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan (again, everything by Francoise Sagan – I find her books the best size for carrying around in my bag and most of my books by her are slightly battered from over-reading), Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon, anything by Haruki Murikami (I especially love Norwegian Wood). I read my favourites over and over again so they are like old friends. I never tire of them and always pick up something new every time I read them. I often find it difficult to read a book I haven’t read before. It is like starting a new friendship; a little awkward, disconcerting, but also lovely if that connection is there.
Movie – This changes all the time! A few I love for different reasons: Labyrinth, Princess Bride, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Ruby Sparks, Begin Again, Across the Universe, Almost Famous, Dirty Dancing, Reality Bites, Fight Club, Midnight in Paris, The Notebook.
City: apart from Melbourne, I really like LA
Food: can’t go wrong with a good pizza but lately I have been really keen on a soft Taco
Book: The Walking Dead Compendiums (graphic novels count right?)
Movie: too hard to narrow down… so for now I will say a director, Wes Anderson, as I could happily watch any of his movies at the drop of a hat.
I like that you guys are working together. How do you complement each other’s strengths when it comes to running a business?
Rowan is endlessly patient while I tend to run on adrenaline and at times work myself into a panic. Rowan brings me back down to earth. In essence, I am a perfectionist and a bit of a control freak, while Rowan is creative and visionary. I turn my perfectionism towards cleaning garments, editing photos, and packaging orders. Rowan built the website, takes majority of the photos and does most of the sewing repairs. We love that we are building something together. Also, he doesn’t get bored searching for vintage with me! And on our American road trips, he drives (which is no easy feat, especially as it is the opposite side of the road from Australia and New Zealand!).
What interests you about the 50s-60s period?
They are two such different eras, but both had such great fashion. The 50s silhouette was so alluring and then the 60s was revolutionary. From full skirts to mini dresses. From understated prints to psychedelic. As well as the clothes I am also very partial to the music from the 1960s. Rowan is great at finding records from this era for me.
Any advice for people who are just starting to scour markets for vintage finds?
Start at the beginning of a rack and touch every item (make sure you have clean hands and handle delicately!) – the fabric is important – also, look out for items that catch your eye. Inspect for holes, stains and odour (especially the underarms). Check the label (if there is one). Check the seams/ tailoring. Check the zip if there is one (a metal zip is a good indication of age).
What do you guys do in your free time (when not working)?
We like to eat at our favourite cafes and restaurants, binge watch our favourite TV shows, ride our bikes (Rowan more than me, I need to bike more!), read, work on projects. We love coffee. We enjoy beer and chips in the sunshine on a Sunday afternoon. Rowan makes great crepes with lemon and sugar and strawberries and chocolate chips. We listen to records. Rowan makes music and goes to gigs; he has drum n bass tattooed on his arm – his first love.
Are you seriously living in a ex-chocolate factory apartment? Okay, that’s the coolest. What’s your take on life and art in general?
We sadly just recently had to leave our ex-chocolate factory apartment which still stings a little. The owner decided to sell it just before we left for our last US buying trip so we had to move out two weeks before we left and put all our stuff into storage. When we got back though we found our new apartment very quickly (it was the first and only we looked at). It is another warehouse conversion (we seem to gravitate towards those!) and is in Northcote, which we find to be a very creative inspiring community. Also we are seconds from the Westgarth Palace Cinema which is art deco and amazing.
We both strive to live creatively fulfilling lives and not get too caught up in the daily grind. Of course, that’s not always easy or possible (and sometimes seems impossible!) but we will continue to aspire to it and will never give up on our dreams.
Art is all around us in all shapes and forms and defines us for better and for worse.