you find my old and faded self in that place

Saturday, 30 April 2016

I'm off school for the bank holiday!! Having Friday and Monday off has left me feeling as if I am on school break - it's so relaxing just to be able to breathe a little and figure things out without constantly going to college and having more and more work thrown your way. The last few days have been very summery (despite today's occasional rainstorms?!)...I photographed two of my school friends on Thursday after college, which entailed not only dressing up in the art department but also a pre-shoot trip to buy a mint avocado and cacao smoothie and artificial flowers. On Friday I had a really leisurely morning, picked up film from the day before's shoot, bought another smoothie (trust me they are SO good) and had my nails painted before going out to see Sinead play a gig and eat some pizza at Voodoo Rays. I love days off so much.
 Anyway, I've started taking so many more photos recently; I've always been a documenter, but it's got seriously out of hand. These photos are from the first shoot I ever really properly organised - you can see that both my photography and construction of the images has improved with my later work (hopefully) but I still really like this set as it captures a few close friends of mine in a really nice setting.
~~ALSO - apologies for the low quality photos...for some reason when I enlarge images to full size on blogger the quality decreases drastically?

I chose to photograph Tamara, Jazzy and Mariam as I felt I'd never really done so before. I know them all through college, and know them especially well now after we spent two and a half weeks in Indonesia together in the summer. Mariam took us to a park in Bethnal Green; it was a lovely setting, leafy and green and backed by huge viaducts.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and bank holiday - I'm having some photos taken with two angel babes on Sunday, before a day by the seaside on Monday, so I will have more content for the weeks to come!

made me dizzy watching the clouds as I go home

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

I distinctly remember the last "trend" to hit youth culture in the UK. If I'm not mistaken, ignoring the recent uprising of the 80s shell jackets, I think the last huge trend was army jackets and creepers. I definitely remember a time when every thirteen or fourteen year old girl would be wearing one of these camoflage print jackets, with single-sole creepers or double for the more daring. I of course bought into the whole trend...having recently discovered vintage clothing at age fourteen, I bought myself an army jacket as a sort of milestone piece, to mark my transition into a new stage of my clothing. I wore it repeatedly until the jackets became so popular that they became boring; going out meant inevitably wearing an identical outfit to at least three other people. They soon dropped off the style-radar completely as they became associated with the whole idea of 'hipsters' and subsequently became uncool as they were no longer something unusual or coveted. 
We haven't really had a trend like it in the UK since; I remember dusty pink coats had a season, but other than that trends have been spotted here and there but never progressed fully to the mainstream, world-scale that something like army jackets did. I do, however, think a new one is coming...and that, of course, is the Sukajan.
If you are unfamilar (which I doubt you will be; they have been cropping up everywhere from the Tokyo streets to Topshop spring/summer) a Sukajan is a Japanese souvenir jacket. They trace back to World War Two, when soldiers stationed in Asia wanted to take home a sort of souvenir to remember the time they served and where they stayed. The jackets have remained fairly popular ever since, experiencing a sort of 5-to-7 year cycle of popularity. Recently they have become seriously huge, with most large designers (such as Louis Vuitton, R Shemiste) creating their own, high-end versions, and vintage designs becoming increasingly sought after and probably, if they haven't already, skyrocketing in price. In the UK, Sukajans are surprisingly hard to find - you might be lucky and stumble across one in a vintage or charity shop somewhere (you would have to be super lucky), or occasionally larger brands such as Topshop or Asos have created some, but to get the real deal is a lot harder. I managed to find mine from Japan Zone, which meant ordering it directly from Japan, as they are so hard to find over here! The service was great though and the shipping didn't take as long as I had expected. I am still on the hunt for a more original vintage one though - the one I have is lovely but quite modern, so I'd love to try and hunt for a more unusual one too. 

(Wearing a cropped jumper and wide leg pants from Beyond Retro, shoes from Monki, bag from The Whitepepper)

I realised how much I wanted one after R Shemiste incorporated them so beautifully into their Spring/Summer 2016 and Fall/Winter 2016 collections. They took a quite historic and fairly traditional streetwear item and managed to update it to fit modern themes, combining them with their statement high-waisted pants and ring studded baseball caps. Although casual in shape, the looks had a distinctly sharp edge and I couldn't help but dream of trying to make my own outfits just as sleek.

The best part was, after being quite well known for their Sukajans, R Shemiste somehow managed to completely update them and create a whole new level of souvenir jacket style in their Fall/Winter collection. Playing with asymmetry and contrasts, clever tailoring and structuring allowed half a sukajan jacket to be combined and blended into another piece, creating this unbalanced, interesting garment that was half jacket and half dress. I loved this idea of taking something and completely subverting it's known use; deconstructing the known and the popular, questioning what it really is and what it really means. I think R Shemiste do this a lot with their pieces; mixing style with street and smart with casual allows them to question the viewer - what actually is style anyway? Where are the limits? What are the limits of streetwear? Considering how they played with length, distressing, asymmetry and deconstruction this season, I am incredibly excited to see what they do next, and doubt we will see a change in their level of innovation any time soon.

I hope you are having a good week - it's been crazy over here with manic photography shoots (I seem to suddenly be taking a lot more serious photos of people at the moment. I'm really enjoying it) and schoolwork, which is taking over my life in the lead up to exam season. I will be back with longer posts asap!

running at the speed of life through morning's thoughts and fantasies

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Hello! As you've probably noticed I've started working more with photography lately. It's always something I've practiced, but I realised that I can learn more and experiment more when I actually create work for something, instead of just documenting my daily life. I did a test shoot with some friends in the Easter Break, then on Sunday, after a relaxing catch up over coffee and sunday lunch at a friend's house, met Milly in Notting Hill to shoot for Sukeban. Being 18 years old like myself, she was an absolute dream to work with - all of the fun and frivolity she gives out whilst performing as Girli she has in real life. I chose Notting Hill and Portobello road as the location simply because I love it there and wanted to photograph it; I later realised that it held some level of significance, being a place where both of us either worked or still work. I was super happy with the way the photos turned out - a selection are up on Sukeban, and I thought I would share the rest here as they are quite happy and summery and have made me want to take photos way more often!

Strolling the streets of Portobello, we stopped off whenever we found a colourful house or interesting background, talking about work, music, art and pretty much anything and everything that came to mind. It's a really nice way to work with someone as not only do you capture them visually in the photos you take, but you also learn more about them and get to talk and get an idea of the personality that affects the outcome of the images. Milly was probably the most enthusiastic person I've ever worked with - any idea I had, she was up for trying out, and any time I took a photo she naturally played around in front of the camera, creating fun and exciting compositions that I think really reflect the youthful, comedic side of her music and personality.

Whilst remaining fun and frivolous, there is no doubt she is incredibly talented and intelligent. I asked her about her music and she explained how she liked to be free when it came to what she wrote, how she wrote it, and how she presented herself as an artist - to Milly, it's not real music unless you write it, feel it and live it somewhat. Her songs may be catchy, but they all mean something - she distinctly represents the concept that you can be a girl, but still be funny, strong and want to change things for the better, all while dancing and having a sweet time.

I'm obsessed with colour at the moment, hence the choice to shoot in Notting Hill as there are huge painted houses around almost every corner. It really changes your perspective of a place when you walk through looking for photo compositions; you see colours and shapes more, pay more attention to detail, and generally see more of an area than you do just strolling around leisurely.

At one point we found ourselves in a tiny corner shop, and the assistant seemed fascinated by Milly's pink hair. He repeatedly asked us "where are you from?" to which Milly replied with a laugh, "another planet."

The full set (there are still a few more) will be up on my portfolio soon, but in the meantime I would love you to check out the feature on Sukeban as it was so lovely having my work included! Sukeban means delinquent or boss girl in Japanese and is a platform for aspiring female creatives, made real by Erika Bowes and Yuki Haze. I totally recommend keeping an eye on it as so far they have consistently featured immense talent and beautiful work, and I am certain it is going to grow into the most amazing community and showcase for real talent.
Hope you have a lovely week!