Courage’s Cowardly Face

Lately I’ve been wading into the work of Ansel Adams. His thoughts on perspective encompass my beliefs that each person if gifted with a unique scope on the world and that each person’s creative spirit needs to be fed.

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”
― Ansel Adams

Feeding the creative spirit should be as important as satisfying physical hunger.  A scenery can be drank in like a glass of wine. Looking around there is always something that can be consumed and fed into the imagination, or added onto an idea that is half-baked in the mind. Ideas are digested. Words nourish. In this vein of thought, I decided to work with a simple cherry-blossom bedspread, minimal lighting, and myself as the subject behind a fierce mask.

If these photographs depict anything it is the nature of Ansel Adam’s approach to creation. Being a photographer means forgoing having your photograph taken in exchange for capturing other people. In that role behind the camera it is easy to forget what it is like to be on the other side and become uncomfortable with being photographed. These images are a reminder not to forget that there are two roles in photography, and that at times those roles can be carried out by one person.

Sometimes the camera can become a mask, and with that inhibition creativity can become stifled in a one-sided endeavour. Focus and dedication can drive us to hide in our work, but there must be opportunities to resurface and experience both sides for the process of creation to come full circle.

The Majesty of Vancouver Island

Walking down Douglas Street downtown Victoria, BC it’s sometimes hard to remember that you’re on an island with a population of just around 800,000.  Inside the grid of ornate and tidy Victorian buildings the pulse of a city unit is very much alive and well.

Riding the ferry over from Vancouver I felt as if I were stepping into an almost Scandinavian version of the country I was born in and call home. I had never been that far west before, and I was unaware of the majestic territory I was about to enter into.

The mild coastal climate allows flora to flourish that is found nowhere else in Canada. The Great White North does not seem to extend into this western nook. There are countless hiking trails, waterfalls, mud pits, lagoons, valleys, and hills to conquer.

The greenery on the island apparently is a year-round occurrence. It is uncommon for snow to make an appearance, however slickers are a good thing to have on hand as rain is quite frequent.

I was delighted by the term “fog belt” which alludes to the mist that lends a mysterious and hallowed feel to the green tree temples that cover the land on particularly rainy days. Rapid changing weather is very common with Washington State’s Olympic Mountains within view. On a clear day the snowcapped peaks can be vividly seen much to the delight of those like me who do not live within view of such mighty natural phenomena.

My short stay on Vancouver Island consisted of delicious oatmeal with blueberries in the morning, the company of a delightful kindred spirit, the freshest air my lungs have ever held, glute-punishing hikes, and the realization that the divine exists in the natural world we so often forget lays beneath the concrete and brick of the cities we live in.

This visit has embedded in my heart the knowledge that there is a heaven on earth. That perhaps the earth we live on is a heaven that has fallen on dystopian times, with pockets that nurture and encourage the burgeoning blossoms still determined to flourish as if it is their given birthright. Perhaps it is their one and only mission above all, and perhaps it is also ours. That would explain the serene calmness and joy that cast a glow over my stay in the Canadian jungle.

Minimalist Lookbook – Little Black Skirt

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There are few things better than making more from less. In the case of this amazingly versatile black skirt one can manufacture multiple outfits for various occasions with just a switch of shoes and tops. This high-waisted black skirt provides a solid foundation on which to build an abundance of looks without cluttering the closet or breaking the bank.

My favourite pieces to pair this skirt with are always solid coloured blouses with unique textures, with matching shoes. It’s easy to use the black skirt as a barrier between the same colours such as with my white knit Zara top and white shoes.

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top: Zara     skirt: H&M     shoes: Zara

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The multitude of outfits that can be sourced from a simple black skirt is essential when you may be limited by storage space. Another dilemma many of us face is purchasing articles that end up sitting untouched or getting little use. It is sad when things are bought only to take up room and remain untouched.

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top: H&M     skirt: H&M     shoes: TOMS     sunglasses: Vogue

 

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Pairing anything with TOMS is the ultimate comfort. These shoes can take you anywhere from the beach, to the office, to Whole Foods… You can cycle in them, eat Chinese food in them, travel the world in them. Come to thing of it, I’ve done a lot of things in my TOMS.

Taking it from the comfort zone to a look with an elegant edge just requires trading the loafers for heels, and the simple crop top for a laced blouse.

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Animated Flesh & Bone Tapestry

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Clothing is a second skin that you put on to change your character. I know I felt like a different person in these pinstripe bell-bottoms. It’s the accumulation of details that weaves a curious tapestry. I would say that every human on earth is an animated 3D flesh and bone tapestry. The colours and textures we choose say a great deal about the state of the ghosts driving the meat-coated skeletons we wear. Our ghostly souls are the medium at the other side of the earthly membrane. Curiously enough they are our real selves.

 

As much as we try to differentiate ourselves, or in some cases conform, the fundamental truth is that we are all naked underneath our cloaks and masks. As much as we put on fronts to escape from the different circumstances that we find ourselves drawn to, or entwined in — sometimes against our better judgements — we are naked underneath.

Beneath our fleshy nakedness I imagine a different kind of bared vulnerability. I believe we are much more similar to our fellow humans on the inside than we may be on the outside. The inner spirt appears to me to be a shimmery and soft mass suspended in mid-air at chest-level pulsating like a gently plucked harp string.

All extraterrestrial and otherworldly matters aside, I enjoy the effect of pairing a simple white top with a busier pattern.  These pants were a fantastic find for their atypical cut in the everyday world. I was drawn to their smooth and almost velvety texture, as well as their French manufacturing. The bell-bottom is a fun cut to pull out from time to time, and it does well paired with an unassuming top and shoes.