Last Wednesday at 10am Emma and I sleepily headed out of our apartment in New York. Bound for Brooklyn, we headed for the subway, picked up coffee and bagels on the way, and made the trip to our friend’s dreamy loft in Williamsburg.
I’ve been asked in a few interviews recently “who are your current muses?”, the answer is clear and immediate. The girls I’m living with in New York are some of the most inspiring, creative minds I’ve come across, and every single day when we all crawl out of our bedrooms, make our breakfast in our pajamas with messy bed-hair and talk about our plans for the day, I’m inspired by them in so many little ways. Whether it be how they choose to do their hair that day, whether they choose to just drink black coffee for breakfast or take the time to make a full meal, what music they choose to start the day with, or whether they are rushing out the door with an overflowing backpack or simply taking their time to head out in no rush. Little butterflies of inspiration are always fluttering around. Those little moments of casual magic in every body and every day are what always gets me the most.
Emma and I have known of each other for a few years now, but met for the first time in person earlier this year when she came to Australia. I photographed her then as a new friend at the beach in Byron Bay. I’m photographing her now as my roommate here in New York City, just 8 months later.
Below are a series of photos that Em and I took together in the loft that day, and also a piece that she wrote to go along with the series titled ‘What I Think About’. She has a way with words like no other person I know. Poetic, powerful, true and an ultimate delight to read.
What I Think About
I think you should let it go.
And by it I mean yourself.
But not let yourself go, just let the idea and perception of yourself go.
Wave goodbye, and watch them walk off for a big, just for a short stroll.
With them your definition of self leaves, the “I’m fragile, I’m fun, I’m not right for anyone,” are around the corner by now.
The “I’m not good enough, I’m not ready for this, I could never be like that,” are fading away.
I think it’s time to say goodbye to them
At least just for today.
I think it’s time to go on a hunt, like a treasure map when you were little.
Looking for the riches already buried within you.
I think you can do it this afternoon
I think the best way to start is to throw on a favorite sweater
or t-shirt depending on the weather
Stroll outside and take a breath in
and then out
Go in the opposite direction your ego, of the scared part of yourself
that clings to an identity that it thinks it knows
I’d tell you what they are saying
but I can’t hear them anymore
I think you should grab a book you have been meaning to read
or a journal you have been meaning to fill
take it with you
headphones, enough money for a coffee
some lavender oil, some sunglasses
two good pens, you need one backup
if you can walk then walk
if you can drive then drive
if you can take the metro
close your eyes when the train comes by
However you get there, to wherever you’re buried
go with purpose
When you walk feel the vibrations from your foot fall spread through your soles
Walk in rhythm with your heartbeat
Picture yourself just as a set of eyes
Observing the world without your form attached
you are there to feel, think, observe, absorve
If you drive then grip the wheel with one hand
and let the wind dance between your fingers with the other
If it stings your cheeks then let it sting
and smile even brighter
If you get on a subway give your seat to someone else
smile gently and try to guess
which of the passengers are currently in love
and which are currently out
I think you should sit by a window
one with a lot of light
or find a table outside
and stay there until the night
I think you deserve to sit in silence
and let your mind be loud
if nothing comes to you to write about
then ask yourself
“what do I think I am?”
I think you are not your face
you are not your mistakes
You are not a person someone says you are
or a place you grew up in
I think you are your favorite song
your grandma’s sauce recipe
a fragment of memories by the sea
the smell of saltwater taffy
an experience or emotion
a time you felt truly free
a time you felt contained
write it all down
and close your journal
because what you are
has already changed
Emma photographed by Gabi Mulder. Brooklyn, NYC.