Roll in the direction you are facing

Just like that this little space has once again changed. No fanfare no, no jazz hands and no jumping about with pointing fingers. It just kind of happened.

Slipping into the realm of when the time feels right to, well write. After over eight years of consistently blogging, at first every second day, then several times a week to, once a week, it’s now drifted into ‘surprise’ posts. Over that time there was consistency I gave myself deadlines, it worked for me and helped to practise my craft. A part of doing so turned me into a writer and a photographer. I’m incredibly grateful for blogging because of that.

Recently, it all changed again, not dramatically but slowly things just kind of organically shifted. This year I’ve just come to the end of a beautiful project I’ve been working on for some time.

With this long term project has come a different focus. A need for deeper thinking, more channelled energy, which has meant less time in this blog space. That’s ok, after 8 years the international blogging landscape has shifted a lot, and wowsers things are different to when I first started! That’s ok, I’m different too. Not the core of who I am, that is still the same but the gently ever changing focus, yes it has changed a bit.

While sustainability is still a strong pull, with some of my work being regularly found in Earth Garden Magazine, Organic Gardener, Pip Magazine and various other pop ups. My community focused documentary photography is finding it’s feet and that is crazy exciting as it’s something that creates excitement and a slightly held breath in ways that haven’t been seen before. And now, it’s time to roll in that direction I’m facing.

If you are a local to the Newcastle area, The Sunrise Swimmers of Merewether Ocean Baths exhibition has just finished, however the book can be found on my website, (also sold at Macleans Booksellers, Harry Harthog, and a lovely new stockist The Newcastle Shop.)

Over at www.brydiepiaf.com I’m having a ‘Little Print Sale’ to celebrate the exhibition and book release, and early next month a few other things are happening. I found out I’m a finalist in the very esteemed Head On Photo Festival, and there will be an encore viewing in two different venues with some of my prints from The Sunrise Swimmers collection.

In addition to that, and importantly…after a really hot summer and a slightly distracted backyard focus… my garden might just get a proper look in.

What’s happening in your world?

 

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Whale Migration and Seismic Testing

Seismic testing has been given the go ahead along Newcastle’s coastline. It involves sending repetitive sonic blasts into the ocean floor to identify natural gas deposits, which in turn has the potential to effect everything pretty much everything through the marine life chain.

These pictures are from last weekends protest rally here in Newcastle, NSW, where it seems  someone forgot to ask the community if they actually wanted a potential offshore gas field along their beautiful coastline. The testing also coincides with annual whale migration, meaning both testing and consequences of potentially having an offshore oil or gas field surely need to be seriously reconsidered.

Further reading can be found here.

The Launch of The Sunrise Swimmers

A week slipped by, well maybe two, but where did it go they all whispered?

It went here, she called back. It went here! Not hiding the excitement that had snuck into her voice when she said so. Two weeks slipped by in these pages but out there in the community, there was a book launch, an exhibition opening, and an amazing weekend to kickstart it all.

The launch went beautifully. The gallery space was packed, the swimmers happy and I’m still feeling like it’s all a little surreal. Until my feet land completely back on the ground, I’m going to keep things fairly brief.

I’m incredibly lucky to be supported by both the Newcastle City Library for inviting me to use their gallery space and also to Olympus for trusting that I would produce a body of work that they would align their name with. (That still rocks my world!)

If by chance you are in the Newcastle area, the exhibition is on until the 17th April, with two artist talks, and a sunrise swim within the time.

If you are further afield, but are still interested in seeing some of the imagery and reading a few of the stories of The Sunrise Swimmers, the book may be purchased via my website here, and locally (Newcastle at this early stage) via all good book sellers. Prints if you are keen for some salty sunrise images for your walls, are also available via here. 

The Sunrise Swimmers Launch

Exhibition The Sunrise Swimmers: 24th Feb- 17th Apr 2018

Artist Talk: 11am 3rd March (yesterday, and it was so much fun!)

Artist Talk: 11am 9th March

Merewether Ocean Baths Sunrise Swim: 6.30am 17th March (no bookings required)

Instagram @brydiepiaf  #thesunriseswimmers

Running with the season

Late afternoon sunflowers that grow a little weary in the heat.

Coriander goes to seed, and the lettuce? Oh it bolted long ago. Along with the rhubarb who gave up the ghost, and the rainbow chard that’s now a tower of delightfully coloured seed. And pumpkins? Unlike last year where we were swimming in them, this year not even one.

Not the cherry tomatoes though, those tomatoes are still running strong. Although leave them too long and they will sundry right there on the stems in which they grew.

This is our summer.

Hot, windy and dry. So dry.

This season has been a funny one. So many of the plants just seem confused. Rain has been infrequent and barely enough these last six months. Garden space is now reduced to the smallest of small areas just to keep hopes going. There is still hope though, of course there will be a time for things to bounce back and regain their former glorious green. Time for the lilli pilli to regain its shiny leaves and time for far more bread to be baked when the kitchen is just a smidge cooler. The blue banded bees will keep coming, and that in itself is just gentle reminder to keep things simple.

Run with the season, do what we can, and instead spend time feeding that crucial soil in which the garden will grow from. There’s always something to do.

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How’s your garden going?

 

The Sunrise Swimmers

Nearly two years ago I loosely started a project as a way of reconnecting to a city I hadn’t called home for a really long time. All I knew is, it would involve a camera and the ocean. As time went on this delicious project evolved into The Sunrise Swimmers. It’s something I’ve put my whole heart into, and next month this collection of portraits, seascapes and stories from the early morning swimmers of Newcastle’s iconic, Merewether Ocean Baths is launched. My solo exhibition is supported by Olympus and will be on for 7 weeks at Newcastle Library, and along with it, a limited edition book.

Am I excited? You betcha. I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of this project and to have met so many wonderful, wonderful people because of it. Connecting with community is something that is incredibly important to me, and through this project I’ve done just that. Tapped into the most wonderful, sea loving community of people, while being able to tell a tiny part of their stories. Yep I’ve loved every part of it!

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To register for tickets (it’s free, yay!) for both the exhibition and book launch event. Please clickity click here.

Documenting Life

Light catching your son’s dinner. The steam absolutely mesmerizing as you know it will last fleetingly, just as that particular tilt of the afternoon sun will do.

Friends stopping to chat. Really chat.

Seed saving. Slowly wrinkling up, ready for storing, ready for growing another day.

Tiny exhaling pauses in the week.

Surprise coffee and cake spent with people who make you laugh.

Long deep talks with strangers who make you think long after the conversation ends.

Sourdough fruit loaf, which was supposed to be panettone, but when it came to the crunch you simply decide there are other things to do in life and you really… just couldn’t be buggered.

Gardening that makes the crooks of your elbows sweat. Not the regular kind of things you usually take note of, but you are today as it’s a kinda documenting life day.

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it- FERRIS BUELLER

 

Out of the garden, grows hope

When you neglect your garden for a month over an incredibly dry period, the outcome is fairly predictable. Even so, it can still be a bit of a surprise at just how bad on a big scale it can all look.

With weeds running rampant, potted trees standing defiantly dead, and every leafy green edible gone to seed in an attempt at preserving itself for a later date. We did the most logical thing we could, and set to work.

Gathering shovels, hoses and unfailing enthusiasm, it was all bundled together with as many hardworking hours as I could manage to squeeze out of the day, to try to get this city garden back up to the functioning level it should be.

Several weeks later, while it’s still a work in progress, as I look around now, there are slow changes taking shape. No longer a backyard palette of baked brown, there are now green tinges that might just continue. With newly sprouted seedlings, tomatoes emerging from all corners, and two new editions that I’m tickled pink to be looking after.

From the dry overgrown mess that it had been, is growing something that often comes in many forms, and amongst the dedicated gardeners out there it’s also an old favourite… hope.

 

 

Italy, it’s woven into my heart beat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I needed to go back and to find a piece of my heart. It was still there where I knew it would be, I just needed to go back and find it again. 

Rejoin the jigsaw.

 

Seventeen years it took me to get back to Italy. Seventeen years that had been filled with life, a deliciously full life, but now it was time to go back. This time I would be returning not alone as I had done in previous times, but with a family. My family that was ready to embrace all things Italian.

And weave a little of Italy into their heart beat.

 

The Challenge of the Sea

 

I had set myself a goal. Swim through as much of winter as I could. As long as I got further into the year than I did last year, I would be happy. If I managed to get to Spring? Ah yes, that would be a cracker of an achievement indeed.

Each year that I’ve set this goal, I’ve gone just a little bit more, a little further into the depths of winter. Solstice, no problem. July done and dusted, and then August? I danced the joyous awkward dance of someone with freezing numb wet feet.

Now if I could get to August, surely I could get to September swimming in the cool water oceans wilds?

Surely.

With a determined glint in the eye, and so I did. I swam through winter and straight into spring, and now that I’ve done it once, a precedent has been set. The challenge has been marked. This is something that I’m not sure I would have been able to do if I hadn’t been doing my sunrise swimmers project.

Having this connection to these wonderful people I think has helped me find something that I wasn’t even aware I was looking for.