OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhilst I lived in Kolkata, the rooftop of the apartment building became a place of retreat, refreshment, and of reflection. I look down at my hands now, and I still recall vividly the grittiness of the wall I rested upon, of gently running my fingers across the top of it to feel the grain shifting beneath them, and of the sun’s residual warmth within the concrete. Read More

It has now almost been a month since myself and a few close friends were on a five-hour train ride to Murshidabad, with Kerry + one of the most iconic women of Freeset.

 

North of Kolkata, this district is one that is known to have a few issues surrounding trafficking of young girls to larger cities such as Mumbai and Kolkata. Desperation, corruption, and trickery, are just some of the ways in which this occurs, and each just as heartbreaking as the next.

 

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Rufus Wainwright’s creation Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk is like a quiet night in with a large bag of candies, a glass of wine, and lounging next to a crackling fire with a good movie playing.
Preferably Moulin Rouge.

I mean his lyrics are a great description of this scenario…:

“If i should buy jellybeans,
Have to eat them all in just one sitting,
Everything it seems i like’s a little bit sweeter,
A little bit fatter,
A little bit harmful for me.”

I am far from living out this scene, as I am in an Indian summer, holding a frozen water-bottle to my chest in a desperate attempt to cool down, and trying to sit with minimal skin-to-skin contact with myself because the monsoon rains are refusing to fall. But I can dream, right?

Give this song a little listen, you will not regret it.

Recently I got into touch with Davy Bonny who I featured as the ‘Designer of the Week’ here, and I was lucky enough to have him answer some questions I had for him!
He is a truly genuine guy, and it was great to hear about what goes on in his mind when his eye is pressed to the lens of one of his cameras, waiting for the perfect moment to capture.
Enjoy!
- Alanna
Describe yourself in 5 words or once sentence?
I’m the typical guy that chose the wrong studies, because I didn’t follow my heart.
Where have you travelled, where was your favourite place, and where do you dream of going?
I‘ve travelled to: The South of Belgium (other language = other country!), The Netherlands, England, Scotland, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, France (many different parts), Spain, Italy, New Zealand, and I’ve studied and lived in Finland for half a year.
I have great memories about all of them, so it’s hard to choose a favorite place! I plan to go to Japan, Iceland, and to do a road trip through the U.S… And after that I hope to go everywhere else. If I do 1 big trip every year, and if I don’t die or get ill before I get old, I have more than 50 places to choose from! 
Who do you consider to be your greatest sources of inspiration?
If you would ask who my great heroes in photography were, I would say: Stephen Shore, Mitch Epstein and Joel Sternfield, the kings of kodachrome! Their photography convinced me to get a little bit more serious about photography. They show that you don’t need the most exotic places or people to capture a real feeling and atmosphere on film. And photography is all about capturing feeling. Their way of framing truly enhances the feeling of the picture, and makes those pictures so strong. I believe framing, lighting and the adequate use of lenses are the most important aspects of photography. A great photographer doesn’t need photoshop or any other way of enhancing his/her pictures. Now, there are people who can do amazing things in photoshop etc., and they might be great artists, but if you need photoshop to enhance your photo, than you didn’t have a great shot to begin with. So the fact that they (Shore, Epstein and Sternfield) achieved such great photography in the very beginning of color photography makes them my big examples. But apart from that, I think inspiration comes from everywhere.
What camera/s do you use?
I started with my father’s Nikon EM, which is an awesome camera. It’s a standard 35 mm camera, but I learned a lot from it. But a couple of years later I wanted to start shooting in the 645 format, because 120 mm film with its bigger surface per frame gives more freedom to play with depth of field. So I bought a second-hand Mamiya M645 1000s, which was sold with a 80 mm f1.9 (!!!) Sekor lens. The combination of the 1/1000 shutterspeed, the very wide aperture of the lens and the fact that it shoots in the 645 format, makes it the best equipment ever! It’s very heavy, but so worth it. I like to use both the prism viewfinder (with built in light meter) and the waist viewfinder. My favorite film to shoot with is Kodak Gold for 35 mm, and Kodak Ektar and Portra for 120 mm. I’m not a big fan of the colors of Fujifilm. Oh, and I sometimes use Ilford film for B&W.
Describe a favourite memory behind a photograph?
In January this year, I travelled to New Zealand to visit one of my best friends, who is doing a (probably) never-ending work-and-travel all over the world. So together with my girlfriend and another great friend, I did a giant roadtrip through NZ, meeting the other friend somewhere halfway through our journey. The picture below is taken on the beach in Haast, on our way to Milford Sound. The contrast with my life in Belgium couldn’t have been bigger. While the guy in the picture (Ewout) was preparing pasta for dinner, I made a small bonfire using driftwood and my Bear Grylls flint, to keep away the sand flies with smoke. The sun was setting, we were all alone, there were heavy clouds, vast plains and mountains in the background, all the colors you can imagine, the sound of the ocean…. It was everything I was hoping to experience on our journey through the country. And even though the framing is a little off, this picture (for me) captures that moment perfectly!
“A photo can say a 1000 words.” What photograph can not ever be described by words?
I think no photograph can be described by words. Photography, in my opinion, is more about passing on a feeling. You can always tell the story behind a picture, and the picture and the story behind it can be complimentary. Yet a description of a photograph will never match the picture. Like the picture from your previous question. I could try to describe the feeling of that exact moment, but I believe the photograph is better at making you feel that moment. The story behind that picture is complimentary and places it in a bigger context. And visa versa, because for example movie adaptions of a book will never match the feeling you get from reading the book. The movie itself might be great, the book itself might be great, but they will never be the same, nor will they ever express the same feeling.
What is your favourite part about capturing a moment in time?
To explain it with a photograph instead of words, this:
It’s a lucky shot of my friend Ewout burning his tongue while drinking coffee. It’s one specific moment in time, literally one millisecond of light captured on film. And yet it tells so much more than that. For anyone else who sees this picture, it might be a funny picture, and it might evoke some feelings. On the other hand, for me and the two people in the picture, that 1 millisecond leads to a thousand memories and feelings. When we look at the picture, we’re like “remember that time when we went to Starbucks in Auckland, and they called for Awald instead of Ewout, and then Ewout burned his tongue, and we were so happy to be back in the middle of civilisation after we hopelessly got lost while walking in the Bay of Islands, and then we ate sushi, and then we drove off with the sun setting, listening to Ethiopian jazz, etc, etc.”. Photographs have the great power to recall lost memories and the great power to evoke emotion.
What subject do you enjoy photographing the most?
I don’t have a specific preference. It’s more about capturing a moment and feeling (I have the feeling that I’m repeating myself endlessly, I’m very sorry about that!). For example, I enjoy taking pictures of my friends (= people) very much. Within a few weeks, I will probably start to work for some event-photography business in my free time. The goal will be to take pictures of the people present at the event… you know the concept. And though I enjoy taking pictures of people, I already know that I won’t enjoy taking pictures of those people that much, because I won’t have any interest in the event/moment/feeling. Do you understand what I mean? Photography is very personal, and it’s not per se the subject that’s interesting, but the moment and feeling (there I go again).
Besides photography, what other hobbies/interests catch your attention?
Making movies! About a year ago I started a very small independent filmmaking business, and by the end of 2011 I (together with my partner in crime Thomas Van Troostenberghe) released my very first low-budget cult-horror feature film in cinema. Well, a couple of cinemas, not nation wide or anything. But it’s a start! We’re now working on the DVD-release of the film, which will probably happen during summer 2012. And together with my girlfriend Gillian Lowyck (who’s a great writing-artist and journalist), the three of us are also working on a documentary about the death of analog cinema and on a short film (a dystopian drama!). Oh, and I really love my cat, Kingsley!

When my flat mate responded, “Fun,” to my question, “Who is this playing?”, I thought he was playing around with words to describe the vibe of the song.

Because Fun is fun.
It is simplicity at it’s finest.

Some Nights is both the name of the song, and of Fun’s latest album, and I just want to power-punch the air, wiggle my way across the floor on feet that refuse to remain stilled,  and scream out for all the doubts and undecided beliefs I have ever faced, when I hear its empowering drum-beats.

The video makes your heart still for just a second, before beating with a resound for every hope and dream you ever had faith in.
It makes you feel alive.

Davy Bonny‘s photography tickles that ache in our heart for cherished child-hood memories, and of roads travelled in sleep-induced delusion during family road trips.

Bonny is on a search to grasp onto the feeling of something he has been looking for for years.
Read his about to learn more. It really does make you want to find that feeling we all have inside, but can never put into words.

What stirs my own heart while looking at these photographs, is that most of them are from my home country, New Zealand (above, all but the first image are of NZ), and while living in India – a far cry from there – it definitely rocks my soul with homesickness.

First Aid Kit‘s Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg have been for the past two years my most treasured artists to listen and sing along with – there have been many darker days that these two have managed to lift me up from.

Hard Believer is a soft, harmonious, and peace-bearing song, and just so happens to be the first of their creations that I listened to! The lyrics are hauntingly serene, and evoke both contented yet saddened emotions…

“And it’s one life and it’s this life and it’s beautiful.”

Because frankly people, life is beautiful. Sometimes you need to hear it to realise this.

And that is my emotional ‘everyone be happy’ post for the month…

Over the weekend just passed, I was pretty excited to splash around in some cool water during the heat waves parching Kolkata, India, where I am currently living.

What made this even more exciting was the fact that ‘splashing around’ involved some of the guys here flooding a roof, setting up a bar, turning some music up, and handing out mango lassi’s in bamboo cups.

I thought that you might at least have some interest in how we manage to find large comforts in small packages. Also in pretty big packages like this!

I had a lot of fun running around, taking a few photographs, and capturing the moments that I will never forget.

All photos link back to my blog where you can read a bit more about this adventure I have taken on.

Continuing the trend of featuring Ilana Kohn on Chaos + Colour this week, here is the promised interview with her. Ilana is so very lovely and encouraging when communicating with her – so thank you for that!
Here it is:
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Super duper crazy cat lady.
 
Who do you consider to be your greatest sources of inspiration?
Friends, things I encounter on an everyday basis.  I love history, so I tend to draw a lot of historical references from various periods & places.  I was also a huge tomboy growing up, I feel like that aesthetic has really stuck with me.
 
What inspired you to begin designing your own textiles?
Before fashion was ever even a blip on my horizon, I worked as an editorial illustrator.  Once I began my clothing line, I felt like it was pretty inevitable for me to begin doing my own designs.  It really made me feel like I’d come full circle creatively.
 
Describe a time when something just didn’t go right?
Haha, when does it ever?!  This past season, however, there were actually a couple of happy mistakes with the textile printing.  Not everything came out as planned, but sometimes the mistake was better than my original intention.  Happy mistakes.
 
What is your favourite raw fabric/fibre to work with?
After a season filled with nothing but silk, I’m dying to get back to good ol’ cotton & linen.
 
What is your favourite part about conceptualising a design, and how do you approach a new season?
My favorite part about conceptualizing a design is when I come up with something I actually like!  And I enjoy it when I feel like I have solid time to fully devote to the creative end of things.  So many other things eat up your time when you’re running a business solo…
As for how I begin collecting ideas, I feel like I’m constantly collecting ideas.  At the beginning of every season, however, I begin by going through the inspiration folders on my desktop, looking through books, doodling in my sketchbook and just dive into the textiles.  The rest springs from there.
Again, it is very much appreciated Ilana for answering these. It is always so interesting to peer into someone’s thoughts/preferences, and I am sure there are others out there as curious as I am about a creative-person’s processes.
It is exciting to see what new collections you produce!
As a follow up on this post about the website Slanted Mansion, I have a small interview for you with Siobhan Frost, the mastermind behind such an intriguing site:

What inspired you to create this site? Seeing other non-styled creative interior books and blogs. It’s always interesting to see what cool bits and pieces people have laying around. In addition to the photos, I wanted to have some ‘more meat in the sandwich’ – as my friend (and editor) Sheena Coffey likes to put it (even more amusing seeing she is a vegetarian!). I was also keen to see more from people in those not so commonly looked to places for creativity. 

Do you have a favourite creative person? Anyone who is passionate about what they do, and super inspired by those that take extra steps to forge a new path or project for themselves.
Who can we expect to see featured on your blog in the future? Good question! I am off to Moscow this week, so hopefully (if I dont get too lost!) some interesting people from there…One last question Siobhan, do you approach people, or do people approach you to be featured? It started with me contacting my friends, and then friends of friends. And now sometimes I will browse online and contact them. Only a few people have contacted me, but it has to align with when I can / am travelling – so those haven’t happened yet!
Click on the photo above to link to one of his most recent projects, where he meets make-up artist Regina Törnwall.
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