Published

In the mirror, Wednesday

She’d always had circles beneath her eyes, but in recent years they’d grown darker, deeper, puffier. Vague attempts to get more sleep or eat better usually fell by the wayside, and only stretches of rest seemed to have an effect. Today, remnants of mascara showed, faintly smudged, at the base of both lower lashes.

At some point, she couldn’t remember when, sun spots had appeared. The largest one, the size of a shelled pistachio, enveloped the narrow end of her left eyebrow. Another sat just above the end of her right eyebrow, and made her wonder about the correlation between sun exposure and the sensitivity of the eye area.

Two distinct freckles rested on her left cheekbone, forming a discreet constellation with two more pairs on the delicate underside of her neck. More subtle freckles were generously distributed across her face, evidence of a childhood in the sun now dulled by grey skies that had pervaded the last decade.

Faint blotches are visible on either side of her chin. As a teen her skin had been enviably clear, but in her early twenties her hormones had wreaked a late vengeance. His appearance marked their disappearance, an indication of his stabilising effect on her.

An exercise in paying attention, after Anne Lamott.

Published

Pandemic policy update

Today’s national pandemic policy, announced 2 February

Status: Continued strict lockdown with a curfew

• primary schools and childcare centres will reopen as of 8 Feb *
• retail stores will remain closed, however as of 10 Feb customers can collect goods ordered in advance, at pre-agreed times *
• the curfew, between 21.00 and 4.30, will remain in place until 10 Feb, when it will be reviewed *
• only go outside with members of your household, on your own or with 1 other person *
• no more than 1 person aged 13 or over at your home per day
• visit no more than 1 other household per day
• Work from home. Only people whose presence is essential to operational processes can go to work
• do not travel abroad and do not book trips abroad until 31 March
• masks to be worn in indoor spaces
• public transport should be used for essential travel only
• food and drinks establishments are closed, takeaways excepted
• all retail stores, museums, zoos, cinemas, amusement parks and other public spaces are closed
• no alcohol sold after 8pm

*revised from the previous policy update

Published

In the mirror, Sunday

Windswept, white tips splay forth, like piercing sunbeams, their roots merging into a medium-brown part just left of centre. A blonde wave gathers fine glossy strands upward and across, eventually disappearing from sight into a messy tuck at the back of the head. The hairline cascades, as if a curtain pulled back by ties, not once, but twice. Wispy soft tufts gather delicately before small, pinned ears ending in rounded lobes, each displaying a bright gem encircled in gold – a rare gift from her father.

An exercise in paying attention, after Anne Lamott.

Published

Pandemic policy update

National pandemic policy, effective from 23 January

Status: Strict lockdown with a curfew

• no-one is permitted to be outdoors between 21.00 and 4.30 without an official curfew exemption *
• no more than 1 person aged 13 or over at your home per day *
• visit no more than 1 other household per day *
• work from home. Only people whose presence is essential to operational processes can go to work *
• do not travel abroad and do not book trips abroad until 31 March *
• masks to be worn in indoor spaces
• public transport should be used for essential travel only
• no more than 2 people can form a group outside the home
• food and drinks establishments are closed, takeaways excepted
• all retail stores, museums, zoos, cinemas, amusement parks and other public spaces are closed
• no alcohol sold after 8pm

*revised from the previous policy update

Published

The shape of success

Earlier in the week I stumbled across an old personal note which triggered an everyday epiphany. The note was written in a very pragmatic Q and A format around 2018, after some years of disappointing freelance work. One question in particular caught my eye, it read What does success [in my work] look like to me?. I’d outlined five simple fundamentals:

  • autonomy over my work
  • feeling intellectually challenged
  • cooperative working relationships
  • being able to pass on knowledge through mentoring
  • being relatively financially comfortable

Returning to these fundamentals, so explicitly articulated, it dawned on me that I can count myself successful.

I never imagined that I would work anywhere other than small, boutique design studios, but sometimes, often, our abstract projection of success is incongruent with our granular definition of it.

Published

Pandemic policy update

National pandemic policy, effective from 15 December

Status: Strict Lockdown

• public transport should be used for essential travel only *
• no more than 1 group of up to 2 visitors to your home in one day *
• no more than 2 people can form a group outside the home *
• all retail stores, museums, zoos, cinemas, amusement parks and other public spaces are closed *
• do not travel abroad and do not book trips abroad until mid-March *
• work from home, unless that is not possible
• masks to be worn in indoor spaces
• no alcohol sold after 8pm

• food and drinks establishments are closed, takeaways excepted

*revised from the previous policy update

Published

Let the image do the talking

Last week I was at I Heart Studios in Amsterdam to photograph a project that has been in the works since April: a series of design prototypes for the Food industry using sustainable packaging.

From the outset I was really impressed with I Heart’s professionalism. In particular, their proposal outlined responsibilities (ours and theirs) throughout the process (clarity on a platter! 🙌🏻 ). We met in person to discuss the detailed brief I’d developed, which was followed by a half-day test shoot to determine final shot list, camera positions, lighting and background colour. Curiously, their standard practice is to insert a background colour in post, rather than shoot with a paper background, as it provides control of colour reproduction and better consistency between shots. Meanwhile, my colleague MP and I shared responsibility for sourcing all of the necessary props – from vessels to fresh food to blank label sheets and rolls to representative source material.

Over the last few years, a number of ‘envelope’ collections have been made by Avery Dennison for the Wine and Spirits segment. The materials featured are typically premium with strong aesthetic qualities. Hence, the photography focused on design, texture and print finishing.

In approaching this shoot, I wanted the images to play a pivotal role in telling the story of the sustainable materials featured – in relation to their material composition and performance capability. For example, rMC, made from FSC-certified paper and 30% post consumer waste, was propped with shredded newspaper and office copy paper. While rCrush resists rupture or significant change in appearance when wet, so was sprayed to show water droplets on its surface.

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