Dear beautiful folks, home is a place where we are eternally heading, there is a light on at the end of the street, the road, the garden, the block.
It’s the place we all turn to, to feel safe, to rest, and to feel loved and nurtured.
Home is a place of familiar scents, a baked dinner on a winter’s day, the sweetness of one perfect white gardenia that sits by your bedside, the scent of freshly cut grass, or your mother’s favourite perfume. Home is the comfort in sheets drying in the sun, lying in your backyard with your face towards the sky looking for shapes and animals in the clouds. Home is the fire that burns in the winter and in the summer sprays water from a sprinkler where the kids play in delight.
Home is a place of sounds that puts our hearts at peace. The ding dong of a familiar doorbell, the tick of a pendulum on a clock that hangs on a wall and tocks in a comforting way, a lawnmower that breaks into action at a certain time of day, and the sounds of the kookaburra’s that laugh their heads off at dawn.
Home is the sanctuary we create from the chaos of the world outside. It’s the beauty we carefully choose to put on our walls, shelves, and in the nooks and crannies of our lives. An ex-voto found in a small shop in Naples, a painting from a dear friend that still reminds you of their smile, colours of the sea that light your heart every time you walk by it, and a trinket you found in a market in Greece.
Home is the people we love, it’s the familiar faces of our mother’s and father’s, partners, nieces and nephews, friends, cats, dogs, and animals. Home is the place of memories.
To all the people caught on the road away from their family and friends, to the displaced ones trying to make your way home safely, my thoughts and love are with you.
May your Home weave its magic, keep you safe and calm.
What a joy it is to introduce the first in a series of interviews titled Magic is in the Doing with women who have followed their passion to make it an essential part of their life. I have a strong belief when you are passionate about something and take baby steps towards it each day with inspired action you eventually create magic!!
And that is exactly what Claire Lloyd has done. Claire is a dear friend of mine and her passion for interiors has been with her since she was a little girl. She found a way to incorporate her love for interiors whilst working as an art director in magazines in London by slowly buying one property at a time, feeding this love of beauty and creativity whilst creating a nurturing space.
Her passion for interiors kept calling her and over the years she has created beautiful apartments and homes in London, Greece and Sydney whilst still working at her ‘day job’.
I’m so honoured to have Claire share her story about how she wove this love of beauty into her life.
How did your love for interiors start?
As a young child I remember laying in bed at my grandmother’s home, looking up at the ceiling and being in awe of the beauty of the ornate cornicing and ceiling rose. I was extremely aware of the morning light and how it revealed interesting details. I would often imagine turning this image upside down in my head so the ceiling became the floor. I would step over the doorway as if it was not an obstacle and imagine different rooms. I was led by my imagination and furnish each room simply in my head. I would find peace and calmness in what I created. Perhaps this was the start for me.
Did you have someone or something that inspired you to buy your first apartment and renovate it?
The first apartment I bought was in London on the New Kings Road. I had been living in London a few years and was working for The World of Interiors magazine, a dream job and one that truly inspired me on many levels. The flat was very small but completely perfect for my life at that time.
When I first arrived in London a friend had lent me her flat until I got on my feet. I went on to rent the flat and then when I could see I was not returning to Australia I bought it from her. It was a gift having a place to make my very own. My new found freedom in London was my inspiration and the many influences of my job led me to making it a beautiful space.
Not long after that, on a trip to Sydney I decided to buy a small apartment, a little place to retreat to on my yearly visits. My sister Monica was instrumental in my purchase as she took me to view the small apartment a few days before my return to London. On entering the property, I knew it had to be mine.
The decor didn’t interest me it was the light and feeling of the space that grabbed my imagination. There was one other factor too. When I was a child we would visit my grandparents regularly. I must have been no more than 6 years of age and each time we would drive up into Wylde Street in Potts Point this newly created building would catch my eye, I was fascinated by it. It was a new building and very different to the others that surrounded it, it had something special about it and I wanted to live there. So you can imagine my surprise when this was the building my sister took me to. This was to be my first flat in Australia. I quickly set about making a space I would love.
I love that you continued to work as an art director and indulged your passion for interiors at the same time. What was the benefit of this and how did it support your creativity?
I really don’t think one thing defines your creativity. I am a great believer in the bigger picture. It is your picture and you can paint it in any way that suits you. For me everything I do is visual, it’s my language. I don’t feel there are boundaries it’s just a natural flow and the more you flow the more you create. All areas of creativity support one another in some way and add another layer to each other.
Creating an interior for yourself I imagine is a vastly different process to doing it for someone one else. What has been some of the joys of creating your nurturing spaces in London, Greece and Sydney and how do you adapt your style?
I have a very definite vision when it comes to my nurturing spaces, simple but clear. I experience a huge amount of joy finding a space I love and breathing fresh energy into them. My style is constant no matter where I am. I use the building, the form and the environment as a guide. I like the space to have an authentic, to create a tranquil light filled home that gives enjoyment and pleasure. I love a blank canvas and making something cosy, understated and beautiful. Simply … I LOVE beauty and making anything look beautiful.
In Greece the look is much more rustic. We live in an authentic Greek village so I felt the house needed to reflect that authenticity. Matthew my partner, an artist, is great at finding old pieces of furniture and other bits and pieces. He can sniff out all sorts of things and because he is extremely creative he can turn his hand to anything even restoration. Matthew builds furniture for us. He built our bed based the design on the traditional Greek daybed. He white washed it and its fabulous.
White is always my colour of choice, however here on the island I have introduced turquoise for doors and shutters. It looks fantastic against the white and pings when hit by the Greek sunlight. The inspiration for this colour came from the house itself. When we bought the house it was as full with the previous owner’s belongings, some of which Matthew restored so they could be incorporated into the new simpler look. The whole process was fun.
In London the space is less eclectic than Greece and much more minimal. The apartment is large and spread over 3 floors. Living in London I felt the need for light and clarity was essential. The building is late Georgian so the ceilings are high, there are original fireplaces and there are lovely cornicing details. I wanted to keep the large spaces simple using art and natural fabrics and layering textures to cosy it up.
Sydney is a small apartment with fabulous views and beautiful natural light. Being located in a city the importance again was to create simplicity and serenity. I used Australian cherry wood for the kitchen and all the cupboards, it sits really well with white. To emphasise the dazzling light, because nothing is ever too bright for me, I had a white, high gloss dance floor laid. It really did the trick, sometimes you almost need to reach for your sunglasses.
You are a renaissance woman and are the author of Sensual Living, photographed and wrote My Greek Island Home, I believe all of us are creative, what would you say to someone who wants to try more than one creative art or blend them like you have?
Just do it! Listen to yourself and what you want to do and what makes you feel happy and alive and focus on that. Also give yourself space to create and let it flow naturally.
In what ways have you always said YES to yourself?
I like to think YES is a word I use often. YES, has taken me far, sometimes it’s been scary but I have never regretted saying it.
It took me to London led me to taking on jobs I felt were far beyond my ability. It took me to Greece to experience a new life which taught me so very much about living authentically. I really hope there will be a mountain of YES’S ahead of me and I never stop saying YES.
Huge thanks to Claire for sharing her beautiful story, eye and passion for creating spaces. You can follow Claire on Instagram HERE
The easy answer for this is the moment you take them. They are our memories, the proof of our lives, where we have been and what we found along the way.
The longer answer goes something like this.
So many of the photos I have taken during the last eighteen years were for pure pleasure on my travels or holidays and today I have 100,000’s of thousands of photos on numerous discs and negatives.
When I first started taking photos the concept of them being valuable didn’t enter my mind. I was so excited to take them and then rush out and take some more, like a wonderful addiction to life.
I was terrible with them, in such a hurry to print them and see them appear in the darkroom that I would hastily discard one negative for the next and often put them back in the wrong packet.
Hence if someone today asks me for a copy of a photo in my first years, I will go into hot sweats and do anything to avoid promising that photo because I could lose a day looking for it. I would rather NOT find it or sell it than go looking for it.
When I started my blog back in 2008 I put up the photos I loved with little SEO tags of when and where I took them and now I have a steady stream of magazines, publications and interior designers asking me for my photos from my travels.
Coupled with the photos I continue to take, I have come to realize that our archives have an enormous value and they should be treasured, catalogued and easy to find.
So dear photographers, I beg you to look after your images and no matter where you are on your journey start improving your system today.
Here are my top 5 tips:
Right now today make sure you always have two discs of any series of images. One being an exact backup disc and mirror of the original disc and make sure they AREN’T stored together
Number, date and name your discs and make sure they are marked clearly on the outside
Categorise each shoot by date first, month and then name your project, person and place for each search reference. When you open your disc you should see a series of folders with specific jobs, subjects or travels.
If you are super-organized start a file with the disc names and then sub folders on that disc. You could also do a hard copy reference book just for this for easy searching so if you are looking for ‘2013 Sifnos’ you know it is on disc 13 etc..
Always keep your ‘hero’s’ in a 3rd place such as the cloud so if all things go belly up you have the best photos of your career in high resolution version.
I know so many of you are creating magic on a daily basis, look after your beautiful images as one day they will have an incredible emotional, historical and economical value.
This is a video about how my passion for portrait photography developed in the beginning of my career and how I found my style and vision.
Today’s blog is a video! To Watch click ABOVE OR HERE
Here’s the Transcript.
I was going to make a blog post about this morning, and then I thought, why don’t I delve into my archives and show you what’s in the box and boxes of my pictures and how my story. So, for those of you that don’t know my story. I had another life years ago and at 35, sort of had a midlife crisis look down. And I am back. So, during that time, I decided I had to work out what to do with photography, so I decided.
I just like taking pictures
I didn’t have any background in photography I just allowed myself to be attracted to what I like and it changed my life
So the one thing that I’ve learned by luxury of looking back, is that I get to look back at all these pictures, and one of the things that I feel when I see these images is extraordinary amount of people who were so kind and allowed me to photograph them.
This is all when I was at photography school so any poor person hanging around doing absolutely anything was game. This is on the street in Sicily. Anyone hanging around who didn’t have anything to do Carla was there to torture them! Flatmates who had a half an afternoon off at school. I would ask them to pose and I would try and come up with some sort of interesting fashioning looking picture, and this is another gorgeous friend who was kind enough to model for me.
My Love for Italy and Daily Life
I was really really drawn to people, also because people in different situations. And I just love Italy, and the daily life really so much it was so inspiring and even though I was shy and sort of awkward people were so kind to me. So, I felt like I could just keep going and taking all these pictures.
I just kept going and then when I was in Paris, some how the girls in bathrooms turned into girls at the Mouln Rouge and the Lido!!
Taking a Photo versus Creating a Photo
One of the things that I really learned is take pictures there’s sort of two different types of of ways of taking people pictures and that’s finding people in their environment and just taking a picture and then of course, trying to create something, and then create an emotion and have fun between you two or, or create something serious whenever you really click take pictures.
So when you’re creating a photograph from nothing from scratch and the two of you just sort of staring at each other, it really kind of feels like a rodeo ride in a sense that you know it’s exciting this tension, it’s kind of fun it’s nerve wracking. And you don’t really know where it’s going to go like that in the beginning, you feel like yeah I’ve got the good ingredients but I don’t have a cake yet, so you might have a nice location.
Thing is about having the ingredients you then try to make it into something.
And often, it really does feel like a rodeo ride and I think one of the most important things about portraiture is that when it is just so uncomfortable most people walk away.
But the art is to stay with it.
The camera connects
That the camera is an excuse to connect with people. My passion for portrait photography meant that I could go up to that person say hello and take a photo. And I loved it and kept doing it and it became my life.
And the wonderful thing was in the beginning, I didn’t put any pressure on myself so I just wanted to give you a couple of tips today.
You know, in the beginning allow yourself the joy.
Because, you know, when I was at photography school I had the most fun.
I experiment, I make a ton of mistakes.
Do What You Love
When I just noticed it the same kept coming up and up and out, and then eventually I allow that to happen that became part of what I do, how I do things, you know, these very first photographs like this girl, you know this is still at photography school this is in Popi’s bathroom the lady I use to live with in Florence.
This is one of my flatmates. You know, it is all movement in here I probably at the time didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was attracted to move and I didn’t like things to be static, then this became a big part of my style over a period of time so often in the beginning when we’re fresh, you know, we don’t have these preconceived idea that’s when when you are so powerful, so don’t ask yourself why you’re doing it just allow you to do it.
And even if you feel like you’re just going on, you know, over the same subjects, over and over again, just stick to it. Allow yourself to do it. So I thought I’d give you some little tips today on the rain day ride of portraiture, and how you can hang through it stick with it and get the pictures that you want to take. First of all, number one, is to stay with it. Okay, most people don’t stay with it. So, when you’re about to be thrown off the bull. Most people walk out.
The art is to hang on for the ride. So that is my number one piece of advice is to take a break, or to get really really uncomfortable and everything.
Often it could be, you could change position.
You could change the light you could change the energy to change your angle.
So, instead of walking away and starting from scratch all over, ask yourself what you could to change something.
Then, you know, I’m really love photos with energy so you’ll see all my photographs are kind have energy. Every now and then I do have a quiet moment. But, you know, a lot of my photographs, really are about being alive.
Getting the emotions you want
So, how do I get that. So this is the number. I provoke the situation in the nicest possible way. So if I want joy. I give them joy, so I make them laugh I do all sorts of funny things. My niece who worked with me for about a year and years ago, she said to me at the end of the year, that which I took as a compliment, was that “you don’t care what people think about you”
She came on many shoots with me, including the shoots for Harper’s Bazaar and saw that I would say to someone who was considered famous, something stupid, but I do it for purpose which is to get a laugh or get a reaction. S
So another tip for you would be to, to create that energy, whatever energy you want, create that energy.
One of the things that I would like to say to you, all these pictures I took in the beginning,
I didn’t know what I was going to do with these pictures, I just allowed myself, the time and the investment really of energy to take them. But when you do things that you truly love, they don’t always have to have a purpose, and, but often when they really good, they’ll find a purpose, one day, and I wanted to show you this because a lot of these pictures I’ve just shown you, which were taken.
Chasing A Dream
Even some of them from the beginning, these pictures became a book called Chasing a Dream. And a lot of pictures.
So all of these pictures that I just took with love and just with curiosity and trying to learn and get better over a period of years, they became the book really which is possibly one of my favorites, other than Italian joy because they became like a private collection of images.
And that’s what I would like to say just to finish this little message right now is to allow your intuition, and your instincts to be free.
You don’t know where they’re going to take you, but they are your strongest guidance anything in life that comes from the heart will always be the thing that will take you where you need to go.
I wanted to share this shoot with you I did recently whilst in Australia for the beautiful Harpers Bazaar.
What a joy to spend a day at Justin Hemmes and Kate Fowlers home shooting them in this incredible setting on the edge of Sydney Harbour.
I am happy to share with you some behind the scenes tips on how I did this:
1. One of things I always do is scout the location. As I am not used to shooting in big bold Sydney light, it was really important for me to understand how the light works in this location and when and where it would be appropriate to shoot in and outside the house. Being able to scout it gave me this information.
2. I went wild about the pool and when a place has been published before, it’s important not to just reproduce the same images that have already been seen. The pool hadn’t been shot so we decided to use a little ‘Slim Aarons’ inspiration and this felt so at home for me with my love of beaches and the sea.
3. I made a little plan of what areas to shoot and when all based around the light and how it moved.
4. It’s a photographers dream to have a shoot like this, working with a team and super cool people who are happy to collaborate makes for a seamless job. When you have other professionals working with you the photography always goes to a higher level.
5. I stayed spontaneous and when I heard a plane coming down the harbour and the dog barking I started to run hoping to catch Justin or the plane!!!
6. I was conscious of colours and colour palettes and how we could blend the inside with the outside.
7. I worked with Kate and Justin to create images that reflected their easy way and lifestyle. They were a dream!
8. I was all in with all the props including boats and the pool! To shoot the boat we were lucky to have Super John and yachtsman who came and drove me around and around Kate and Justin’s boat. I was aiming to shoot with backlight to make the image more interesting. The alternative was gassing them with big Sydney sunshine that looked too harsh and uncool.
9. I spend a lot of my time looking at angles and pre-framing shots before bringing in my subject. I am conscious of not wasting my subjects time so I want to be sure I like the frame and light before asking them to step in.
10. I love shooting people in their environments. It has been something I have adored from the beginning, blending my love for travel photography, portraiture and interiors so for me it’s really important what is going on in the background as well as capturing my subjects at their best.
A huge thanks to Eliza O’Hare and the wonderful folks at Harpers Bazaar, Justin Hemmes and Kate Fowler and the people that worked on this shoot. It takes ‘a village’ to create productions like these and I am forever grateful to be involved with such wonderful people who continue make me look good!! THANK-YOU.. XX
I hope you enjoy the rest of the shoot. If you would like to learn more about how I do these shoots including working with your subject, shooting interiors and getting the most out of your portraiture you might like to join me in October at the beautiful Masseria Potenti in Puglia Italy for Heartland – People and Spaces Workshop. All details HERE
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