Natural Beauty.

 

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Inspired by the beautiful photographs taken by Hans Silvester of the people from the Omo Valley in Ethiopia. It was an idea that was thought about on and off for months. I have been constantly looking around, especially when I’m driving, for striking bits of flora that I thought would be suitable. The shoot had to be rearranged a couple of times so flowers I originally thought of using were no longer available by the time we got around to taking the photos. The day itself was all very “organic”. It flowed so nicely from the picking and collecting of all the flora on my way to Sally’s (everything was picked and created that morning), to the capturing these beautiful images.

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Many thanks to mother nature for the ever bountiful array of beautiful flora. Also to the lovely Sally for being a most gracious and cooperative model who could see my vision and totally helped me bring it to reality. Thanks to Bec for the black backdrop….. we were originally going to shoot these all outside more akin to Hans Silvester’s images  but I am glad we didn’t. This is far more striking.

 

GRATITUDE

Today I am grateful. Actually most days, when I give myself time to reflect, I find myself truly grateful for many things. It is amazing how quickly you can transform your mind out of a negative downward spiral when you began to acknowledge those “things” in life that you are grateful for. It is one of the best ways to attract abundance into your life – realising your life is already abundant, perhaps just in ways you hadn’t given yourself time to pause and reflect upon.

Joy is inside you. Not in the attainment of things desired, nor in the achievement of goals made, but in the simple feeling that lies within you. Know that this joy is unaffected by outer circumstance and joy will be yours forever. – Author Unknown

My sister-in-law is American. Today for her (and many other Americans) is a special day. Thanksgiving. One of the few American celebrations we Australians have not yet adopted. I think it is a really nice thing to have a celebration for all that you’re grateful for. Especially in our modern society where so much gets taken for granted. I am a vegetarian, so no turkey for me. But in its place I will be partaking in a whole lotta gratitude!  Stephanie Noah (she’s my sister-in-law) I hope you have a fantastic Australian thanksgiving celebration and let me tell you now how grateful I am for having you in my life and for the sacrifices you have endured to live so far away from your land of birth to be with the one that you love. Big ups girlfriend! You rock!

So here is a quick list of some of the myriad of things that I am über grateful for………… love, health, my kids, my AMAZING friends and their beautiful families, the supportive community of Maleny in South East Queensland, Australia, the internet, my husband and his musically talented ways (you can check him out here if you’re feeling a tad curious), Africa and the connection I have to that place in all of its dysfunction and glory and unrelenting happiness, good coffee, the recent rain that took our tank from a slush pile of leaves to a lush reserve of water for our daily use, the ocean, photography – without which the creativity would not have a visual way out, poetry, and those who read it, the blog sphere my newest addiction, chocolate, myself and my ability to be an absolute idiot and not give a rat’s ass (this is somewhat dependent on the company I’m in but I’m working on that not being a factor).
That’ll do for now otherwise it may never end.

Let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives and set our priorities on the basis of that.  – Author Unknown

Copyright Ketakii Jewson-Brown

Go and write down 10 “things” that you are grateful for. My bet is that you will easily find more than 10. Big love x

Related Articles:

http://benhewitt.net/2012/11/21/easy-livin/

Learning lessons

So. What lessons have been learned you ask? Well, many.

Go slow. Read the fine print. Be thorough. Make sure you understand the guidelines given, and stick to them in your submission. Take more time to think about your idea/s and help “flesh” them out. Do NOT put it off to the last-minute. (I’ve always been a last-minute, under pressure type of girl. High school assignments were usually done the night before they were due to be submitted.)

You may have guessed by now that I didn’t win the trip to Africa to take photos. As bummed as I am, (it would have been AWESOME!) I am grateful for the inspiring experience and all of the lessons I have been faced with. I say faced with, because I obviously haven’t learned them yet. But I am. And I will continue to do so.

The main reason I think I messed up was because I chose to do a montage of images for 3 of the 5 photos required in the photo essay. Also, I could have taken better images, more suitable to the brief. But I didn’t. I left it to the last-minute, then rushed through it so I would have something to upload by the deadline. (That’s the problem with deadlines – if it was a personal ongoing project I would be able to chop and change and allow it to be a whole lot more of an organic process. But it wasn’t. Get over it.)

The positives: I have learned about myself. More about myself than previously known. I am going to work on these things. I have started a blog. Regular writing that’s not just for my eyes only. I have inspired myself and piqued my own curiosity (and hopefully the curiosity of others.) I have gained confidence in the knowledge that if you want to do something you just have to do it. One step at a time. In the direction of your heart. Be real with yourself and follow your dreams.

“Allow yourself to be drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray” – RUMI

Chuffed. Innit.

My first blog was because of a photographic competition that I was wanting to enter. [Taking photos in Africa was the blog’s title.] Well I did it. I entered. I wrote a kick ass little essay on food security and then came up with my idea for my photo essay. 5 photos only. Not the easiest for a photo essay. I am pretty happy with the results. It’s not quite what I thought I would do at the beginning, some of the core elements are still there, but with time and energy restraints, kids and sickness all factored in I think it all came good in the end.

The deadline for entry is midnight on August 1st….not tomorrow, the day after [or ubermorgen as the German say.] The actually trip to Africa isn’t all that far away either….. there’s a briefing session in Sydney mid August and then Kenya and Zimbabwe for 2 weeks at the end of August….. eeek that is closing in fast.
But I like that it is all whirlwind-y and such. Not too much time to let the rational mind in. Just f  king go for it! I had to get a new passport too….. which is yet to arrive. Hopefully this week.

So regardless of the outcome I am pretty chuffed with myself for getting it done. Feeling inspired, being creative and enjoying the process. I reckon there’s plenty more where that came from – might just need a deadline or two to get [and keep] this butt in gear. What’s that saying about diamonds and pressure…..?

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Taking photos in Africa

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There is a competition – a photographic competition – and the winner gets the opportunity to take photos of farmers and communities ActionAid Australia and AFAP Action on Poverty work with in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Part of the selection criteria is that the applicant preferably have some blog writing experience so as to be able to blog whilst in Africa. SO this is my blog writing kick up the butt, so to speak. I have had this account open for a few months and written nothing. So here goes…..

I love writing. I love taking photos. I love Africa. (Well there are many more things that I love but for this post I’ll keep it to those 3). I would love to travel to Africa and take photos of farmers and their communities on the road to food security. I have traveled to Africa twice in the past 6 years. My husband is South African. Most of his family live there. But this is not remote Africa, this is urban Cape Town. By no stretch is it remote like other parts of Africa. I would love to get a glimpse of that remoteness. I would love to photograph that remoteness. There is a different light in Africa. It was one of the first of many things I noticed on my first visit to South Africa. I want to experience it once again.

As part of the competition I am required to write about what food security means to me, as well as create a photo essay based on the same question. There is a big difference in what food security means to an Aussie girl and what it means to an African woman living in remote areas. I am going to try and find some underlying similarities. Hopefully more than the fact they are both female….

I might not win.Though I could possibly…. No matter the outcome I am grateful that this competition has sparked my inspiration, my curiosity, my creativity. (Though I would probably be pretty stoked if I did win).

Diego – Flirtatious South African Rooster