05.04.2018

Abroad: NZ Photographer in London, Sarah Burton


Photographer Sarah Burton outside her Hackney, London local – Well Street Kitchen

 

Who said Kiwis were a flightless bird? Pffft. I love hearing about New Zealanders making a name for themselves in the creative industries overseas – and love sharing these stories with you. So let me introduce you to Sarah Burton, professional photographer, and New Zealander living and working in London.

As well as shooting commercially for fashion and product campaigns, and having a wedding photography business, Sarah works on a lot of personal projects (photography and writing – she’s a beautiful writer) inspired often by travel adventures with her partner (and fellow NZer), filmmaker Ryan Fielding.

Recent commercial work

Various favourites plucked from Sarah’s atmospheric collection of images


Tell us about what you do?
I work at Wolf & Badger Studios in Shoreditch (East London) art directing and shooting content for independent fashion, beauty and homewares brands.

I also freelance, shooting portraits for musicians, artists, travel features etc, and sometimes write too. Then I have my weddings brand, shooting both in UK/Europe and back in NZ. Any chance to get back to NZ for a good chunk of time over the kiwi summer!

At the studio I work with a lovely tight-knit team and through freelancing often collaborate with my filmmaker boyfriend, Ryan.

I love it when I am able to discover or create something new in well trodden territory. Anytime I have a good team, subject, the light is just perfect and my vision is being realised beyond my expectations it is a pretty amazing feeling.

Why London? How did you end up here?
It’s hard to escape the pull of the myth and legend of London, however grimy it may be. The career opportunities, palpable history, abundant art and culture. Plus we had a good base of friends already here.

One of the recent weddings Sarah has shot – the East London nuptials of two expat Kiwis

Where do live and who do you live with?
I live in Clapton, Hackney, East London. In a Victorian town house with my boyfriend Ryan and friend Celia. When we first moved to London Ryan and I lived in a modern apartment and I’m so glad we live here now as it is so quintessentially London. Tall sash windows, ornate tiled fireplace and floorboards with gaps between them big enough to drop a pencil through. I like to watch the family of squirrels scampering around the trees and the occasional fox in the backyard.

Tell us about your lifestyle there – how do you spend your weekends/downtime?
Heading to different areas of London to check them out, so many uniquely different boroughs and still many I haven’t been to.
Visiting art galleries. Vintage shopping. Food markets. In the summer, drinking in parks with friends… in the winter, drinking in cosy pubs with friends. I do pottery at a ramshackle drop in pottery ‘class’ at Hackney City Farm (I use class loosely as you are pretty much left to your own devices.) At the end of last year, I joined a really fun choir called Some Voices Sing, we performed the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet just before Christmas in a grand old art deco theatre which was a culmination of many of my favourite things.

“ornate tiled fireplace and floorboards with gaps… big enough to drop a pencil through”

“Dining room table that folds up, as London homes are very small and need space saving techniques!
Looking down to the kitchen. This is where I sit if I’m working from home.”

A corner of Sarah’s bedroom, with pottery she’s made herself at Hackney City Farm 

I’m in your borough: where should I go – that maybe isn’t on the typical tourist trail?
Hackney has become like a village amongst the daunting sprawl of London. I live and work in this borough. I like walking along Regent’s canal, gawking at all the weird and wonderful houseboats.

Places to go: Broadway Market is lovely, I especially like sitting upstairs at The Cat & Mutton pub which was established in 1729. Campania just off Colombia Road – authentic fresh Italian food in a slightly crumbling brick dairy that used to house cows. Plus they leave a chunk of parmesan and grater on the table which is my idea of heaven. Chatsworth Road has lots of independent homewares stores and good cafes, and there’s an unpretentious street food market there on Sundays. Well Street Kitchen, the first cafe I ever went to in London so will always have my heart. I order the £1 mug of builders tea and the smashed chilli avo. Our local Mexican joint Del 74 Tacos on Lower Clapton Road is great for its good playlists, fresh tacos and ice cold Micheladas which are a cross between a beer and a Bloody Mary. London Fields on a hot summer’s day for sun soaked merry making, smoky disposable grills and scantily clad Brits. Cycling through the Hackney marshes. Long grass, wildflowers and blackberry brambles.

London Fields – summer shenanigans with friends

Regent’s Canal, Hackney

One of Sarah’s personal projects – her local neighbourhood, captured through an honest, analogue lens

What projects are you working on at the moment?
Personally I am working on a project shooting on analogue cameras that casts a poetic eye over Hackney. Moments that capture me as I walk around. I usually do this when I move to a new place as everything feels so fresh and vivid.

Professionally I am working on a photo and film campaign to launch a luxury vegan leather jacket brand, and have just completed a series of still life’s showcasing the organic beauty products at Wolf & Badger.

BTS – Sarah shooting on location recently

Sarah and her partner Ryan shooting a destination wedding together in Portugal


What’s great about being away from NZ for your career/work?
I think it’s great to experience a different style of doing things and being able to collaborate with a far larger pool of creatives. I fully appreciate both places – for completely different reasons – they balance each other out.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in your work life?
I usually have porridge and tea for breakfast which I eat while reading either my current novel or an article online. Take coffee to Ryan in bed (he lives by artist’s hours) and chat about the day ahead. 15-minute cycle to the studio, I try and get there just before 10am. Then I could be shooting, editing, planning a shoot, or a combination of all three.

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you work-wise over the past year?
Trip to Porto with Ryan where we created a film and stills for a bespoke furniture business run by three generations of woman from the same family. The workshop was full of characters straight out of a Fellini film and we got to see another side of Porto far from the tourist trail.

Romantic scenes from Sorrento, Italy

Magic in remote Cappadocia. See (and read) more from Sarah’s journey to this historical destination, here.

What are your fave things about living in London, in the context of career/creatively?
There are just so many opportunities here. Of course there are more people vying for them but at least they are here. The crush of cultural diversity is invigorating and important. Relatively easy to travel to many exciting locations.

What do New Zealanders take for granted?
Really good, fresh produce grown locally. Innate sense of safety. Horizons.

Imagery captured on one of Sarah’s trips home to New Zealand

What’s coming next for you?
Keep working on my long term personal documentary photography projects which will culminate in an exhibition and hopefully a zine or simple self-published book. I also want to make a short film this year.

Career-wise, hopefully keep going in this trajectory – London is brutal for many at the beginning but has been easier and more rewarding every year.

 

Sarah Burton Commercial Portfolio
Sarah’s Instagram
Sarah Burton Weddings Website
Throw Some Light – Sarah’s writing and personal photography projects

16.08.2016

Abroad | NZ Stylist + Photographer Aimee Magne


Stockholm, you so pretty
A B R O A D  ~ Where we chat to New Zealanders living and creating overseas… 
 
Today, we get to meet New Zealander Aimee Magne of Hope & Organic. Aimee (35) is lucky enough to divide her time between NZ and Sweden (more about that below). Aimee gave up a decade-long corporate career to follow her creative passions, re-training at an organic raw culinary school in the US. As well as being an exceptional food stylist, Aimee is a food and design photographer, shooting locally for the likes of Mavis & Osborne, Remix Magazine, Good Magazine, Ceres Organics, Storm & India Tea Sisters, Little Bird Organics, and Amber Armitage. Her work – under the brand Hope & Organic – is beautiful and we think she’s definitely one to watch…

Tell us about what you do Aimee?
I capture beauty through photography with minimalist, organic styling. I also create raw food recipes. I’m a lover of modernism, the sea, handmade wares, organics, friends like family and clean design. My husband and I also have a business importing vintage Swedish bicycles to New Zealand.

Where do live and who do you live with?
Vasastan in Stockholm was our homebase between 2008 and 2013. We had a beautiful turn of the century apartment with 4 metre high ceilings, plain fir and oak herringbone wooden floors and a kitchen from the 70’s (with turquoise cupboards), that was my haven. We moved back to New Zealand, but now we spend our NZ winters in Sweden – between Stockholm (where Fredrik’s brother has an apartment on Södermalm), the family farm on the island of Gotland and the west coast namely, Gothenburg and Stillingsön.

Why Sweden?  
It is where my husband Fredrik is from. We met when he was studying in Auckland.
I love the distinct seasons, the sense of tradition, design, style and deep friendships I have made.

Tell us about your lifestyle in Sweden – how do you spend your weekends/downtime?  
A typical weekend in Stockholm for me begins with a long run (around the island Djurgården or Kungsholmen) or with a vinyasa class at either Urban Om or Inbalance on Södermalm. When we lived in Vasastan, our local hangout was either Mellqvist kaffebar or a bohemian cafe Vurma.

Weekends are for all the breads
 

 

…and the coffee. This is the very cool What’s The Deli, in Gothenburg
 

I stock up at my favourite organic shops (the new one being Paradiset), and walk around with my camera to my favourite parts of town (e.g. Nytorget), and shops (e.g. Hope, Sandqvist, Weekday or Grandpa).

There’s no need for a car in Stockholm so we spend a lot of time on our feet or our bikes.

I spy amazing old heritage buildings next to contemporary coffee joints
 
Preferred mode of transport = bike. Outside one of Aimee’s fave design stores, Grandpa

 

 

Hope is one of the brands that inspired Aimee to leave corporate life and begin a creative career

 

More of Aimee’s favourite brands and stores

During summer when we are more adventurous, we take a picnic and cycle far on our bikes, or we head out to the archipelago and enjoy nature.

I’m in your city/region: where should I go that maybe isn’t on the typical tourist trail?
The archipelago outside Stockholm is magical. I would rent a cottage and just enjoy being isolated and in the moment. The most accessible island is Grinda and later in summer you can pick wild bilberries or chanterelle mushrooms.

Picking wild bilberries at Grinda island

 

Picnic on Grinda – wild chanterelle mushrooms on toast
 

 

 

Summer weekends spent swimming, sunning, and hanging with Family
(this is Aimee’s bro in law Johan and nephew Willie)

Tell us about SteelHorse?  
We import Stålhästen bicycles – vintage inspired Swedish bicycles that are designed by our friends Martin and Erik. The inspiration in the design is trusty old bikes that our grandparents rode. When we decided to make New Zealand our home base, we wanted to bring a piece of Sweden back with us – and Stålhästen seemed like the right fit.

 

 

 

We currently have 5 models which we sell online – classic 3 geared bicycles (in black and red), a 7 speed (cream), and a sport version that can be transformed into a fixie. On our latest trip we were inspired by the new styles in mint green and turmeric, so hopefully these will soon be a part of our range, as well as electric bikes which would make sense in hilly Auckland!

Tell us about your journey to starting and developing Hope & Organic?  
The name Hope & Organic was inspired by a favourite fashion brand Hope Stockholm, as well as organic plant based foods, and the large part they play in my life. Hope & Organic symbolizes for me the time when I decided to make my hopes and dreams my everyday.

I was inspired to work with food, especially after attending Matthew Kenney Culinary, a plant-based cooking school with an emphasis on visual design. I had countless ideas, such as raw plant-based ice creams, kombucha, organic cold-pressed juices, and lunchbox subscriptions however a physical business didn’t seem to be the right fit with our long-term goal of living in both New Zealand and Sweden.

Aimee styling dishes at a New Zealand Kinfolk event
 

 

 

A teeny sample of Aimee’s food styling and photography

As the visual aesthetic of food was so important to me, I bought a camera and started a food styling and recipe blog. A friend saw my photos and asked me to be the food stylist for a local Kinfolk gathering, and from there I began working with other organic food and design brands.

Life seemed to be directing me behind the camera, and while my subjects have expanded beyond strictly photographing food, I like to think that my styling and approach remain close to my organic roots.

How do you make your businesses and routines of daily life work when splitting your time between Sweden and New Zealand? 
For me, time in Sweden is about living in the moment and being inspired from a work perspective, so I am carefree and take each day with an open mind. This last trip has been a lot about photography and meeting brands that inspire us in the hope of establishing contacts to work with later down the track.

Tell us about the Summer House?
The summerhouse is located in Stillingsön (Orust), about 1.5 hours from Gothenburg. Fredrik’s grandparents bought the original house there in the 50’s, and since then a number of our cousins have acquired their own places in this little community. It is a very unique and special place – the houses have to be painted the same colour and many of them aren’t usable during the winter.

 

 

 

Klevebacken summer house, styled by Aimee and Karolina


 

 

Snaps from Aimee’s friend’s home

On this recent trip (we just arrived back in New Zealand a couple of weeks ago) we stayed with Markus and Karolina, and Karolina and I had a project to style and photograph the house which they recently renovated.

Being in the countryside, the interior styling is comprised of inherited vintage pieces, classic Swedish textiles, hand woven rag rugs (trasmattor), brass candlesticks and indoor plants, mixed with modern. The blonde wooden floors are distinctly Scandinavian and Karolina’s passion for the 50’s shines through.  There is even an outdoor wood fired stone oven, which we use to make bread and pizza (including cardamom flavoured dessert pizzas which we topped with wild raspberries!).

How good is being away from NZ for your career/work?  
I like the feeling when I am travelling that I can just be. I’m just myself and my suitcase, and I become incredibly curious and openminded. I feel it’s much easier to get in touch with my true creative vision without comparing myself to others or being influenced by trends and social media.

 

Aimee lives out of bags and in her summer sandals while in Sweden.
All photography by Aimee Magne, Hope & Organic

Hope & Organic   website and portfolio   /   Instagram   /    Facebook

14.06.2016

Abroad – Melbourne’s The Club of Odd Volumes:


A B R O A D  –  Where we get to know New Zealand designers living overseas. Let’s meet Sarah and Matt Johnston (both from NZ but now calling Melbourne home), founders of The Club of Odd Volumes.
The Club of Odd Volumes is a curated online store, producing tees and sweats, kids’ tees and baby onesies (eeeeeeee), cushions, totes, tea towels, pillowcases and more, all featuring the work of The Odd Collective – a twice-yearly-updated roster of 20 independent illustrators and designers. And because they’re artists themselves, Sarah and Matt also produce their own in-house Club Merch too, which is consistently freakin’ awesome.
Working with 20 artists at a time means there’s an awesome variety of different aesthetic styles, subjects and mediums to choose from. And because the entire online store changes up every 6 months, keeping the clothing and textile designs freshy fresh.
As just a two-person team, Sarah and Matt really look after their artists; they’re not some factory churning out key rings and cringy merch. They’re always looking for new talent to join The Odd Collective, so follow them on Instagram to keep an eye out for the next artist call-out.
Sarah and Matt run the Club from a warehouse in Melbourne’s Collingwood, and live upstairs. Lucky! And lucky us getting to have a nosey…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get out of town with your inspiring selves. So cool, you two.

 

We are super thankful to have had professional photographer
(a fellow NZ’er living in Melbourne)
take time out of her schedule to shoot this story for Fancy.
Go follow Danelle on Instagram – her feed is tasty.

20.07.2015

NZ Designer Bridie Picot – Abroad…


ABROAD  |  Where we chat to New Zealanders living and creating overseas…
First up: Bridie Picot of homeware brand Thing Industries (to be accurate – one half of Thing, with Wellington-based designer Matt Smith) who’s living and working in New York.

 

 

Bridie does Thing things from her home in Brooklyn, but she also works from a city shared space

 

My favourite Thing thing (their banana pillow) in Bridie’s living room.
(Also, I spy a magazine from home)
Birdhouse Bookshelf in Bridie and Harry’s room

 

The Cabin bathroom caddy

 

Sacrificial Chair (one of Thing’s first pieces) and Brick blanket
The Shack (I do love an A-frame)
 
Bridie and Rabbit!

 

Beast rug in the Shack’s living area

 

the Shack

 

 

So, where do you live and who do you live with?
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, with my fiance Harry and my dog Rabbit. We also have a house upstate New York that we go to every weekend. Up there we have four chickens; Isabella, Elsie, Harlequin and Cinderella (named by my niece, also Isabella, age 3.5).

 

Where did you grow up in NZ and what did you do here before you left?
I grew up in Auckland before moving to Nelson with my mum when I was 10. I lived there till I finished high school then headed back to the big smoke. My first job was working at Pavement Magazine doing odd jobs, and later at TBWA as an account executive. I moved to New York when I was 21 and started working at Management Artists, (a photo agency), as an assistant producer.
When did you move away from NZ and why?
Hmm, I just always figured I would. My sister had lived in London for a while and I basically wanted to be her, also I had traveled a bit with each of my parents when I was younger so I got a taste for it I guess. One memorable trip was with my mum when I was about 8; we went to New York for her 40th and bought a car for $400 which we drove all the way to San Francisco. It was the middle of summer and had no A/C, and we did the whole journey with just two tapes; Tiffany and Simon & Garfunkel. I guess I just wanted another adventure after moving to Auckland, and New York seemed like a good a place as any.
How good was moving out of NZ for your career?
I’ve never been particularly focused on my career, I’m more interested in working in a nice space with good people. I guess you’re always going to have more opportunities when you go to a bigger place, and I think it makes for a more random career path, which I like but it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea.
What are your fave things about living in New York?
I should say something about the culture here, but to be honest the last time I went to a gallery was in New Zealand at Christmas! I love the characters you see everywhere, the fact that you could walk down the street in your PJs talking to yourself and no one would bat an eyelash.
Are you friends with many other expats?
Yep, but pretty much all my New Zealand friends here are people I’ve met since living here. And everyone is super talented. My friend Stacey Lee just showed her film at TriBeCa Shorts Festival a couple of weeks ago. All of them seem to be doing interesting creative things.
If I’m in your city or neighbourhood – what should I go see/do that isn’t on the typical tourist trail?
Come to Greenpoint, it’s on the G train which gets a bad rep so there aren’t any queues at the restaurants.
Apart from the obvious ones (fam and friends, scenery), What do you miss about NZ?
I miss pies. I miss not having to check for ticks/snakes/porcupine quills when I’m walking around in bare feet.
How do you spend your weekends/down-time?
We head up to the Shack every weekend, even in winter. In summer we go swimming in the river and have the neighbours round for dinner. Actually we do that all year. We see our neighbours a lot.
The Shack?
So, I bought the Shack about 2.5 years ago, before I even had a car. It’s in Narrowsburg, New York and really close to the Delaware River which is great for swimming, with big rocks to jump off. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive from Manhattan. We recently added the Shed which is a little sleepout with a queen bed, because the Shack is only one bedroom and we’re always bringing friends up, so for them to have their own little space is nice. We’re trying to get the land next door and have plans to build a big barn. We’ll keep the Shack for AirBnB and as an overflow for the Barn. It’d be nice to have a big kitchen/living area with a dining table, because at the moment we eat off our laps on the sofa.
You’ve recently gone full-time with Thing. How does the business work when you’re in NY and Matt’s in NZ? 
Well we email a lot. Sketches and quotes and photos of samples are sent back and forth. Our distribution and most of our manufacturers are in the US so I run everything from here. Matt’s been over a couple of times this year for our show at Design Week and before that for some quality planning time by the pool in Palm Springs.
What’s coming up for Thing?
We’re launching a few new products, big things as well as some smaller giftable things. A studio/storefront is on the cards but probably not until next year.
Thing Industries online store   /   Facebook   /   Instagram      < give them a follow!

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