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My Religion, My Art

A CONVERSATION WITH THE ARTIST BEHIND @MVZLAMIC

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What inspires you to create art? 

As a British Muslim woman, I’m exposed to very particular and intrusive criticisms when it comes to the way I live my life, often by complete strangers. On one end of the spectrum, I have to deal with the hostility and ignorance offered by a growingly Islamophobic world. On the other, I deal with hostility and ignorance within the Muslim community itself, which is so diverse that we often find ourselves bickering with one another over our differences.

My art is a way of combatting these voices that try to invalidate the choices I make when it comes to my religion. Art is a beautiful medium that speaks to people from all walks of life, so I use it in an attempt to unite us all despite our differences.

When did you start this style of animation? 

I didn’t really go through a trial and error sort of process; every artwork I created had some kind of message I wanted to get across, and I’ve been more focused on communicating that message than I have been on developing any particular style. That’s why I feel I don’t have a signature technique, or that my drawings are very original. They’re actually quite simple if you really look at them. I hope to develop more as an artist in the future – it would be pretty cool if someone could look at my work and instantly recognise me as the artist.

 

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Why is having specific images of/for women in the hijab important?

The stigma around women in hijab is glaringly obvious in today’s political climate. Especially in Western discourse, there is a burden of representation when it comes to hijabis. I specifically say hijabis because these women are more recognisably Muslim than anyone else that shares their faith. In my experience, a hijabi is seen purely as a representation of Islam – more an ideological symbol than a human being. It’s important that hijabis are represented in ways more human than political so that they might be normalised, humanised, understood, and appreciated by those who lack greater awareness.

Why do you think big name brands are slow to bring options for women of colour and women in the hijab?

Speaking in terms of the West, I think we like to talk about how progressive we are, how civil we are, and essentially how much better we are than other developing countries in terms of equality and opportunity. The truth is that we are still trying to break away from the uncivil power dynamics that were such an integral part of Western imperialism and colonialism. It’s almost as though we are stuck in this mentality that somehow a person has more value, more beauty, more intelligence, more everything, if they are of a certain ethnicity or nationality.

This sense of racial or cultural superiority is ingrained in Western attitudes both past and present. The growing diversity and social awareness amongst different groups in the West means we are finally moving towards total equality – however, it’s an ongoing process. We are most certainly not a post-race society; in fact, I think we’re merely taking our first steps towards becoming one. We still have a long way to go, hence the gradual inclusion of women of colour and women in hijab when it comes to the public eye.

What are the challenges of creating art for Muslim women of colour?

Muslim women of colour span so many cultural identities – it can be difficult to represent all these cultures in a way that does them justice, without making them feel excluded from the Muslim identity. I’m still struggling to find a balance. The greatest challenge, however, comes from the type of attention that my art attracts sometimes. The visual ‘Otherness’ of Muslim women of colour can bring racists, xenophobes and sexists to the surface of Instagram where I share all of my work, along with all of their unwarranted opinions. All I can do is be patient and continue with my small contribution to the betterment of Muslim lives in the West.

Who are your main art inspirations?

In terms of content, I really look up to a fellow comic artists on Instagram, including @yesimhotinthis, @thepakistanimarthastewart, and @aqsasqa. They all share many of my sentiments towards social issues in terms of my own religion and culture. I adore their work and the messages they spread, and I try to emulate a similar message in my own way.

In terms of stylistic inspiration, I suppose I draw on the memory of some of my favourite cartoons, such as Oney Cartoons on YouTube, Adventure Time, Rick and Morty, and many more. I hope to immerse myself more into the art community so that I might be inspired to develop a more distinctive and less generic style.

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Was it difficult to start this drawing muslim women?

It wasn’t difficult to start, because my personal motivations behind what I do made me eager to start drawing and sharing. As far as I knew, there weren’t many artistic representations of Muslim women on social media, which only pushed me to start drawing as soon as I could.

What factors do you have to consider when starting an art project?

For more serious posts, objectivity is a huge factor. I need to state things as they are without investing too much emotion into what I’m communicating to my audience. This is because a lot of the reminders or thoughts that I share are inspired by political and social issues, both of which can be sensitive matters for any person. My purpose with posts like these is to educate and to bring awareness, and I feel that offending my audience intentionally is not the way to do this. There needs to be sound logic and reasoning in my work, or else I feel it loses its validity.

For all my posts in general, I try to consider the relevance of it to Muslim topics or issues. My work is about Muslim representation, after all. It’s important for me to produce something that either resonates with Muslims themselves, or something that non-Muslims can recognise that will build a greater insight towards Muslims.

What do you have to say to those who say that it’s difficult for Muslim women of colour to do things because of perceived “oppression?”

I would ask which oppressor they are referring to. “Islamic” or anti-Islamic? I often find the latter ironic: non-Muslims will attempt to tear Islam down by saying it mistreats women, but at the same time their own people and their own governments will socially and systemically oppress people for being Muslim, or for being people of colour, or for being women, or for being economically disadvantaged, and the list goes on.

I don’t mean to contest the fact that some Muslim women face oppression, in the same way that other women face oppression all over the world regardless of their faith. However, to state that Muslim women are oppressed by their own faith more than any other person of faith is a misinformed opinion that contributes nothing to the real issues at hand.

Any advice for Muslim women starting up brands?

To all my sisters wanting to start their own business or brand: I’d urge you to hold onto your identity no matter what. Never compromise your identity for the sake of pleasing your audience/customers. That being said, you should also never allow someone to use your identity against you to stop you from doing great things. Being a Muslim woman is a strength, not a weakness, and anyone who tells you otherwise is sorely mistaken.

The most important thing is to remember why you chose this life of Islam, and hold onto it in spite of the adversity you may face. Success comes from Allah: remember Him in all that you do, so that you may have barakah in your work.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell the younger me to have more faith in myself, and more confidence in my abilities. Being afraid to speak out because of the fear of rejection or hatred doesn’t get you anywhere. You need to speak out despite all the opposition you’ll face, and share yourself with the world so that it might know and accept you, because hiding away won’t make the world a better place.

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Anything huge on the horizon that we can expect from you? Any exciting new pieces?

I’m extremely honoured to be working with other young Muslims on a number of projects; I hope to share some of these over the next few weeks on my Instagram page, so keep an eye out for those.

In other news, I’ll be sharing something very exciting with my followers on Instagram soon – I’ll have to keep you in suspense until then!

KEEP UP WITH HER

December Edit

It’s difficult to put into words (I wrote nearly a thousand trying to explain, but it ended up a garbled mess of old memories and confusing metaphors), but this last week has been… weird. Like my head is thick with fog. Every word, sentence, phrase, feels like it’s extracted from my skin. It’s almost excruciating, layering letters on paper.

Maybe it’s the moon, or maybe I haven’t been eating enough spinach or something, but yeah, it’s been weird. Dazed-weird. Been listening to Allie Michelle’s voice and she makes things make sense, and the passion fruit is so sweet right now, and 10 000 emerald pools sounds like honey, and so many people are making beautiful arts publications, and things will make sense eventually !!

We changed our logo. And our website. And our instagram bio, I think. We’re going through some phases but it’s all part of being free, you know? More on that later. Here’s my December favourites. – Abby

 

watching
Glee – Season 4 on DVD for Christmas means you know I’m not moving from the couch for a solid week.

Love Actually – We don’t have a lot of Christmas traditions – or any traditions, really – but this movie, every December, is one to cherish.

Robert Fiorella – Surf vids, and the occasional original song (all of which are pretty awesome).

Jusuf – There’s something so clean and fresh and grounding about her videos (so here’s a few of my favourites to refresh and motivate you. Re-watch whenever necessary!!)

Rare Visuals – (peep our interview with Liv!).

Never Grow Up, Claire Michelle – Long, long-awaited was this short film from Claire – but oh, so worth the wait.

Em – I think it’s best to leave this blank xo

reading


A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
– I think this book requires more focus than I have been able to give it, but I’m working my way through these pages steadily, and soaking in – finally – a complete overview and explanation of the ego and the self, and how to understand both fully.

Just Kids, Patti Smith – I know I’ve mentioned this one a few times before, but I just settled in for a re-read, and I cannot recommend enough. Patti takes pieces of her and Robert Mapplethorpe’s life in New York City, circa late 60s, early 70s, and weaves it into a story thick with drugs, rock, homosexuality, art and love.

Semi-ok Collective Zine – Basically, a heap of art, beautifully formatted. Even the editor’s letter is practically poetry.

 

Childs Play – An online publication by Emma Childs. Issue 4 is all about intimacy – physical, intellectual and emotional – and it’s filled with the most beautiful, heart-aching pieces.

 

Ink Skinned – One of my favourite tumblr writers to exist. Decapitalisation, a lack of punctuation and overuse of ‘like’ create flash pieces so real and raw it punches you in the stomach, repeatedly.

13 Artists Give Advice to their Younger Selves – I really liked this.

WaitButWhy.com One of my favourite discoveries of this month. I spent a whole day of classes reading through Part One and Two of his essays on the Artificial Intelligence Revolution, to the utter bemusement of my friends. Other favourites (after a further all-nighter spent trawling through his content) include 100 blocks a day and Taming the Mammoth in Your Head.

Them – a wickedly witty and beautifully honest website, for the queer teen. This sort of publication – with famous and influential contributors from all over the world – is indescribably important in supporting questioning or queer youth, and an enjoyable and educational read – I think – for everyone.

 

wearing

In truth, for most of this month, I was in school uniform, and when I wasn’t, a pair of bathers and a flimsy top sufficed. Here’s a brief summary:

–  Bare feet cracked at the heels
–  Throwing sweatshirts over thin orange dresses to run to the supermarket
–  Tan lines from the twine wrapped around my ankle, tattered
ribbons hanging from my wrist.
–  A black jacket from the boy I met the day before, wrapped around my
shoulders at dinner the next night
–  Vintage Adidas shirt that hangs near my knees
–  Low-cut tops the colour of leaves pressed from autumn
–  Checkered black and white one-piece bathers
–  Pants that flow like skirts
–  Denim shorts from markets that hang off my hips and fray badly.
–  Black slips sourced from dollar bins with straps that are falling apart

 

following

@sadgirlsclub – Aside from being a fantastic community and source of empathy and support, Elysee and Em conduct the most insightful and amazing livestreams, discussing specific mental health issues they’ve experienced.

@purenowhere – Music and art by the beautiful Kyla. For a constant stream of good photography & good bands, they have you covered.

@princessnokia – Um, I still believe that time she threw hot soup on a racist old guy was the best moment of 2017.

@unityskateboarding – Queer skating. It’s as awesome as it sounds.

@sydneytosantacruz – A blog publishing multiple rolls of really good film every week.

@tavitulle Dissecting long-winded articles on the influence of teenage girls in adult culture, posting screenshots of quotes (that are, like, actually interesting) from her phone notes, and sharing her favourite books and vintage jewellery. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the Rookie founder – amazing.

@plantifulsoul  Claire pours her soul into instagram captions and instagram stories, and having followed her journey over the past year – her transition from LA to Hawaii, and the beginning and realisation of so many of her dreams and manifestations – I cannot truly explain how much of a guiding light she becomes in your life.

 

listening

Your Own Magic – Podcast by Allie Michelle & Raquelle Mantra. I have no words. Listen to the first episode (find them on iTunes Podcasts) and you will understand. 54 minutes that changed my mindset completely. I’ve never resonated with a podcast so deeply … usually, the words fade from my memory within minutes. But Allie and Raquelle’s voices and stories linger in your mind and feed your soul.

Sea Foaming Mixtapes – we started making mixtapes. Moods in 20 songs or less. You can read a bit more about them here, or just listen to them here.

But other than that, this month we’ve been listening to…

10 000 Emerald Pools – BORNS

Drive – Gretta Ray

Fields of Gold – Eva Cassidy

Marinade – DOPE LEMON

Notion – Tash Sultana

Breezeblocks – Alt-J

Paint – The Paper Kites

Heal – Tom Odell

Brother – Jack the Fox

Cigarette Daydreams – Cage the Elephant

Way Back When – Kodaline

The Breach – Dustin Tebbutt

The Dream Song – Nathan Reich

Wade in the Water – Eva Cassidy

Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

And a bonus – oceans like thesea 50-song playlist by me, all about those hazy summer evenings, guitars and soft tones, thick with cicadas and salt and tea-tree oil.

 

loving

Speaking – I’ve always insisted I found it easier to organise my thoughts on paper. And I do, generally – in to-do lists, in journalled notes, and when exploring specific topics. A youtube video never works for me – I have to write an article. But the connection between voice and soul is something I am only just figuring out. Try recording more voice memos. Take ten minutes (I promise, you’ll go overtime) every day to record yourself just talking, about whatever you need to talk about at that moment in time. It’s insane what you can figure out.

Passion fruit – Hard grey shells litter my desk most days. Obsessed.

Tiger Balm – We bought a tiny gold jar in Thailand, when I was suffering from aching shoulders and sharp headaches nearly every day. This red ointment is a lifesaver. I still keep it with me constantly, though I rarely use it. Makes me feel much more organised and put-together, you know? Like the people that always have a band-aid at the ready. Sore muscle, anyone?

Tea-tree Oil – I am obsessed. I always have a bottle near me – in my bag, by my desk, on the windowsill… rubbed into my wrists, or smelled deeply when I need to focus.

Paige Maccready & Ashley Rosales – Just a couple of my favourite photographers killing it with their new websites.

Imaginary Friends FB group – a Facebook group founded by Alex Jago, all about the soul. Higher consciousness, creativity, self love, vulnerability, stepping into your power, creation, destruction, expansion, spirit, ego, sustainability, connection… all just a few of the themes she explores in raw videos and overflowing posts. With over 200 members, and personal questions posted and answered each day, it’s like a mini spiritual support group in your pocket.

Oil Burner – My sister bought me a beautiful little white lacquer one, and several blocks of christmas-inspired oils to melt down. Late at night, the sweet scent and flickering light is so calming. I have, of course, already spilt half the hot oil down my desk, but that’s neither here nor there.

 

Forget New Year, New Me. 2018’s not about remaking yourself. The loves and losses and fuckups and mistakes and triumphs and achievements and pain that have made you who and what you are today – they matter.

The New Year has only ever been about growth. Read more. Listen more. Speak more. Watch more. Learn more. See more. Feel more.

If ever there was a time to re-make yourself, it’s, like, February 6.

xo

 

20 songs or less

We started making mixtapes. Moods in 20 songs or less. Just good music & good art.

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I called a friend a few nights ago. It was 2am, and we were talking about the stars (he couldn’t see them, I could), and then music, and then not much at all. He put a Pink Floyd record on, we were silent, the minutes stretching out, and I could hear the crackling first notes of Wish You Were Here through my broken phone speakers (got sand in them a few weeks back).

Are you there? he finally asked. Yeah, I said. I’m just listening. And we didn’t talk for a while.

He can talk for hours about 60s albums and Melbourne buskers he’s fallen in love with, but he hates new music. Hear this? he asks, referencing some chord or riff or phrase I’ve missed. This is what good music is. It makes you feel something.

So, yeah, Sea Foaming’s started making mixtapes. A mood in 20 songs or less. I guess what I’m trying to say is, plug your headphones in, click one that catches your eye and press play. And whether you’re going for a walk or making art or finishing that essay or lying on the floor watching a fan spin overhead- whatever the fuck you like to do with your music, I hope you feel something.   -Abby

 

(follow us on spotify – @seafoaming)

Sri Lanka in Pink

by Amy Kennett

Sri Lanka is filled with warmth, from the tropical air to the freshly baked rotis. The warmth seeped into the rolls of film I brought back, the shots all drenched in pink daydream hues and golden light, perfectly capturing our two weeks on this teardrop shaped island. Shooting on a busted old Ricoh matched the feel of the place; everything old but working, simple but beautiful.

Our trip was spent mostly in the south and central regions, but we crossed landscapes that changed drastically before us. Cities bustling with that South East Asian energy, littered with colonial remnants and architectural influence; long, stretches of idyllic coastline dotted by smaller fishing towns; expansive mountain ranges of the hill country. Although each area is unique, the locals are all filled with the same genuine hospitality and warmth, so much so that even the tuk-tuk drivers are smiling.

One such tuk-tuk driver befriended us on our first afternoon in Galle, charming us with his lopsided smile and quirky English. He surprised us with his generosity and deep love for his home, showing us around on his own time. We caught a glimpse of the city through the eyes of a local; stopping at backstreet markets and small temples, ending up at his private sunset spot – a quiet rocky outcrop overlooking the harbour. Here, he shared his life with us, his voice floating out over the water as we watched the fishing boats pull in and the sky fade into dusky tones. Before taking us home we shared a meal at his friend’s bustling restaurant, and although we were clearly the only foreigners, we were loudly welcomed as old friends.

We found this openness and love for country everywhere through the rest of our trip: with local children as they patiently taught us scatterings of Sinhala, with the elderly ladies who offered us in for tea as they gossiped on their front porch, with the temple boys who let us hand-craft decorations for the arrival of the Prime Minister, and with the mothers we cooked meals alongside and fathers who opened their homes.

These are some of our moments.

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Full Throttle, Baby

Who is Olivia Williams?

I’m 17 years of age. I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and moved up to the Sunshine Coast (Australia) when I was really young. I’ve just finished Year 12 – it was a mental 5 years of education, but I graduated, so – shit yeah I did it. I like Michael Jackson. I hate pickles on McDonald’s cheeseburgers. I’m kind of semi-vegan, and my dream job would be a Zoo Keeper, as I love wildlife and conservation. We need to keep our earth in good shape so pick up your rubbish!!

Toothbrush colour?                                          Blue.

Word you overuse too much?                     Ahhh it would have to be “God Bless” or “egg”.

#1 thing always in your backpack?            My RARE VISUALS stickers.

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When, and how, did you get into water-based videography?

I’m pretty sure I got my first GoPro in 2013. I was shooting anyone and everything at the beach, and I started saving up for a Nikon D5100. One day, I was up at Noosa for the Noosa Festival of Surfing 2013, and I was shooting at Little Cove. There were heaps of people out, it was low tide, and I was perched on a rock waiting to get this shot of Jake Bowrey… which ended up getting published in Smorgasboarder. I was stoked!

I was watching a lot of Kai Neville, Taylor Steele and Toby Cregan, and that’s how I got more into filmmaking, but I still enjoy photography.

The MS crew, featured in most of your videos – how did you meet them?

I started up my business, RARE VISUALS, to make something out of my work. I started meeting heaps of people through who I was filming and shooting with, and I got to know some of the locals, such as Mitch Surman (owner of Mitch Surman Surfboards and Glass Coffee House and Surf Gallery). He’s taught me so much about the surf business, and he helped me connect with the whole MS crew, including Michael Lay, Jordan Spee, Hudson Ritchie and Sam Crookshanks. They’re like big brothers to me, always driving me to shoots and pulling my head into line. I bloody love them all to bits.

What’s it like shooting out in the ocean?

Way better than shooting on land. I’ve always enjoyed being in the environment with the surfers… being able to connect with them is sick, and I’m meeting new people everywhere I shoot.

How long are you usually out there for?

Depends on who’s out, but usually around 3 hours. I went on a surf trip this year to Christchurch and SHIT it was cold, I was trying to press the buttons on my waterproof housing with fingers I could barely move.

In ‘Full Throttle’, you tell a story over a long period of time spent filming. How do you piece that story together when editing?

Full Throttle – yeah, that was good fun. With a few of my films there’s no meaning, no story… but sometimes that’s how I like it to be. When editing, I like to sit down, listen to some Michael Jackson, eat some sushi, and start with the song. Everything just sort of follows.

When I’m trying to edit a movie that goes for 10+ minutes, my computer will always crash. I lose a lot of work sometimes, which sucks, but I’m thankful I have a computer in the first place. My school just took away my access to Premiere Pro (since I’ve graduated), so that’s put me on hold for a while. I have to figure out a way to get more editing software. I don’t have $50,000 dollar equipment, you know – I use what I have.

Everything I know about editing, I’ve learnt off Youtube. When I first started, I was using the GoPro editing software on my dads PC. I just think my work is never finished, and I always want to keep progressing with everything I do.

Unglued Vacation was the Official Selection at the Noosa Surf Film Festival – what’s the story there?

Well, firstly, my mom questioned whether “Unglued” was even a word, and I honestly have no idea, but it suited the movie. A bunch of us traveled to Christchurch, and we had a few days to free surf and meet up with legends like Cam Haylock, Minnie Robberds and Ambrose Mcneil. I was always planning to make a movie from the footage I took, but I ended up having too much of a blast over there, and shot only a bit of footage.

Luckily, Kieran Harris from OuterPathFilms called me up and sent through some footage he wasn’t using, The editing was on and off over a long period of time … I didn’t really know what outcome I was going for, but I guess it worked!

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Crazies thing that’s ever happened to you while you were out shooting? 

Ahhhh, I’ve lost my fins and had my water-housing knock me in the head. But it would have to be this year at the Noosa Festival of Surfing. Heaps of us were out at Tea Tree, and I’d been shooting for three hours when my camera just stopped working. So I thought I’d go ask some random on the rocks if I could use their towel to clean my water housing before I got my camera out, instead of walking all the way back up the beach to get my towel.

I took off my fins and was holding them in one hand with my housing in the other. Walking across these slippery rocks with waves coming in was pretty sketchy, and I was nearly to the shore when I stood on what I thought was a rock, but was actually a meter long stingray. It darted off, and I sprinted back to shore. I’m kind of terrified of stingrays.

What draws you to documenting the surf scene? 

Probably all the legends I’ve connected with over the years. The Noosa surf scene itself is crowded and over-populated. But it’s one of the best logging waves in Australia, and I’m happy to live just 40 minutes away. Compared to what everyone else is expected to do at the age of 17, I’ve realised you have to do what you want, and not give a shit what anyone else thinks. It’s boring if you’re doing what everyone else is.

Females in the surf scene. Thoughts?

I feel that hardly any other females do what I want to do. Sometimes I get chucked around, but I always feel that I fit right in and have an epic crew.

I shoot males way more than females, but now I’ve finished school I have the opportunities to travel to the Gold Coast and down to Byron to shoot some of my lady sliders. The women-surfing movement is growing, and I’m all for seeing what 2018 will bring for it, and so keen to be shooting women more! I think it’s epic that the girls are final getting recognition for what they’re doing.

YOU CAN KEEP UP WITH LIV ON YOUTUBE AND INSTAGRAM.

Like It’s 1972

By Kyla Rain

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I feel like, looking around, we’re all so concerned with making things bigger and better. The next device to distract us from real life, the next trip that’s more luxurious than the next, planning every second of the night to a T, in the hopes that it will be perfect. The things I remember, my “big” memorable moments, however, aren’t very big at all.

This year on Earth Day, my friend and I made an unexpected stop at a pot-luck down in Ocean Beach, purely based on the promise of free food her mom had made earlier that day. What we didn’t anticipate: spending the next three hours in the same chair, talking to the same two people, full of meaning with a full belly. Behind us, a circle of hippies covering the classics from the Grateful Dead, and in front of us, the most interesting pair of individuals I had ever had the privilege to meet.

Their faces are something I might see in a dream one night, but immediately forget once my eyes open the next morning; faded around the edges, but tugging at a heart-string all the same.

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It was like we had stepped back in time, abruptly pushed back into 1972 with the full force of nostalgia. If I tried hard enough, I could imagine exactly how each person must have looked like back in their hay-days of long braided hair and bare feet, when Bowie ruled the world. I wish I could have asked them all to tell me their life story, write it down in a book so maybe I could feel the echo of a lost era, if only for a moment. Maybe one day I will.

I wanted so desperately to grab my Cannon AE-1, snapping every detail onto little rectangles of film, in the hopes that the feeling would be caught too. This sort of wistful longing that wraps itself around your mind, leaving it cloudy and spaced after the moment has passed.

But I didn’t.

My camera stayed where I first had set it in the beginning of the night, patiently waiting, perched on the table next to me. I was scared that if I broke from this spell, even for just a second, this wonderful thing I had so unexpectedly found would wear off, and I’d be left exactly where I was two hours earlier. I knew eventually this conversation had to end; we would have to say our goodbyes, wash our plates… wake up the next morning wondering if it had all been a dream… but not just yet. 

My point being, there were no fireworks, no huge musical performance, no phones, no cameras, just us. That was probably one of the most memorable moment of my life thus far, and here are some things I remember the most from it:

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ONE.
The way the air felt, smooth and crisp on my skin as the sun went down over the ocean, and how it carried the shrieks of the kids under the table.

TWO.
The thick orange glow of a sunset seeming to blanket everything in sight.

THREE.
The way I was able to say what I actually meant, without contradiction or degradation because of my age; the full-hearted feeling of a real conversation.

FOUR.
The smell of food from inside, a feast of fully vegan options and the best meal I’ve ever had.

FIVE.
Knowing and accepting the strong possibility I would never cross paths with anyone present a second time. That was just the way it was, and I committed every detail to memory because of it.

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These things aren’t something you can find on a phone screen, or in a precisely planned night, they just happen. Naturally and unforced. I hope you all experience something like this in your life, and when you do, hold onto the moment for as long as you can. The photos on your phone will never amount to the emotion that rushes through you in the moment.

 

of Hong Kong

A PHOTO ESSAY AND PLAYLIST

Rachel Tse, an 18 year old photographer from Hong Kong, is capturing her world as it unfolds in a series of dreamy and eyeopening photographs entitled, “Hello To Old Stories.” We asked her to send us some of her favorite works that she’s taken, and try to match each one with a song which she believes encompasses the image.

It’s amazing, what some people can see and others can miss. Her work is about the way fog can coat a landscape, as if enveloping everything within reach, and how a silhouette can bring back the sounds and scents of childhood; that’s what I feel with Rachel’s work. It’s awe-inspiring and captivating and mysterious all wrapped up with a bow.

“I first started photography at thirteen, after I took a solid amount of badly edited ‘fashion photos’ and self portraits in my high school computer class. Apparently I was the only one who took the class seriously, and people in the lower years have told me that my teacher still shows my photography blog as an example every year. (Which is shockingly embarrassing and I can’t even delete the blog because I forgot my login password.) After that, I realized I really enjoyed taking photos and editing, which was how my photography continued.

I’d say my style is dreamy and nostalgic. I was born and raised in Hong Kong, but grew up in an international environment. Because of that, I grew up feeling detached from my hometown, like an outsider looking in, always longing for a place that didn’t really exist. I’m fully aware that the romanticism of moments and Hong Kong’s dreamy spirit run as a backbone of my photos. This photo series is a montage of adventures and stories that fill my heart up in a way I can’t really explain.”

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THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON PURE NOWHERE