happinez

Happi Health photoshoot: vitamin boost...

 Vitamin B6: Coconut & Red Quinoa porridge with nuts, seeds & edible flowers

Vitamin B6: Coconut & Red Quinoa porridge with nuts, seeds & edible flowers

Here are some of photographs I produced for Happinez, for a story on how to boost your vitamin intake with certain foods, in the special edition called Happi Health that was published in The Netherlands a couple of months ago. It’s been years since I worked with food - I used to work regularly as a food stylist for magazines, catalogues and books around the world, sometimes styling the food myself, other times working with wonderful cooks & stylists like my dear friend Yvette van Boven, as well as Michele Cranston and Emma Knowles, and photographers Petrina Tinslay and Jeroen van der Spek were among my favourites.

I had forgotten how much I love working with food until this shoot. As I got creating, I was thinking, why haven’t I done this for so long? To be honest, I think it was because of the over-abundance of cookbooks, food magazines, food shows… it felt to me like there was enough already, and that it feeds that consumer energy, that need to fill up ‘the void’ in us with so. much. Also, there is so much incredible talent out there already, I felt like it was well and truly covered.

But I have a genuine love of eating well, sharing my love of nourishment with my daughter and her friends, and enjoying a beautiful meal with my friends and partner (we are often talking about food, as the French do!) I’m not an entertainer - I am not that friend who always has a fridge full of everything and can whip up something amazing any time of day or night. I’m not always in the kitchen. It’s more that it’s one of the mediums of creative expression for me - like painting is for some.

So having said all that, I do absolutely love shooting delicious food! Focusing on taste, texture, colour and nourishment. It’s why I am so looking forward to co-hosting the kids tasting workshop in a couple of weeks!

This shoot reignited that passion within me. With this story, it was the first time I’d photographed, cooked, and styled at the same time - I’ll just say this, it was bloody challenging to do all roles. A little bit nuts really, in hindsight. But the challenging aspects did not take away the joy! My studio was in full swing- every part of it was in use, the kitchen was abuzz - the oven on, the blender going, chopping boards and utensils in action. The walls were lined with canvas backdrops and wooden tabletops. There was music. There was mess. It was beautiful chaotic order - just the way I love to work.

I thought you might like to see the shots in their entirety, and to share with you some of the recipes I created to be able to get the full benefits of each vitamin I was asked to represent…

 Vitamin K: roasted purple-skinned sweet potato with Japanese natto beans

Vitamin K: roasted purple-skinned sweet potato with Japanese natto beans

 Folic Acid: roasted dark leafy greens & sprouts with sesame oil & micro herbs

Folic Acid: roasted dark leafy greens & sprouts with sesame oil & micro herbs

 Vitamin E: avocodo topped with seeds, wheatgerm oil and edible flowers. Vitamin B12: homemade nori chips

Vitamin E: avocodo topped with seeds, wheatgerm oil and edible flowers. Vitamin B12: homemade nori chips

 Vitamin A: roast carrot, pumpkin & sweet potato soup topped with micro herbs

Vitamin A: roast carrot, pumpkin & sweet potato soup topped with micro herbs

 Vitamin D: delicious sun beams - soak them in! Vitamin C: grapefruit slices.

Vitamin D: delicious sun beams - soak them in! Vitamin C: grapefruit slices.

Here are the recipes for the roasted sweet potato dish and the red quinoa. Everything else is pretty self-explanatory (if not let me know and I’ll happily answer questions in comments)…

Roasted purple-skinned sweet potato with Japanese natto beans…

Cut a purple-skinned sweet potato in half lengthways and roast in the oven with an oil of your choosing (olive, coconut, whatever you like!), with a little salt. Top with warmed baby spinach leaves and natto beans which you can get in asian grocery stores. The texture is a little unusual - its very sticky, but don’t be put off, as with the combination of the sweet potato and the spinach, it’s delicious and so very good for you! Garnish with micro herbs (which are also full of nutrients).

Coconut & Red Quinoa porridge with nuts, seeds & edible flowers…

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rinsed red quinoa

  • 1 cup coconut milk (or milk of choice)

  • 1 cup filtered water

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • maple syrup (depending on your sweetness needs, but for me it was about 2 tablespoons)

  • pistachios, pecans, whatever nuts you have on hand, activated and if desired, slightly roasted or warmed.

  • edible flowers if you have them

  • shredded coconut for garnish

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, bring quinoa, milk, water, salt, and cinnamon to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for around 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed,

  2. Turn off heat and let stand covered 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

  3. Transfer to serving bowls. Top with the nuts, petals and shredded or toasted coconut.

With love,

Pia xx

Sacred Geometry for Happinez Magazine...

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Here is my latest work for Happinez Magazine, featured in their Zomer (Summer) edition, just out now. The assignment was to create 8 photographs of sacred geometry, with a handmade, organic and natural touch. It was actually very challenging, but so much fun. Researching the meaning behind each symbol was interesting, and coming up with unique ways to show these symbols had my mind in a twist. I went with the flow of the twist, and it all eventually unravelled, creating these photographs over about 4 days in the studio...

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The idea was to start with the simple shapes like square, circle and triangle, and then progressing to the more complex symbols like the dodecahedron, octahedron, tetrahedron, icosahedron. Everything from this shoot I made from materials I had already in my home (like the collection of marbles from my childhood) and studio, as well as fallen flowers and branches from the neighbourhood...

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These perspex cubes were part of my old stylist's kit - I'd had them made about ten years ago. I love the play of nature with them here, the soil and roots and sand make the shot. 

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This gorgeous Japanese handmade dodecahedron was given to Laly by my dear friend Kylie on one of her trips to Japan a few years ago. When I have a commissioned shoot like this, I walk through my house looking for inspiration, and when I saw this on Laly's shelf I knew it had to be in this shoot, and it made me smile to know that it was given by Kylie, so special. The bougainvillea grows in abundance at the entrance of my studio building, and combined with this fabric from Major & Tom, this became my favourite photograph of the collection. 

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And then came the biggest challenge of all: the mother of all symbols, the icosahedron. This was the only symbol I didn't have a plan for, and left it completely up to my intuition to figure it out. Which was apt - the icosahedron symbolises water, which is as we know all about movement, flow and change. It's also connected to emotions, and can be used to enhance the creative process. The process for creating this was beautiful - I played with different materials, and then before I knew it I was being guided to paint some bamboo skewer sticks with streaks of white, then I cut them into sets of equal lengths and laid them ever so carefully onto this stunning backdrop - a lightly waxed indigo dyed piece of fabric given to me as a gift from one of my mentor clients, Bernadette. I love that these beautiful handmade gifts that I've lovingly received over the years have become a part of my work, it shows the power of the collective and how we can enrich each other's creativity (remember this little velvet box?).  Through this process, I didn't know what the outcome was going to be - I didn't see the end result and then work toward it, instead I allow each step to happen with absolutely no knowledge of what is about to transpire. I understand some people become frozen with fear if they don't have a concrete plan for everything, but I get excited. To me it shows there is so much room for possibility, and my intuition is free to play. I placed eucalyptus buds at each point. The second shot here I just love - I messed up the pieces to show the transience, which for me is just as beautiful - to create beauty, and then let it go. 

I made some video footage of the behind the scenes which I'll put together and share on my Patreon page for those who are interested in the behind the scenes. 

xx

 

 

Issue Two: Happi.Kidz photo feature...

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In January this year I was commissioned to create another feature story for the next issue of  Happinez magazine's Happi Kidz. The brief was to create eight images that express how animals can give strength to a child's life, not just in literal terms, but spiritually. What I love most about shooting for Happinez is the creativity involved in coming up with unique ways to represent ideas  - rather than selling products or a look, it's all about ideas. As is our way of working together, I came up with a few ideas based on image editor Albertine van den Brink's brief, drew up a storyboard, ran it by Albertine via email and then got to work bringing the ideas to life. The magazine was published last month, and it's a delight to know that once again, my hero shot of gorgeous first time model Otis, was chosen for the cover.

There was much to make for this shoot, creating four completely different sets. But I had another wonderful assistant, this time it was my dear friend Kaspia's beautiful sister, Lisa! Who is also the mother of Otis. Both her boys came to the shoot at my house, and they were such a delight - between these awesome young boys and Freya from my last shoot, my reluctance to shoot kids has been lifted...

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If you'd like to see all the photographs from the shoot, and learn more about the creative processing, I have composed two patron-only posts on Patreon:

1. giving patrons the opportunity to ask any questions  - nothing is off limits - to be able to dive deep into the creative process involved in each shot creation, along with a video compilation of some of the behind the scenes of each photograph. 

2. the idea of animal totems & spirits, and how their power can enrich your everyday life - relevant for both children and adults - how to ignite confidence, courage, love, and more. 

The magazine is out now in The Netherlands. Thank you to Lisa, Otis, and Marcel for your wonderful assistance and for helping to make the day so pleasurable. If you'd like to see my past work with Happinez, please click here and here.

Credits:

Producer,  Prop Designer, Photographer & Stylist: Pia Jane Bijkerk
Photographer & Stylist's Assistant: Lisa Taylor
Backdrops from Major & Tom
Model: Otis Taylor

Happi.Kidz photo feature...

 ...clear quartz crystal mobile made by me; beautiful chunks of tangerine quartz sourced from  Mineralism  in Glebe.

...clear quartz crystal mobile made by me; beautiful chunks of tangerine quartz sourced from Mineralism in Glebe.

In June this year I was commissioned to create another story for Happinez magazine, this time for their children's edition called Happi Kidz. The brief was to create eight images to show the benefits of various crystals for children. I came up with a few ideas, drew up a storyboard, ran it by Albertine via email - the image editor for the magazine - and then got to work bringing my ideas to life. The magazine was published last month, and it's a delight to know that my hero shot of gorgeous first time model Freya, was chosen for the cover...

 ...garnet necklace made by me, using  Tinctifolia  hand-dyed silk ribbon.

...garnet necklace made by me, using Tinctifolia hand-dyed silk ribbon.

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My dear friend Kaspia assisted me on the day, offering not only her talents as a stylist but also props from her incredible collection, including clothes & textiles from far away lands. Freya, who is half Norwegian and half Australia was my gorgeous model for the day - it was her first time modelling and she was amazing. Freya is Kaspia's niece, and along with her lovely mum Ragna, and Kaspia's eldest daughter Paloma, we had a great day on set in my home...

 ...aquamarine talking stick made by me; pouch for the jade fish made by Zoë from  Tinctifolia .

...aquamarine talking stick made by me; pouch for the jade fish made by Zoë from Tinctifolia.

 ...stunning lapis lazuli sourced from  Mineralism , Glebe.

...stunning lapis lazuli sourced from Mineralism, Glebe.

Here are a couple of the behind the scene shots for you as I know many of you love to see how I work...

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The dining table was removed to make room for the set, the light in this part of the house is beautiful. 

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The magazine is out now in Holland. I'll post some more behind the scenes shots on instagram in coming days. Thank you to Kaspia, Ragna, Freya and Paloma for your wonderful assistance and for helping to make the day so pleasurable. If you'd like to see my past work with Happinez, please click here

xx

Credits:

Producer, Photographer & Stylist: Pia Jane Bijkerk
Photographer & Stylist's Assistant: Kaspia
Props from Major & Tom, Mineralism, Kaspia's Caravan, Tinctifolia
Model: Freya Gilmour


 

photo story for Christmas edition of Happinez 2016...

 1. "let me take you for a walk through my favourite neighbourhood": hand drawn map of Amsterdam (which I made a few years ago for my   Amsterdam: Made By Hand   tour, antique French book from our bookshelf, gold fabric from  Major & Tom . 2. "a wander on the beach": Bottle from  Major & Tom , as well as gold scalloped dish, made by beautiful  Bridget Bodenham .  ..............................................

1. "let me take you for a walk through my favourite neighbourhood": hand drawn map of Amsterdam (which I made a few years ago for my Amsterdam: Made By Hand tour, antique French book from our bookshelf, gold fabric from Major & Tom. 2. "a wander on the beach": Bottle from Major & Tom, as well as gold scalloped dish, made by beautiful Bridget Bodenham.

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 3. "I'll be your  Marie Kondo  for the day": everything found around my home - fallen bark from a nearby tree, found feathers, and beautiful velvet lined box gifted to me by an  Alchemy of Assemblage  workshop attendee. 4. "I'll knit you something warm this winter": wool bought in British Columbia many years ago, tiny knitting needles found in a vintage shop on King St, Newtown, blue silk fabric given to me by my friend  Kaspia .  ..............................................

3. "I'll be your Marie Kondo for the day": everything found around my home - fallen bark from a nearby tree, found feathers, and beautiful velvet lined box gifted to me by an Alchemy of Assemblage workshop attendee. 4. "I'll knit you something warm this winter": wool bought in British Columbia many years ago, tiny knitting needles found in a vintage shop on King St, Newtown, blue silk fabric given to me by my friend Kaspia.

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In September last year, I produced, styled and photographed an 8-page feature for Dutch magazine Happinez, for their Christmas edition, 2016, issue 8. It was titled "What money can't buy", featuring non-traditional gift ideas for the festive season. The brief was to come up with some gift ideas that celebrate sharing time together and offering a skill, rather than going out and buying something. As you can imagine, I was pretty rapt with this assignment: challenge accepted!

Would you like to know a little about how I made these assemblages?

 5. "I'll plant you a rose garden": back boards from Major & Tom, hand dyed silk ribbon from  Tinctifolia , and tiny French pots from  Elements I Love   .  6. "I'll make you some healing soup": sari from Malaysia (details below), hemp string from  String Harvest .  ..............................................

5. "I'll plant you a rose garden": back boards from Major & Tom, hand dyed silk ribbon from Tinctifolia, and tiny French pots from Elements I Love . 6. "I'll make you some healing soup": sari from Malaysia (details below), hemp string from String Harvest.

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Together with the Creative Editor, I came up with some ideas and then had to figure out how to visually capture them. For example, one idea was to gift a walk on a favourite beach together. When I thought about that idea, I began to visualise a beach in a bottle, so I created just that, using a small bottle, some sand, tiny shells and a little sparkle (shown in the top right image). The layering of the objects around the bottle created depth and warmth, and I used gold threaded fabric and ceramics for texture and a touch of festivity. That was the first photograph I made from the story, as in my mind it was the strongest, but it also took the longest to create (3 hours). 

Another gift idea was to make some delicious festive soup, but instead of creating an image of a bowl or pot of soup, I decided to bundle the ingredients together, giving a textural feast for the eyes (image 6). I deconstructed a variety of fresh mushrooms from the supermarket, choosing the most interesting ones and creating a bundle with fresh herbs and watercress, wrapped with string and bells. The sari used as the backdrop for the ingredients I had bought in Malaysia many years ago when I was a bridesmaid for a modern Malay wedding. 

 7. "Private concert": Gold textile from Major & Tom, Indian festive circles from  India in Balmain,  music sheet from my personal collection. 8. A beautiful mess.  ..............................................

7. "Private concert": Gold textile from Major & Tom, Indian festive circles from India in Balmain, music sheet from my personal collection. 8. A beautiful mess.

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Below each image is more information about each photograph, with links to wonderful prop suppliers and makers here in Sydney. And if you'd like to see a behind the scenes mini film of me in the process of making one of the photographs, you can see it right here

 9. "I'll come to clean up your decorations": box of decorations from my personal collection, with collected seed pods dipped in glitter, vintage baubles, and an assortment of ceramic stars by  Paper Boat Press . 10. vintage sari as above.

9. "I'll come to clean up your decorations": box of decorations from my personal collection, with collected seed pods dipped in glitter, vintage baubles, and an assortment of ceramic stars by Paper Boat Press. 10. vintage sari as above.

Would you like to learn how I create assemblages like these? This year I am scheduling a few exclusive and very intimate weekend workshops to share my techniques with you, connecting to our intuition. In the next couple of weeks I'll be announcing the dates, first through my newsletter to allow subscribers to get first choice with early bird specials, then publicly. There will only be 6 places available per workshop, so if you'd like to be first in line to book your preferred date, please ensure you have subscribed

And if you have any questions, please comment below! xx