This was another wonderful story of images for Happinez magazine, which I photographed in February here in Sydney. The brief was to create six photographs featuring each step of how to start the day with Ayurvedic rituals. I hadn’t realised until the magazine came out that the story was a feature for Bianca Fabrie’s new cookbook Holy Happy Belly - Bianca and I had worked together in Amsterdam a few times for various photoshoots when I lived there - along with being an Ayurvedic therapist she is also an incredible makeup artist - so it was such a great surprise to know we had collaborated on this without knowing it, from across the seas!
A couple of weeks before the shoot, I made a call out on social media for a model for two of the shots, but it was an encounter in my local cafe with my friend & fellow photographer Gaby who was dining with her dear friend & photographer Sam, that lead to Sam becoming my model for the shoot the following week. It was such a lovely morning, I took Sam down to a small beach on the bay near my home. The light was incredibly subdued, as it turned out there had been a fire of sorts in the area the night before which left a strange golden glow over the sky. Shooting with Sam was so easy as she is a photographer herself so she understood the process and needed little direction, it was such a treat to hang out together and get to know her through this experience. Thank you Sam!
The full story is in Issue Number 3 for 2019 available in The Netherlands out now. Continue on below to find out more about the creative process and a brief understanding of each ritual.
I really wanted to find a beautiful neti pot for this, and I went on quite the hunt across Sydney, searching Indian and wellness shops. I cannot remember where I found this one now! I think it was in Dr. Earth on King St, in Newtown. As soon as I saw it I knew it was the one - most of the neti pots I’d found were ceramic and ‘clunky’, this one being copper and slim was definitely the pick. Because really, nasal cleansing isn’t appealing, is it? At least this one would inspire us to try it!
These brushes were also from Dr. Earth, and I made the hand cloth from a vintage silk scarf. I have thoroughly enjoyed adding this ritual to my morning routine - I use the large brush for my body and the small one for my face before I hop in the shower each morning. It gets the skin tingling in the best of ways, I can feel my skin waking up to the day.
I wanted to create a rich, warm & nurturing set for these ideas, so I used the deep greens from the moodboard as my main backdrops, varying texture and hue as well as incorporating found foliage to give a tropical feel - a little nod to India. For this shot, I actually used one of my “Where Is My Heart?” photographs from the diptych as a surface, here is the photograph in situ in my studio to jog your memory…
…in a moment of inspiration, I took it off the wall and laid it on the table, and instantly loved the effect of the soft focus flora. I also loved the grain of the paper, being cotton rag, it soaked in the light at the same time as creating a dreamy effect. Instead of a flat surface behind the bottles I created a foliage wall, building it up until it felt lush and layered. Those two little dark bottles of wonderment in the front are gifts from my beautiful friend Midnight Blue, and I cannot wait for her to release them into the world for everyone to enjoy, she is almost ready I am told! I will be one of the first people to share this news with you.
This turned out to be my favourite photograph for the story. Again using '“Where Is My Heart?” as the surface, palm fronds for texture along with fresh berries and sprouts, it came together beautifully. I made the smoothie moments before I took the shot - setting up the glasses in position first. I love the layering of the ingredients in the glasses. The gold metal straw is from one of my favourite cafes in Sydney, Orchard St Cafe.
As I’ve been writing this post I’ve realised, with the exception of the nasal rinse, that I’ve been incorporating these rituals each morning since this shoot. The smoothie is something I’ve been making for some time, an incredibly healing recipe created by Midnight Blue, and I’ve been walking most mornings, along the water, after dropping Laly off at school. The dry brushing is a new addition since the shoot, and I strive to do 20 minutes of meditation each day. Self massage is also something I’ve done for many years. So yes, I would agree that these are a wonderful way to start your day the Ayurvedic way!
Photography & Styling: Pia Jane Bijkerk
Magazine: Happinez, Nummer 3 2019