happinez

New Work: Mud Play for Happi Kids

Laly in her mud pit making a Mud Café…

Laly in her mud pit making a Mud Café…

PIAJANEBIJKERK_HAPPIKIDS_MUD_2019.jpg
A diary of a worm, something we had a lot of fun working on together and included playing with real worms found in the garden.

A diary of a worm, something we had a lot of fun working on together and included playing with real worms found in the garden.

In April this year I got one of the most wonderful photographic story commissions for a magazine I’ve ever had… when I read the phrases in the email “make things with mud”, “kids getting dirty”, “do you love the subject?” I barely held back my excitement and I was quick to reply YES! It ticked all the boxes for me and I couldn’t wait to schedule it in & get thinking on what I could create for this story for the summer issue of Happi Kids.

Do you remember when Laly was around 2 years old, I made her - by hand, spending no money (yes I’m proud!) - a sandpit in our back garden? Here is the post to jog your memory. Well, she’s now a regular beach goer, no longer afraid of the vastness of the ocean and loves ‘surfing’ on her body board. She’d outgrown her mini backyard beach so, inspired by the story for this shoot and in need of the perfect location, I turned the sand pit into a mud pit! I dug out the sand, and collected some buckets of dirt from the back area where our first chickens used to roam (we now have chickens again, but that’s another post for another time! We may live in the city, but that hasn’t stopped us from creating a mini farm it seems). I cleared the area around the pit and planted a few hardy flowers and pretty palms. I needed to create a space big enough for a couple of kids to play in, as well as a painting area. It was a lot of fun to build this set, gathering vintage kitchenware for the mud cafe, and mixing mud with beetroot, spinach and turmeric to create mud paint. I spent a glorious hour or two by myself making the tiny mud house (inner child meets grown up job - the best)…

PiaJaneBijkerk_HappiKids_summer2019_mud_house_laly_IMG_7430.jpg
PIAJANEBIJKERK_HAPPIKIDS_MUD_2019_1.jpg

I had three wonderful young models for this shoot. With the fabulous production assistance from my friend Celia, she found two boys from Laly’s school, Zephyr and Luka, who came over with their mums Eliza and Narelle, one afternoon and basically hung out in the mud for 3 hours while I snapped shots of them playing. I only needed 3 hero shots from the boys, but there were many more created, they had so much fun and it was pure joy to capture them in action. I don’t think they could quite believe that this was a real job, and all they had to do was play and cover themselves in mud! Shona was my styling and photography assistant for the afternoon, so it was certainly a relaxed and joyful shoot…

Zephyr painting with mud!

Zephyr painting with mud!

Luka and Zephyr following my instructions to get dirty!

Luka and Zephyr following my instructions to get dirty!

The boys making ‘dirty denim’ with some op shop denim clothes I sourced for the shoot.

The boys making ‘dirty denim’ with some op shop denim clothes I sourced for the shoot.

Luka loved making mud ice creams.

Luka loved making mud ice creams.

Zeph covered in mud and pretty happy about it!

Zeph covered in mud and pretty happy about it!

At the end of the shoot, while Zephyr’s mum Eliza was hosing him down, I saw him look up at his mum and say “I will never forget this day!”. My heart exploded.

The next day was Laly’s turn, and she took on her role with not just enthusiasm but surprising skill, as she doubled as my photographic assistant as well, helping me set up certain shots and gathering materials, and restyling the props when needed. This is the first time she’s worked with me or seen me work as I have only ever brought her with me to a shoot once - when she was 6 months old, and it was a disaster, so I never did it again! Until now, at 7 years of age. She was so great, and I think I may have myself an ongoing assistant for as long as she finds joy in it! I’ve noticed she’s a natural behind the camera actually - she took a video of her friend the other day singing, and I couldn’t believe how still she kept the camera and how she followed her friend around, patient and mindful of how she was placed within the frame - there were even natural light flares from the sun, it was like a professional film, I couldn’t believe it! I’ve never taught her so I was pretty blown away - let’s just say she gets that from me, because as we know, it’s not one of Romain’s many talents.

Mud sandwich anyone? A bit of stale bread and some pretend ‘micro herbs’, yum!

Mud sandwich anyone? A bit of stale bread and some pretend ‘micro herbs’, yum!

PiaJaneBijkerk_happikids_summer2019_mud_sandslime_IMG_7490.jpg
Having so much fun making sand slime!

Having so much fun making sand slime!

The article is out now in the Dutch edition, summer issue. And I cannot recommend highly enough to play in mud. I may even turn it into a mud bath for myself, that will be some serious earthing!! Ha.

PiaJaneBijkerk_HappiKids_summer2019_mud_energyballs_IMG_0211.jpg

Here is the mud-inspired-but-completely-edible energy balls recipe for the article, which I made up from ingredients I had…

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup  of almond meal
3/4 cup of pitted dates
2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon of almond butter (or any nut butter - I used peanut butter which was delicious)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
Pinch of salt

METHOD

Place the almond meal in the food processor with the dates and coconut oil and pulse until they are nicely crushed. Add the nut butter and cacao and then mix again in the food processor. Add a pinch of salt if desired. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball. Continue doing this until the mixture is finished. Place the rolled balls into the freezer for an hour, then remove and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Makes 8-12 balls (depending on how big you make them).

A big thank you to everyone who helped me on this shoot: Romain, Laly, Shona, Celia, Eliza, Narelle, Zephyr, and Luka!

With Love,

Pia xx

New Work: Begin your day the Ayurvedic way for Happinez...

Step One: an early walk in nature

Step One: an early walk in nature

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.

Step Two: Nasal Rinse

Step Two: Nasal Rinse

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!

Step Three: Dry brushing

Step Three: Dry brushing

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.

Step Four: Self massage

Step Four: Self massage

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…

PJB_studio_IMG_6291.jpg

…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.

Step Five: Belly breathing

Step Five: Belly breathing

Sam is wearing a kimono from Fabrik Store (gifted to me some years ago by Gaby!), and the nail colour is wanderlust from Sienna Byron Bay, the ring is from my jewellery box, a slice of lapis.

Step 6: Green Smoothie

Step 6: Green Smoothie

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!

For more information, check out Happinez, Nummer 3 2019 along with Holy Happy Belly by Bianca Fabrie.

With love,

Pia xx

Photography & Styling: Pia Jane Bijkerk
Magazine: Happinez, Nummer 3 2019

New Work: The Confetti Effect for Happinez...

The confetti is actually over 50 years old - it was in a box in my grandmother’s home many years ago and I’ve kept them all this while. They are made from tiny shapes of paper and I just love them. For the diary shot above, I combined them with petals and pods found outside my studio entrance. The beautiful ribbon is from  Tinctifolia . Little glimpses of joy are never far away.

The confetti is actually over 50 years old - it was in a box in my grandmother’s home many years ago and I’ve kept them all this while. They are made from tiny shapes of paper and I just love them. For the diary shot above, I combined them with petals and pods found outside my studio entrance. The beautiful ribbon is from Tinctifolia. Little glimpses of joy are never far away.

PiaJaneBijkerk_AestheticsOfJoy_birdsnest_confetti.jpg

Here is my latest work for Happinez Magazine, featured in their Intuition edition, out now in The Netherlands. The assignment was to create 6-8 photographs inspired by the book and talks by Ingrid Fetell Lee. Ingrid’s concept with The Aesthetics of Joy is devoted to a simple, powerful idea: that our greatest source of joy is the world around us. The art director wanted me to come up with simple ways to showcase this, through little things in our everyday lives - be it a new page in your diary, light & shadow play, or nature. My assignment was to translate this feeling to a colour range that fitted with their moodboard for the issue. I also needed to give the concept a bit more depth, meaning and spirituality. To say I enjoyed creating this series is an understatement - it was pure joy…

PiaJaneBijkerk_AestheticsOfJoy_flowers_withlight_IMG_0114.jpg

I foraged most of these flowers from the beautiful nature reserve down by the water near my studio.

PiaJaneBijkerk_AestheticsOfJoy_mooncookies_IMG_0060.jpg

Moon cookies! I made these using all natural ingredients with only a little coconut sugar. If you’d like the recipe let me know and I’ll write it up in a seperate post.

PiaJaneBijkerk_AestheticsOfJoy_IMG_0074.jpg

Citrus and pomegranate seeds are bursting with joy! This shot came together beautifully,

PiaJaneBijkerk_AestheticsOfJoy_sparklers_nooverlay_shadowplay_1.jpg

The sparklers were quite smoky and I was worried the studio fire alarm would go off!! It was a tricky shot but I love the effect. And the shadow and light play I created on the studio porch, using the sun as my muse.

xx

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