still life

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

Sacred Geometry for Happinez Magazine...

happinez_summer_2018.jpg

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...

PiaJaneBijkerk_happinez_summer2018_square_IMG_0006.jpg

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...

PiaJaneBijkerk_happinez_summer2018_circle_IMG_6216.jpg
PiaJaneBijkerk_happinez_summer2018_cube_IMG_0044.jpg

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. 

PiaJaneBijkerk_happinez_summer2018_dodecaeder_IMG_0030.jpg

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. 

PiaJaneBijkerk_happinez_summer2018_icosaeder.jpg

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