10th February 2016No Comments

Natalie

This Sunday I met Natalie Kivit. Canadian photographer who just moved across the ocean to London. They say social media is all about hype but if for every 100th person you meet in the web, you get along with one, this is how the Internet friendships start and this is how you can meet minds alike. I’ve met for the first time in person and if it wasn’t Instagram probably our paths would never cross.

We spent entire afternoon talking with passion about photography and sharing perspective. It’s interesting how many observations you can share coming from a completely different background. Also that was a very productive Sunday when it comes to location scouting, you should definitely check out lovely Chelsea Physic Garden in London.

Natalie is a few years younger, after graduating high school, she decided to take a gap year and go for an adventure. This year would be all about photography, meeting people and travelling. She speaks with passion, confidence and determination in her voice but also down to earth practical approach. It’s admirable how much she’s going for it, when so many people her age are waiting around for a permission.

I am sure she will create many interesting things and it’s one photographer worth keeping an eye on. She’s currently publishing on her instagram and facebook. I am really curious to see where her creativity and advantures will take her and while she’s here in London really excited about planning some collaborative shoots.

Good luck, Natalie! Keep going after your dreams and don’t loose your drive 😉

1st February 20161 Comment

Simoni

A couple of months ago when I was just starting the blog (though it feels like I am just a rookie blogger) I decided that one of the things I would like to frequently feature on my blog was collaboration with other bloggers based in London. My first plan of attack was approaching some bloggers from the contact list on the London Bloggers facebook group and though the response was in general quite positive, unfortunately none of this collaborations worked out in the same month of August because all the girls I approached were away at that time.

One of the girls I approached at the time was Simoni, Cypriot blogger currently based in London, author of Fashionable Rose. We have been in touch on and off for the last few months and at the very end of 2015 finally managed to find some time for a photo shoot together.

Simoni studied Textile Design at Middlesex University in London and after graduation she came back to Cyprus and started her own brand of beautiful hand-woven textile designs. Her brand is called Simoni Textile Designs and as you may guess, the bag presented on the photos is of her own design and production.

We met in Kensington Olympia and had a lovely time talking about or dreams and work on our brands. Simoni told me about her dedication to building her own brand for over five years and I am wishing her all the best with further work on spreading her love for weaving, creating unique designs for each customer!

25th January 20161 Comment

Nation of Dreamers #2 – Caz Brett

A month ago I featured Ulrike Schulz the founder of FoundSomePaper and The Social Hunter in my new cycle of posts Nation of Dreamers. Today I would like to introduce you to Caz Brett, a digital product designer at the BBC and a freelance graphic designer. I’m delighted to share with you a story of this brave and talented woman and how she embraced creativity in her career.

I first met Caz a year ago in short course in Graphic Design in Central Saint Martins. Her balanced sense of aesthetics and quirky sense of humor that appeared in her design mock ups charmed me immediately. A few months after we completed the course our paths crossed again when Caz organized a meeting to brainstorm ideas to create a self published magazine. When I was thinking of people to feature in Nation of Dreamers, Caz was one of the first people that came to my mind. I was really curious how she got such a cool job despite coming from a completely different background. A few weeks ago I told her about Nation of Dreamers project and invited her for a coffee to tell me about her story.

We visited a little cozy colorful cafe at Mile End. When I asked ‘Tell me your story. I want to know how you got where you are now’, she began much earlier than I expected.

Caz started her story from learning how to write. She told me how from the very first time she put together words on paper, she became obsessed with writing down all the details of her vivid imagination. As a little girl she had piles and piles of notebooks filled with ideas, images and feelings. She wrote down her dreams and recurring nightmares. As she was growing up writing took a form of escapism for her. She would pour down on a paper all the things she found difficult to talk about. All the dark thoughts and worries transformed into beautiful and complex sentences as she learned and improved her writing techniques.

At secondary school, Caz won a writing competition; the award for the winner was to meet a successful writer and learn more about writing as a career. Caz talked about the encounter with disappointment. The author turned out to be an obnoxious, chauvinistic and self-centered man. That led the 14 year old girl to believe that if she wanted to pursue her dream of becoming a writer, she would have to becom equally self-centered herself. Troubled by the idea of turning into someone like him, Caz stopped writing. As this was her primary way of dealing with emotions, giving up her passion swept her quite deeply into a depression, which Caz would struggle with on and off for years. During our conversation, Caz felt it was important to talk openly about the chronic depression she has dealt with for almost all her life.

After graduating university Caz started a job in with a management consultancy. Her role was within business improvement, which was essentially working with clients to fix problems and make things better. She found that empathy and the ability to understand human emotions really helped her in the new job. Experiences with depression and feeling lost allowed her to relate to people. However, the initial excitement at the potential of her role to help others quickly wore off and she started disliking the job.

She told me about a conversation with a manager when she shared her excitement about being involved with a local theatre company. Immediately, the manager took her to one side and told her that it was unwise to talk about such things in the work environment as it could look like she was not dedicated enough to her current job. Situations like that happened every now and again when Caz would dress in colourful clothes or in any way stick out from the environment. Working culture in which the slightest inability to conform and a tiniest spark of individualism was immediately addressed as inappropriate gradually led Caz to despise the work even further.

It took several years to leave the firm, and Caz took a leap of faith jumping into a role in a completely different sector – a far more creative one. Despite the negative experiences at the consultancy, she sold her consultancy skills and joined a small team managing internal business improvement for a technical area of the BBC. Leaving the consultancy and joining the BBC was one of the best decisions Caz made. Sadly, in the first year of joining a new team – doing a similar job, but in a happier and healthier working environment – she struggled with a number of health conditions, and her health deteriorated. During a business trip to Ireland, she fainted, and within a couple of weeks was in hospital in a very serious condition.

The problems with health were really a breaking point in Caz’s life. Lying there, sedated and on a drip, she had a massive wake-up call. When she nearly faced death, she realized that she had spent so many years trying to fit in that she forgot to take time for herself and truly live.

Following her recovery and on coming back to work, Caz started socializing more with friends at work and took up drawing as a new hobby. Encouraged by a supportive friend at work, she started learning more about design and using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. After a few months she left her job to pursue a career as director of operations at an emerging startup The Recipe Kit. The job has allowed her to further develop her skills in branding, the creative process, and best practice when setting up a company. After a few months Caz’s and The Recipe Kit’s paths parted as she took two months break to fully concentrate on improving her design skills and learn the right tools. After the period of these two months she came back to BBC, originally as a consultant piecing together requirements and putting together wireframes for mobile apps. She quickly developed an interest in UX (user experience) and product design, discovering a love and talent for designing how people interact with digital products, and currently designs web and mobile products. At her current job Caz is responsible for a variety of tasks ranging from designing colour palettes, creating style guides, designing icons and graphics and creating copy and mockups of apps. She talked with a lot of appreciation about her current boss who gives her a lot of freedom at work and an opportunity to explore her full potential.

We spent entire afternoon talking about design. Caz holds an opinion that design is much more about analysis and improvement of what works and what doesn’t than just ability to draw. “That’s why I am so interested in User Experience. The design has to be thought through and intentional. It’s all about the process. If you are missing the process then you don’t really understand what you’re designing.” Caz told me that there is one thing she really understood about failures and feeling of falling apart after she was hospitalized. “People, very much like designs, are constructed of many little parts that work together. If you feel like you’re falling apart, you can always find something to put you back together.” When asked what she is currently working on, Caz told me about a number of side projects ranging from design of greeting cards to a secret technology project. Over a coffee we are talking a lot about social factor of promoting ideas and starting friendships to support each others effort in creating our ideas.

Writing this fascinating story and putting the pieces together took me a long time, yet I can’t resist the impression that Caz’s story is just right at the beginning. I can’t wait to see where the future will bring her and discover more exciting things she created. And remember, we may be dreamers, but only when we wake up and let our daydream become our life, magical things will happen and nightmares will pass.

11th December 2015No Comments

Nation of Dreamers #1 – Ulrike Schulz

Today I would like to introduce you to Ulrike Shulz, the first person to be featured in my new series of posts Nation of Dreamers. Uli is an author of a really cool website Found Some Paper, where she blogs about art, design, social media and above everything she advocates for creativity.

Uli comes from Germany and studied Theatre, Film, and Media at the University of Vienna. For last four years she worked as an Account Manager in an advertising agency. After graduating she wanted to find a job in creative industry and relocate to London. She approached her goal in quite an unusual way. Ulrike used Twitter to connect with industry professional active in social media. She created a hashtag #HireUlrike and asked people to take photos with a piece of paper with the hashtag written on it. Uli created a tumblr blog where she would upload all the photos of people who would support her job hunting. Her effort soon paid off and she was approach by Guardian to write a short series of postson searching for a job through Twitter. Entire campaign has drawn an interest from social media professionals who invited her to networking events. Ulrike told me it required a lot of patience, effort and doubts but her campaign eventually paid off and after 6 months of job search she was offered a job at a social media company We Are Social.

Uli is a bit of a jack of all trades. She loves art, design, social media and networking. In the beginning of 2015 she started blogging about the eclectic mixture of her interests and started teaching herself about art and graphic design. Her journey has led her to take a brave step towards a freelance career and a couple days before our photoshoot she handed in a resignation. Starting from January 2016 Ulrike is planning to take part in and Art Course at City Lit and embrace the freedom of being able to work on a variety of projects as  a freelancer.

Ulrike is an expert in social media, a fluent blogger and keen event organiser. These are only a few of the skill to mention but she has much more to offer to the freelance world. You can read more about here services here.

I admire her courage and wish her all the best in her journey in the world of freelancing!

And in the end, my dear readers, I would like to encourage you to dare to dream and work hard, because skills pay the bills and dreams come true!

3rd December 2015No Comments

Amaraterra

A few months ago over a coffee break with my work colleague Alfredo I discovered that there is yet another creative soul in our geeky software company. We quickly found a common language and Alfredo told me about his Italian folk band Amaraterra and invited me for their monthly gig at Jamboree venue. I came over full of curiosity and as usual brought my camera just in case there would be something interesting to capture.

The energy during their entire performance has exceeded my expectations. They were wild, colourful, energetic, full of positive hippie vibe and playfulness. The night I got introduced to Amaraterra was magical and in the dimly lighted Jamboree venue vibrating with acoustics and melodies it made me feel like home when London still felt hostile and isolating. I attended a few of their gigs and took photos for them when our schedules still aligned.

This Friday, 4th of December 2015, 8pm, they will be hosting another bohemian night in Jamboree. If you would like to feel some irresistible energy of world music and brighten up the darkness of the autumn nights, check their Facebook event here.

After witnessing their gigs three times in a row this year, I can guarantee you that the restless beats of Tarantella will bring the smile on your face for entire upcoming week.

20th October 2015No Comments

Violet Skies of Regents Park – An Evening With Cora Álvarez

Nearly a month has passed since my last post. The times have been crazy and the life has been tough. We were on the verge of homelessness in autumn London, working hard, catching chances. There was lots of worries and I have not taken a single photo since then. I don’t even have my cameras at home at the moment. They are stored securely at my friends place.

Now that the worst is over and I can take a deep breath and relax I can have a look where I paused with my photographic journey. That month ago, before all the disasters fell on my back, I meet up with Cora Álvarez, Spanish photographer, who was visiting London at that time. We went for a photowalk around Regents Park, soaked with wet sunset light after the rain and chatted about photography. I remem­ber when I first encountered Cora’s photos on flickr. I was incredibly impressed with her photos and I thought that I need to get to know this girl. Somehow through vortex of various social media we eventually chatted with each other and I found out she would be vising London in September so I proposed a meeting up for coffee.

The coffee didn’t work out, neither  did an elaborate plan for visiting Hampstead Heath Pergola Garden. However after the rain we decided to make the most of last two short two hours before the sunset and chatted about photography and traveling, while strolling around the park with her and her com­panion Claudia and taking photos.

Meet inspiring people and offer them your support. Share your knowledge and amazing things will happen.