Treechange : From Sydney to Port Macquarie

Crescent Head Beach Sunrise

 

I have made a treechange, packing up life in Inner City Sydney, to move up the coast 400km to the beautiful little coastal town of Crescent Head.  Up here, life rolls by at a different pace.  I have time to kick back with a beverage at dusk and watch silhouettes of kangeroos bounce across the pink horizon.  The mornings greet me with layers of dawn bird songs over the gentle purr of the ocean: a welcome change from the roaring engines and rattling windows that once awoke me as jets landed at Sydney Airport.

I don’t mind missing out on conveniences like cafes, restaurants and late night grocers.  Like when travelling, you learn to adapt to a new environment quickly, just because you have to.  You embrace it, and truly appreciate it when you stumble upon something you love.

Kangaroo & Joey at Crescent Head NSW

I’m sad to say goodbye to my regular Sydney clients. I had a wonderful time working with you all and truly enjoyed each and every one of our photo shoots during my time in the big city.  Now up here on the Mid North Coast, I will be basing my photography studio in Port Macquarie, as well as focusing more on international photo work.

I’m really looking forward to connecting with people here in the Port Macquarie and Crescent Head areas.  In a region bursting with entrepreneurs, and where local business dominates, I’m sure to be inspired by the people I meet and the adventures that lay ahead.

 

Me and James enjoying the Treechange from Sydney to Crescent Head

Me and James enjoying the Treechange from Sydney to Crescent Head

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Products I love : Bamboo Photo Prints

It is important to me to be able to offer my clients photo prints that are on the cutting edge of sustainability.  As more people move towards a more environmentally conscious lifestyle, companies are able to deliver green options to consumers.  As I come across outstanding products, I will be sharing these with you, here on my blog.

I was seeking out the most eco way to print my photographs, and this bamboo product sounded fantastic.  I decided to try out this new eco style of photo printing.

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The quality of colour and contrast in this bamboo print really make the image pop

 

What I love:

– The print looks really good.  The texture of the bamboo has been maintained, so the finish has a beautiful, natural texture, reminiscent of art paper.  The edges have a beautiful, unique look, and the keyholes on the back make it easy to hang.

– It is made from bamboo which is incredibly sustainable.  Bamboo grows fast, can sequester more carbon than trees and generally doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides.

– The prints last for decades (or longer) due to the durability of bamboo, and the satin laminate protects against dust and UV rays.

 

Things that could be improved:

 – There is a decent amount of glue used in production which could be substituted with a more environmentally friendly product.

– At the time of printing, I was unable to find a company producing this product in Australia (or even Asia) so this had to be shipped from Texas, which leaves a HUGE environmental footprint (especially considering the heavy weight).  I’m sure similar products will be available closer to home before too long.

 

I would absolutely love to hear from you at info@aliciafox.net if you have information on sustainable printing options.

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The natural texture of the bamboo is maintained, which adds a beautiful feel to the image

 

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The bamboo edging creates a unique look

Stay tuned for more eco product reviews and join me on social media for updates!

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Article About Me in Junkies Magazine

Junkies magazine is a fantastic new Australian publication celebrating the concept of rethink, reuse, reduce and recycle.  It’s jam-packed full of articles and photos of creative ways to help the planet, your own way.

 

I’m thrilled to have this wonderful write up about my photography included in the Spring issue of Junkies magazine.  These images are from my project Portraits of The Disappearing Amazon, for which I had the privilege of visiting and photographing tribes in the Amazon jungle over a 3 month period.  It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Please enjoy the images.

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Alicia Fox Photography in Junkies Magazine

Posted in Articles, Eco Photography, Ethical Photography, Humanitarian Photography, NGO photography, Peru, portrait, South America Photos, Travel Photography, Volunteering Latin America Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Upcyclist & The Tiny House

My partner James, AKA The Upcyclist, is building a Tiny House out of recycled materials, in collaboration with The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre in Marrickville, Sydney.

 

The Tiny House movement, which has been growing throughout the USA for years, is emerging here in Australia.  It is a response to high housing costs and a lifestyle of overconsumption, which can often lead to debt and dissatisfaction.  The idea is to downsize your possessions in order to increase your quality of life, or as James puts it: Less House, More Life.  Imagine a life without debt, in which your cost of living is so low that you can work less and have more free time to do the things that you are passionate about.

 

This tiny house is a pilot project, a way of testing the interest in this concept amongst Sydneysiders.  So far there has been much interest, not only passers by in Marrickville, but also The Sydney Morning Herald and other TV and print media outlets (details to follow).  You can see the SMH article and a video including James and other local tiny housers HERE.

 

The Upcyclist tiny house doesn’t contain all the usual inclusions of a tiny house, such as a bathroom and kitchen.  James’s tiny house is designed to be a spare room for a teenager, including a fold down bed and study area.  Passers by have suggested that it would also be great as a writer’s retreat, or even a mobile cafe space.  The tiny house will be auctioned during The Bower’s 15th Anniversary Celebrations on 20 September, 2014.  I’m really excited to see how James finishes it off, and to celebrate it’s completion in September!!

 

Here are some photos I have shot during the build so far.

 

You can follow James, The Upcyclist at https://www.facebook.com/TheUpcyclist.com.au

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Boho Fashion Photography : Tree of Life Campaign Shoots

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I’ve had a fantastic time shooting these two campaigns for Australian bohemian fashion brand Tree of Life.  The campaign above is titled Gyspy Wanderer.  I’m in love with the styling, which in a way, bridges my fashion images with my travel photos from around the world, through the inclusion of vintage Afghani accessories, and the “Gypsy Wanderer” theme that somewhat represents my life pre-Sydney.

Below is a photo of one of my posters in the shop window of Tree of Life at Bondi Junction, followed by photos from the shoot.  This campaign was “Midnight Garden”.  While planning and shooting the images I took inspiration from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which I have loved ever since I studied it in high school.  You can see additional images from these shoots on my Facebook and Instagram, over the coming week.

Tree of Life Australia

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Opening Night at Pachamama Exbhibition

We had an amazing turn out to the opening night of Pachamama Exhibition on Thursday, 26 June.  Art lovers from all over Sydney came to view images of indigenous peoples of Latin America, by five photographers including me.  Each photographer’s set of images illustrated a theme relating to the people’s relationship with Pachamama:

 

Tradition by Alicia Fox

Displacement by Rodrigo Llauro & Natalia Cartney

Reconnection by Guillermo Rossi

Adaptation by Armando Vega

Relationship by Toril Pursell

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Me with my photo “Ashaninka Baby”. Photo by Shanks

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Some of my photos, each from the Amazon region of Peru

Latin musicians creating a wonderful atmosphere for Opening Night

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James showing where in the Amazon live the tribes we visited for the photographs

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An enthusiastic crowd

 

All photos were for sale, with a percentage going to NGOs assisting the people in the photographs.  Images (framed and unframed) are still available for purchase, so feel free to contact me if you are interested.

 

Below is a short excerpt from a call out by Survival International, an NGO working to protect isolated tribes in regions including the Amazon.  It explains why rapid action to help vulnerable tribes people is important.

 An alarming number of uncontacted Indians have been sighted fleeing Peru and entering Brazil.

Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department has warned that they face imminent “death” as they enter into the territory of other uncontacted tribes and settled communities. Rampant illegal logging in Peru is believed to be at the heart of this impending disaster.

There are only about 100 uncontacted tribes left in the world today. Introduced diseases are their biggest killer as they lack immunity to viruses such as influenza, measles and chicken pox. It is not unusual for tribes to be virtually wiped out after first contact.

The Panará people of Brazil, for example, were decimated when a highway was bulldozed through their land in the 1970s. Hundreds of road builders moved in, and with them came waves of deadly epidemics. Just 69 Panará survived, out of a population of around 400.

Aké, a Panará leader who survived, recalls this dark time: “We were in the village and everybody began to die. Some people went into the forest and more died there. We were ill and weak and couldn’t even bury our dead. They just lay rotting on the ground.”

Uncontacted tribes are some of the most vulnerable peoples on the planet and they urgently need your help.

We simply mustn’t allow another people to suffer the consequences of our unsustainable appetite for natural resources. Uncontacted tribes add enormously to the diversity of human life. To lose a tribe is to lose a language, knowledge of plants and animals and a view of life that is unique.

They will only survive if their land is mapped out and protected. Survival is campaigning for the Peruvian and Brazilian governments to implement these measures and to honor their promise to improve cross-border coordination to safeguard the tribes’ welfare.

Our recent success in having loggers evicted from the Awá’s land proves that, with enough pressure, we can stop these illegal activities.”

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Pachamama Photography Exhibition

Wikipedia: “Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. She is also known as the earth/time mother.  In Inca mythology, Mama Pacha or Pachamama is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting…She is also an ever present and independent deity who has her own self-sufficient and creative power to sustain life on this earth.”

I was thrilled to be invited to take part in Pachamama Photography Exhibition in Sydney. Opening this Thursday (26 June), the exhibition will run across the weekend in StirrUp Gallery, Marrickville.  This group exhibition will feature the work of 5 photographers, including me: images which explore the relationship between indigenous peoples in Latin America and Pachamama.

I’d love to see you there.  You can find the event details RIGHT HERE.

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My Environmental Pledge

As Sustainably As Possibly (ASAP) invited me for an interview to share my story behind running an eco photography business.  I was the second to be interviewed for the Pledgecast series, following NSW Greens MP, John Kaye.  I felt quite honoured.

Through this short interview you can hear how travelling made me realise, in an unforgettable way, that how I live in Australia affects people all around the world.

As part of the interview, ASAP asked me to make an environmental pledge.  Fast fashion is a serious problem in today’s world, and working as a fashion photographer, this is something I am very conscious of.  Sustainable fashion expert, Lucy Siegle estimates that each year, 80 billion garments are produced throughout the world.  The conditions under which most of these are made are dangerous, both for garment factory workers and for our environment (during production and at the end of fast fashion’s short life when the clothing is sent to landfill).  

I pledged to stop buying new clothing and consumables.  Since I made the pledge, I have had a fantastic time discovering beautiful and unique clothes in second hand stores (from the Salvos to fancy vintage stores).  There are even websites dedicated to helping Australian’s buy and swap pre-loved fashion.  Buying second hand clothing is good for the conscience, the wallet and a wonderful way to find your own style.  

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Reconciliation Week

Today is National Sorry Day.  This week is Reconciliation Week in Australia.  I show my respect for all those who have suffered and those who continue to heal as a result of our country’s past, and the continuing inequalities between black and white Australia.

Australia prides itself on being a place of fairness. But our government doesn’t always reflect the values of it’s citizens.  Our Constitution still does not recognise the first Australians, and it still allows the States to ban people from voting based on their race.  I was shocked and disturbed when I heard this.  I support changes to recognise Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution.

RECOGNISE (the people’s movement to recognise ATSI peoples in our Constitution) says that “National Sorry Day is a time to recognise and remember the trauma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities affected by the Stolen Generations policies.”  Please take a moment to visit the RECOGNISE website here.

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Photos I shot at Chill Island Festival, 2008.  

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Cocoze Photo Shoot & Interview : Eco Shoes

I love working with sustainable brands, creating beautiful images to help promote inspired and cutting edge products.  It’s important to me to see these positive grass-roots businesses prosper.  I recently had the pleasure of photographing for Cocoze Shoes, a fantastic new Canadian company making eco shoes from coconut fiber and natural rubber: an alternative to the highly disposable synthetic thong that we Australian’s love to wear.

 

Below  is a quick Q&A with Wayne Seto, Managing Partner at Cocoze Shoes.

 

What are the best 3 things about Cocoze Shoes?
There are so many good things about Cocoze Shoes that choosing only 3 things was difficult.  So I consulted the founder of Cocoze, Pierre Thomson, for his input.  In the end we both agreed upon the following, if it had to be only 3:
1) Our shoes at Cocoze naturally and gently exfoliate the soles of your feet, making your feet soft, healthy and beautiful.
2) Coconut fiber (coir) used to make our shoes is 100% natural, sustainable and biodegradable.  Thus good for people and good for the planet.
3) Cocoze Shoes are all hand made in Thailand in a small eco-friendly factory.  No chemicals, dyes or toxins are used in our production. Also, excess materials and trimmings are recycled resulting in a zero waste production process.

 

Where did you come up with the idea?
To be honest, the idea for a coconut fiber shoe happened purely by accident.  The idea was born in the backwoods wilderness of Nelson, British Columbia (Canada). Pierre (company founder) was living there about 3 years ago and was using coconut fiber as a growing medium for his home garden. Coconut fiber is used in the agricultural sector for its natural qualities such as being antibacterial, antifungal and having a neutral ph level. Also, coconut fiber has a natural rooting hormone that helps build soil and helps your garden grow.  During this time, Pierre got very interested in working with coconut fiber and started making other things with the fiber such as coffee cup sleeves, dish scrubbies and bath mats. One day, he happened to be standing bare feet on a sheet of coconut fiber and liked the way it felt. Cocoze Shoes was born from that very moment!  Like I said, the invention of the coconut fiber shoe was a bit of luck crossing over with a bit of inspiration at the right time.

 

Why is being environmentally sustainable important?
Everyone on this planet is a consumer of some sort in their daily lives.  While developing our shoes over the last 2-3 years, we’ve come to see that all our actions have an impact on nature and the world around us.  Natural resources are often finite and/or limited.  Working with coconut fiber had us look at the concept of waste in a much different way.  Much of the coconut fiber in source countries of Southeast Asia consider coconut fiber to be a waste product and is generally disposed of or burned (up to 75%).  Much of the world finds value in the coconut on the inside with the coconut water, milk and meat not realizing there is also great value in its rough exterior.  With the world’s resources often being finite, we’ve taken the mindset with our shoes of turning “waste to worth”.  We feel we have created the world’s most natural and eco-friendly sandal from a completely sustainable fiber.

 

Where can people find Cocoze shoes?
Currently, Cocoze Shoes are only available online at www.cocoze.com.  However, we are preparing to launch a crowd funding campaign via www.kickstarter.com to manufacture a 100% natural and biodegradable shoe/sandal using materials such as Hemp and Flax for the tops.  We are very excited about this and anyone can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for updates as to the date of the live launch.

 

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Carlie Ballard : Ethical Fashion Photo Shoot

Photo Shoot for Sustainable Fashion Label Carlie Ballard

 

Carlie Ballard is an inspiring, big-hearted lady who I have now had the pleasure of working with twice.  Her self titled fashion label harnesses the creative talents of artisans in developing countries, and fuses these with beautiful designs to create contemporary garments for the modern day wardrobe.

With a strong philosophy of mixing sustainable fabrics (including hand woven fabrics and organic cotton), fair labour practices and traditional techniques, Carlie Ballard creates garments with longevity and a touch of culture for the adventurer and dreamer in all of us.  The clothing is made in a small workshop in India, offering the dignity of employment, fair pay and excellent working conditions to a talented group of artisans. All of the profits from the workshop are dedicated to growing its capacity to employ, train and support the families of the women it has been established to assist.

Carlie is also a founding member of Clean Cut Fashion, a collective of sustainable fashion advocates, and is the curator of online store Indigo Bazaar,  a carefully curated selection of cutting edge brands from around the world which are at the forefront of the sustainability movement.

Below are images from my recent campaign shoot for Carlie Ballard, with Model, Olivia Pranic from Debut Management, and Hair & Make up by Michelle Mae.

 

Follow me on Instagram to keep up to date with my latest fashion photographs @AliciaFoxPhotography

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Caribbean Panama Portraits

Travel is like an intensified version of normal life.  We take ourselves out of our comfort zone to situations where the ups are higher and the downs take us deeper than we have ever been.  This is why we often return from travelling feeling like a new person:  so much more experienced, wiser and even enlightened.

 

After a year or so travelling through South America, I’d been confronted by many lows (and many more highs, thankfully).  One thing that irritated me was how long things took.  I’m pretty chilled out and enjoy taking my time, but on Latin American time things can be excruciatingly slow.  The border crossing from Colombia to Panama is one example of this.  The whole process of travelling by boat from port towns to port towns took days.  I understand that authorities in this Darien Gap region are wise to watch their ports for drug smugglers, but anyone who has spoken to locals knows that the authorities are aware of the traffickers and allow certain offenders to slip through the cracks.

 

On arriving to Panama, at the tiny village of Puerto Obaldia, the immigration officer sitting inside his sweltering hot cement block informed us that for no particular reason, it would take 4 hours to process our papers.  I decided to get my Taoist on and make the most of the situation.  A little girl sat outside the office.  She was the officer’s daughter.  We started chatting and soon two of her friends came to join us.  I gave them stickers and showed them through my Panama guide book – they were fascinated to see photos of their country, places they never knew existed.  They were adorable and I absolutely had to take their photographs.  They loved being in front of the camera and hours later when I needed a break, they didn’t want to stop posing for the camera.

 

I entered some photos of my amigas into a Unicef Panama photo competition.  I was one of the winners and was so happy to see my photo, captured thanks to a slow immigration officer, blown up in an exhibition in Panama City, helping raise awareness of children’s issues.

See behind the scenes photos on my Pinterest page

www.pinterest.com/aliciafoxphotog/photo-shoot-behind-the-scenes/

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Indigo Bazaar Shoot – Ethical Fashion Photography

Indigo Bazaar is an ethical fashion company providing beautiful clothing that is made in a way that is good for the environment and for the garment workers and artisans who are part of the production.  As consumers become more aware of the dangerous and unfair working conditions involved with fast fashion, entrepreneurs like Carlie Ballard, founder of Indigo Bazaar, are providing alternatives for those of us who want to know that our clothing comes with good karma.

 

I photographed these natural portraits of Carlie wearing Indigo Bazaar, for her promotions and online profiles.  It was a wonderfully fun afternoon with Carlie and Make up Artist Emily, from LittleFox Makeup Artistry.  

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Tea Photography

After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world.  My love for tea began on the beaches of Sri Lanka where I drank sweet, milky black tea because it was easier to come by than clean drinking water.  Living in Japan, I gained a deep respect for green tea and sacred Japanese tea traditions.  In Latin America, I learned about the medicinal benefits of an endless variety of herbal infusions.

I have a thing for tea.  Half of my kitchen shelves are allocated to food, the other half to teas and herbal “tea” blends.  I appreciate the variety of textures, tastes, colours and aromas, as well as the healing effects of each different blend.  So you can imagine how much fun I had photographing these images.  All blends were lovingly created  by Amber at T Totaler.

 

“Tea” includes black, green and white tea from the (Camellia sinensis) plant.  

“Herbal infusions” are beverages that are prepared by adding herbs to hot water, usually between 70-100 degrees celsius.  

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The Urban Ecoist Post #1: Food

Just because you live in Inner City Sydney, doesn’t mean you can’t live out your eco homesteading dreams.  I do my best to be as green as possible in every aspect of my life, from growing my own organic vegetables to living in a chemical free home.  I do what is best for our environment, which includes what is best for my own health.  After all, we humans are part of the eco system too.

The Kitchen

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1. Each Sunday I walk down to Addison Road Markets in Marrickille, to buy my chemical-free fruit and veges (my own garden is only 2 months old so just produces salad greens so far). I talk to the stall owners to find out about that week’s produce. The delicious, gluten free bread is freshly made by the lovely folks at Common Ground, a commune not far from Sydney.

2. My first crop of (giant) home grown mushrooms. They were the sweetest mushrooms I’ve ever eaten.

3. My seeds, nuts and dried foods come from Alfalfa House Co-op (Enmore), my favourite place to shop. The stock is as organic, local and ethically produced as possible.  I love the co-op so much that I volunteer there every week, helping out wherever necessary. I take my own jars and recycled paper bags to eliminate waste. I rarely go to a supermarket, because the amount of packaging of supermarket products is something I won’t support. Additionally, nearly anything in a packet contains harmful additives and preservatives.

 

 The Garden

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1 & 2.  Making seedling pots out of recycled newspaper, with Pot Makers

3 & 4.  Planting organic seeds in the morning sunshine

5.  James’s hardworking hands contrasting with the smoothness of a cherry tomato (featuring one of nature’s perfect patterns/sacred geometry)

I would love to hear your stories and tips for organic living.  Please contact me on any of my social networks.  I’m enjoying being part of the rapidly growing network of likeminded people – both locally in globally.

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