Saturday, July 18, 2015

A summer back home.

You don't need to be a photographer to know how easy it is for life to move on and for our personal photos to sit buried in our hard drives never to be seen again, so I'm relieved I can finally share some of these, because they're important to me. These photos are from our time going back home to The Philippines in late December (2014—yes, better late than never).

Since leaving The Philippines in 1996 we've only been back home to visit in 2004, 2011, and now in 2014. Every moment I get with both of my (very large) extended families is a deeply cherished one. Years usually pass between our visits and thankfully we can all stay in touch through the Internet now, but there was once a time when all we'd really get were very brief phone calls every so often. We have about 45 family members on my mother's side and about 70 on my father's, so that's a lot of stuff to miss out on.

I never forget my parents' incredible sacrifice—to spend years away from their own siblings, moving to countries they have no idea about at all (and at the time, there was no Googling it), not being able to be home for when illness arrives and steals more moments away from the already limited time we all have. My gratitude for that runs so deep, it permeates everything I do in my daily life: the one that I would not have had it not been for their choices.

After Christmas it was my mother's family's turn to have us. One sunny day, knowing that the monsoon was near, we spontaneously decided to go to a little island called Atulayan, not far from our hometown of Naga. This was just another one of those times where, despite the passing years and sometimes feeling as if you're meeting each other anew every time, we fall into a rhythm. The rhythm and familiarity that only comes from being with blood; from being home.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Head/Heart: June 2015.

June was finally my chance to slow down, to take it all in, and to integrate everything I had experienced from the first few months of the year. I didn't spend every single spare day doing nothing, but rather, I used it for all that I needed it for: the warmth of human connections, a lot of yoga, meditation and self-healing.

Monday, June 29, 2015


There's been a common theme for me this year, and it's that of old connections becoming new ones; where social media has actually contributed to a proper connection with someone IRL. Up until Friday, I hadn't seen Leigh in 8 years. I had volunteered to shoot a launch event for Headspace Tweed Heads where Leigh works and rather than driving all the way back to Brisbane, I stayed the night. We talked plenty in the morning before we both had to leave, but I couldn't go before gathering the courage to ask if we could take some quick photos—I have absolutely no regrets.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Brisbane Wedding: Logan & Lachlan.

Logan and I went to the same high school. We only shared a couple of classes together (visual art being one) and we'd not seen or spoken to each other since leaving school (nearly a decade ago). Earlier in the year, I was surprised and delighted to get a Facebook message from her asking if I'd be free to shoot her April wedding. To reconnect with someone in this way is so wonderful, and again I'm grateful and fascinated by the ways in which life weaves its magic.

I love what weddings have the opportunity to do for photographers. All these different families open up and welcome you into one of the most intimate days of their lives. We see what the bride and groom don't often get a moment to notice, and we're handy to have when the unexpected happens, like when the mother-of-the-bride steaming the dresses suddenly sets off the fire alarm and the fire brigade appear at the hotel. That's definitely a story we'll be telling over and over.

Ceremony venue: Our Lady of Victories Church, Bowen Hills
Dress: Grace Loves Lace

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

A day at: Nobby Beach & Springbrook.

On Sunday, M & I left home early to meet my family at Nobby Beach for my father's birthday. It's been a little while since we've had a family day out (or in my case, a day out at all)—with my sister living interstate and me having moved out of home since 2012, opportunities to have a day like this are so rare. It was one of Dad's requests that we have brunch and go on a “road trip” (can you really call it that when your destination is only an hour or so away?), so I suggested brunch at the coast and a trip to Springbrook and he was instantly on board.

We got there a little earlier than my family so we spent some time by the beach. I spent 3 years going to uni on the Gold Coast so I have a special affinity for this place, which I think sometimes gets a bad rap. Little do most Brisbane folk know that the Gold Coast is brimming with the same kinds of hip cafés, small fashion boutiques and handmade markets that we do—and luckier still, most folk live within walking distance to one of the best beaches in the world.

My parents, siblings and Martin haven't been to the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park before and the last time I went was years ago, so it was great to be able to do something new together. Long weekends are made for this: exploring, playing tourist in your own city, and then having the next day off to relax and make like it's Sunday all over again. We won't have another long weekend until October, and I'm already dreaming of what I can do to make the most of it.

Café photos below taken at Sparrow Eating House.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Head/Heart: May 2015.

The month of May was, suffice to say, rough. We had teacher training 3 out of the 5 weekends there were in May and we had our first exam; on the remaining weekends in between I flew off to Sydney, and on the other I was celebrating Martin's birthday. I felt overwhelmed and I crumbled; it didn't seem to matter what I said to myself—the truth that this too shall pass was buried and ignored under everything else and I slowly sunk so deep it became hard to enjoy anything. Depression & anxiety have a tendency to make tough days tougher, and even though somewhere down there you know you'll get through this, a louder voice often questions that.

To make things harder, Martin has been trying to find a new job for about a year. A year prior to that, we spent most of our time with him recovering from two consecutive leg operations. Over the last couple of years it just feels as if all we've been doing is “pushing through”, so I was hoping this year would be one where we could finally pause, go on a big trip and do something just for us—but without a second income, we no longer have the freedom to do so, and there's that little fear that things will get harder, especially financially. The hardest part, really, is not knowing when things will change—perhaps 3 months from now we'll still be here.

So just last week when I was at my worst, one of my new friends from teacher training shared this TEDx talk by Tao Porchon-Lynch with us, and I was reminded that there is truly nothing any of us can't do (after all, I wouldn't do all that I do if I didn't really believe that); that everything has its own time and that sometimes, it's enough to simply show up. Every day I do my best, and I know this is all worth it. A big part of me that trusts in whatever this experience is meant to be, and wherever it will lead, and honestly, it's exciting to know something really good is probably lying just around the corner.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Head/Heart: April 2015.

The beginning of 2015 feels like aeons away, yet it's only May. I really hit the ground running this year, and four months into full throttle has been challenging and confronting—but I'm riding this flow, this frenetic time, just accepting it for what it is without getting too bogged down in negativity or frustration. If there's anything I've learnt from years of being a busy person with a Type A personality, it's that being stressed about being stressed gets me nowhere.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Garden exploration.

M and I ended our four-day Easter long weekend with a spontaneous late-afternoon trip through the Mt. Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. We both realised we hadn't been in years. It's funny how you can forget about all these amazing (and free) things to do around your city, but it always pays off to play tourist for a day.

It was the perfect precursor to a crazy fortnight of yoga teacher training, shooting Typism, attending a wedding and shooting my first wedding of the year—the fortnight I'm currently in the middle of. Looking forward to getting through all of my Typism shots and sharing them with you!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Künstler turns one.

A fortnight ago Künstler celebrated its first birthday, together with Sunday Social's 4th birthday and winter collection launch and House of Cards' A/W Collection launch. I got to meet so many new, passionate people from the Brisbane creative scene, some of whom I had heard of but hadn't the chance to meet personally, not to mention catch up with others who I hadn't seen in almost a year. If there's one thing I love, it's locals working hard to bring a unique offering to our city, and Künstler has given us just that, providing a thoughtful curation of independently published journals, magazines, and books, not to mention hosting photography, art and jewellery exhibitions in its beautiful matchbox space. I count myself pretty lucky to work just across the road from Winn Lane and I'm really looking forward to what else is coming up for Künstler and this creative little laneway.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Head/Heart: March 2015.

Here we are, at the end of March. Life is so full, and I juggle it all: work, freelance work, my yoga practice, birthdays, social engagements, making time for friends, family, my partner. I try to be a great employee, an organised businesswoman, a dedicated yogi, a loving, patient partner, a doting daughter, and a loyal friend, but it's usually at a cost, and that cost is often my own wellbeing. In saying all this, I want to be clear: I am more fulfilled, more content now than I have ever been. I am calmer, more accepting; still driven, but free from the fear and expectations that I created for myself by being extraordinarily goal-oriented; never knowing what it was like to enjoy everything as it is, for what it is, in this very moment.