PHOTOGRAPHY: ALI LOVES NEWS

I’m deciding to revive my much-abandoned blog with some recent photos and small anecdotes – it has be an absolute age since I’ve been trampling about this patch! I apologise to all my readers (or what’s left of them) – and I once again make a slightly empty promise of bringing you more news from the World of Jayne. To start us all off a more entertaining foot, I’ve decided to share a few photos of a lovely couple that I had the opportunity to do a casual shoot for last month – News and Ali. Yes, their names are actually News and Ali – English names that were chosen in a bit of a rush – mainly for my own sake! Heh, I think I feel quite honoured! In any case, I was given the chance to take a few shots for them – they had married the month before and and headed to Australia for their cousin’s wedding – they hadn’t had any outdoor photos taken back in their resident Taiwan, so they decided to take advantage of the situation and have some shots taken here in Brisbane!

It was a cloudy and slightly rainy day and it had been raining the whole day long the day before. But after a little bit of deliberation, we decided to trek out to the Roma Street Parklands and South Bank to try our luck – and hopefully not get rained upon!

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Happy Easter, lovers!

JAYNE, YOU SO LAZY…

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Jayne, you so lazy that you haven’t posted on this blog for, okay, let’s see, nearly three months now. Is it three months? Wait, two months. Well, whatever terrible value of time it has been, I just haven’t. Perhaps it’s due to my great ability at procrastinating? Yeah, I’m pretty good at that. I could turn my skills at procrastination into an art form. Considering modern art these days, I could probably record my (lack of) daily duties badly and send it into any renown gallery, under the titles of “Procrastination In A World of 100 Distractions” and get a few grand for it. Either way, I digress, I’ve been lazy. Please excuse me, I’ll get back to the normal meandering madness soon, but for today, I’m pleased to just make note:

I’m here.

I’m not dead.

I’ll eventually type up something of note.

BECAUSE, MELBOURNE’S LANEWAYS.

Can you believe that it is nearly Christmas? It seems like only yesterday I was recovering from last Christmas and shaking my head clear from my wedding madness. What happened? It seems like the entire year was sucked into a massive vortex – and I can’t seem to find the head or tail of it! Truly utter madness!

Fortunately, I have this little blog, a tiny vortex that allows me to look back on my crazy year – I get to observe how often (or not) I managed to share my tiny life experiences and thoughts with you all in the internets – and in a narcissistic way, I absolutely love that. Let’s face it, websites are for people to show off – and a little bit of me really loves doing that. Okay, a lot of me. I really like showing to people the amazingness that this world lends to us. Often we’re shattered by things in our lives that shadow all the positive things – and I hope this tiny little incredibly narcissistic spiel helps share a tiny slice of sunlight that blanks out that grey. Anyhow, let me stop my maddening rambling and instead share a little bit of my experiences of Melbourne’s alleyways.

ImageWe landed in Melbourne on a surprisingly warm day and our Melbournite buddies (and one Brisbanite who also happened to be in town) were eager to get us eating almost immediately at Hardware Societe – down Hardware Lane – yet another lane packed with amazing cafes and stores. Let’s just say I was excited. So excited, in fact, that I did not realise that I had not packed an SD card. I am probably the worst traveller known to mankind. My husband agrees with this with much nodding and sighing. In any case, no photos of the amazing food that Hardware Societe bore – instead, once I managed to get an SD card in my camera, it was already lane way/alleyway seeking time.

ImageFor those who don’t know, Melbourne is somewhat famous for several things – one of those things is astonishingly good coffee-culture (we’ll get to that later), the other is the amazing sprays of street art that bedeck many approved outdoor locations – anything from stencils, paste-ups and murals. This, of course, does not include graffiti or tagging which is illegal (and also a bit of waste of space, time and paint).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHusband in graffiti.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACentre Place - running between Flinders Lane and Collins Street, this maddening little laneway is home to a stack of vibrant bars, cafes, restaurants, boutiques, sushi bars and shops – oh yes, and street art.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere’s something about street art that I absolutely adore. The grunginess? The authentic feel to it? Perhaps, it’s the subliminally political chants that underlie much of the paint-clad walls.  I love the raw-ness of it all, the fact that the streets that are clad in emotion and effort and pain and complexity remind me of every The XX song ever created. Perhaps that’s it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHosier and Rutledge Lane, opposite Federation Square – this bluestone cobbled lane is the location of some of the finest street art money can’t pay for – and has to be one of the most intensely wonderful places to check out the street-art scene. It’s often filled to the top with tourists and people having wedding photos taken and it is a woman of many outfit changes – take shots of your favourite paintings/installations because you can pretty much be guaranteed that they won’t be there next time you visit!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe managed to visit Hosier Lane after the mantle of the moon fell, thus giving the whole area a distinctively creepy feel. Also, it smelt strongly of urine. But yeah, creepy. But creepy-good, if you know what I mean.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARandom acts of arty projection on Higson Lane’s rendered brick walls.

There are so many other places around Melbourne that offer some amazing works of art – I pinched these off the City of Melbourne website:

  • Hosier and Rutledge Lane, opposite Federation Square
  • Caledonian Lane, off Little Bourke Street
  • Union Lane, off Bourke Street Mall
  • Rear of 280 Queen Street in Finlay Avenue
  • 21 Degraves Street
  • Cnr Flinders Lane and Cocker Alley
  • 122 Palmerston Street, Carlton
  • Centre Place, between Collins Street and Flinders Lane

SPEAKING: OF DEPRESSION.

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Today’s blog post is going to be a little different from many of the things I’ve posted in the past few…well, aeons. It’s not about shopping. How about that. I’ve been into thinking a bit too much, mainly as my health has been on a downwards slope as of late. I’ve been quite blue, a little sick and not sad, but not content. I have to wonder why. It’s not for lack of things that make my happy, nor of possessions. Perhaps lack of fulfilment in my work or what I do? Perhaps it’s exhaustion, or self-inflicted thoughts of being exhausted? In any case, I can’t say that I’m depressed as such – and living a life that has brushed up against depression in the family, I can tell you that I feel nothing like what I saw and felt at that time.

But what I can tell you is that feeling sick or ill can really put a spin on things for your thought process. It gave me time to think about depression and severe mental illness – how it can affect people, their families and the people around them. Trawling through the internet one night due to a slight case of insomnia, I came across this blog post by Michelle Law. It was an eye-opener and a true privilege to be able to read such blatantly honest and open writing. The expression of which, I know I could never achieve – yet continue to strive towards.

It made me think about the taboo of having depression (oddly, a harder concept to understand if you’re from an Asian background) and what it meant/means to your family. I too watched on as one I loved suffered and I did not know how to respond, or what to do. I became mute and too felt afflicted and ashamed, sad and useless – I felt that there was nothing I could do to help, other than lend myself to hugs and muffled words of support, while every night she spent in anxiety, we remained worried and in fear. I have to admit to thinking darker thoughts – I wanted to ask why that had to happen to her? Why was she sad? What was wrong? I didn’t understand and I don’t think I ever will. But I tried.

Is it taboo to talk about depression? Is it difficult? Isn’t it something we should be talking about? With these thoughts in mind, I decided to keep trawling through the internet space, stumbled over this TED video, this small discussion (also by the talented Michelle Law), and a few other astonishing and bone-achingly sincere blogs. After reading and watching all of this content I’ve come to realise so many things. Now this is all going to sound corny and slightly ludicrous, but this is honestly what I’ve learnt – firstly, just as there is light there is shadow, where there’s sadness there will always be happiness. Secondly, when you can admit fault or weakness, it can only make you stronger. Lastly, today is only today and tomorrow is another day, things will be different and you can change.

I’ve snatched this quote from the closing statements of the TED talk by psychiatrist Dr. Neel Burton: “People in the depressive position are often stigmatised as failures or losers, but nothing could be further from the truth. If these people are in the depressive position it is because they have tried too hard, or taken on too much—so hard and so much that they have made themselves ill with depression…their world was simply not good enough for them; they wanted more, they wanted better and they wanted different. And not just for themselves but for all those around them. So if they are failures or losers, this is only because they set the bar far too high. They could have swept everything under the carpet and pretended, as so many people do, that all is for the best and the best of possible worlds. However, unlike most people, they have the strength and the honesty to admit that something was amiss, to admit that something was not quite right. So rather than being failures or losers they are the opposite: they are ambitious, they are truthful, and they are courageous…”

Like I stated before, I’ll never truly understand the mechanisms of depression, but I’ll try. I’m never much good when people are sad. I never know what to say or do. But you know what, I’ll try – because when I see her I know – she is ambitious, truthful and courageous…she didn’t pretend and for that I know that I love her.

SHOPPING: POM POM LOVIN’

I’ve spent many of my younger years living a love-hate relationship with pom poms. They’re cute, they’re fluffy – you can make animals out of them! I mean, that’s pretty cool, right? Well, the downside is that I can’t actually make pom poms. I think I am genetically incapable of making pom poms. Which, when I think of it, is a bit of a white lie. I’ve seen my mum make pom poms. I think I just need to accept my own failings as a human being and leave the pom pom making to the pros.

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On my trip to Melbourne, I managed to come across these adorable rainbow coloured felt pom pom coasters – being too exxy to create myself, I leapt on them with glee! I picked up a pack of 6 Felt Carnival coasters from Monster Threads - who also happen to sell an amazing range of Australian-made (and/or handmade) goods of amazing levels of cuteness! Apart from stocking their own variety of self-designed graphic tees and merch, they also sell a huge range of apparel, accessories, homewares and stationary. They also maintain key partnerships international brands, like Dylan Kendall,  bucketfeet artist shoes, MOMOT paper toys and many other hyper-creative companies.

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MONSTER THREADS
Location: Shop 9 Centreway Arcade 259-263 Collins St, Melbourne
Contact: (03) 9662 4580

In any case, after adding these little felt pom pom coasters into my home, I’ve been sorely tempted to add way more to our abode. Worse still, Etsy is not making things any easier. Yeesh, seriously people, freeze my cards please.

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The FRANKIE Necklace Color Study No. 32 | Handmade with Felted Wool Pom Poms, Cotton, Leather, and Brass | $53.63 AUD

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100 cm Felt Ball Rug | Felt balls, double-sided | $201.12 AUD

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Felt Ball Garland Party Decoration | 50 felt balls, 3 metres | $29.00 AUD

LADIES, GET YOUR CAMERA BAGS.

Now every time I come across a website that offers camera bags (specifically made for the lady-folk – ie. doesn’t look like a angler’s bum-bag), I have a mental swoon and then go through several stages of inner turmoil. Since shifting to full-time I haven’t had time to explore my city and take loving photos of it. So buying a camera-specific handbag would be pointless…right? I mean, when could I use it? When I’m on holiday? When I’m on a day trip? When…um…buying groceries?

But then I came across another crop of lady camera bag websites, in particular, ONA – as they make all of their beauties out of leather. Oh, be still my beating heart.ImageImageImage

THE BROOKLYN, ONA - Chestnut $329USD

Inspired by the classic 1940s school bag, the Brooklyn is a vegetable-tanned leather camera bag that’s designed to protect an SLR with an attached lens and up to 3 additional lenses or small accessories. A slit pocket along the back of the bag is perfect for securing your iPad or e-reader, while the front pocket is designed to hold a small wallet, lens caps and personal items. The Brooklyn is the ideal companion for weekend getaways, impromptu photo shoots with friends, and professional shoots where only your camera and few lenses are needed.

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THE BOWERY, ONA – Antique Cognac Leather $229USD

Handcrafted with Italian-tanned leather and detailed with antique brass accents, the Leather Bowery camera bag is both stylish and versatile. Featuring five exterior pockets for personal items and an interior padded with closed-cell foam, the Leather Bowery can carry a camera, one extra lens, and small personal items. Thanks to a detachable strap, the Leather Bowery can be used as a stand-alone camera bag or as an insert to protect your camera in a larger bag.

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THE PALMA, ONA – Congac $309

With a focus on simplicity and style, the Palma camera satchel embodies a more elegant era while providing the modern conveniences today’s photographers need. The customisable interior is fully padded with closed-cell foam and has room for a DSLR and up to two lenses. The Palma also includes a convenient front pocket for an iPad or Moleskine. The Palma’s soft and supple leather has a rustic elegance, showing light natural marks and developing character with use. The Palma features a secure turn-lock closure and bold gold accents.

CHOICES, CHOICES!

STYLE: BECAUSE YOU’RE HAIR IS REALLY BORING, JAYNE.

I really need to change my hair-style and I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I’m thinking short and unruly. But since I’m quite unruly already, I’m not sure if the added benefit of “unruly hair” would really promote my image. I may just end up looking homeless. Choosing a haircut or perm is kind of like choosing a cider at a hipster bar – there are too many to choose from, you’re not really sure what you’re getting in to and you may either regret it or become addicted to it.

Anyway, to try to help me figure out what style of haircut/hairstyle I should look in to, I thought I might look to a series of internet questionnaires. I came across this – TheHairStyler.com. After answering a handful of questions – including hair-type, complexion, height and even “nose size”, the generator came up with this:

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No.

So, I abandoned this horrible and terrifying idea then went searching the internet for some lovely ideas from creative Japanese hairdressers. TO RASYSA.COM!

ImageTint: Brown Beige | Cut: Single-length bob | Length: Medium | Digital perm

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Tint: Ash | Cut: Bob | Length: Short/Medium | Digital perm

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Tint: Ash beige | Cut: Short top layer, shaggy under layer | Length: Medium | Low temperature digital perm

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Tint: Dark beige | Cut: Strong fringe, lower layers | Length: Medium | Straight permanent wave

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Tint: Lavender ash | Cut: Side-swept fringe, long layers | Length: Medium/long | Digital perm to fringe and lower layers

So many choices. Help me out folks.