Please give us a brief introduction of yourself Isabel?
I’m an Australian-based photographer currently living in Byron Bay. I’ve been shooting for 12 years. I feel most at peace in the ocean and sitting under the sun annotating a book, while eating a grapefruit.
What are you most inspired by when creating and story telling in your imagery? How does this carry through your everyday life?
I’m most inspired by light and shadow. I think that echoes throughout my own life in a way that holds a sense of mystery. I can be a very private person, and I’m naturally more introverted. I don’t like to reveal everything all at once. You can see a lot of that reflected in my work. I think there’s something beautiful in keeping things to yourself for yourself, not everyone has to know where you are, what you’re doing or what you’re thinking all the time. It’s okay to just exist sometimes. There’s a balance of light and dark throughout all areas of my life, and I take a lot of pleasure [and inspiration] from that.
What grounds you in your home?
The architecture and materials of the home itself. I’m big on intentional design philosophies — But also all of my daily rituals that infuse the space. From cooking, to tea, my meditation practices and the burning of incense. All these things bring me back to myself. If you want peace in your life, you really have to curate it.
How would you describe your personal style? And key wardrobe pieces?
My personal style is quite minimal. I don’t have a lot of colour in my wardrobe because it visually overwhelms me. Natural tones are what I gravitate towards, and I tend to dress more on the masculine side. Occasionally there’s a skirt, but I’m usually always in tailored pants and some variation of a t-shirt, coat or oversized blazer. That’s become my signature uniform. I’ve noticed there’s a common thread with the vast majority of designers whose tailoring and styles I continuously gravitate towards. Typically, they aren’t following trends. I’m not one to change things up a lot season to season, and I’m at a point in my life now where I just know what works for me, and I can instantly tell when the tailoring and feel of materials are of high quality. If it’s not made with intent, or consistent attention to detail in terms of quality I’m not going to invest my time [or money]. When you develop your own style, and what you enjoy as an individual it makes getting dressed a lot easier and far more pleasurable.
What are the most treasured pieces in your wardrobe?
My grandmother’s scarf and a gold bracelet she recently passed down to me. I have some beautiful pieces in my wardrobe, but if you took everything away from me — Just leave me with those two things. Sentimental wealth is of far greater value to me than material wealth will ever be.
Favourite creative outlets for your city escapes in Melbourne and Sydney?
When I’m in Melbourne I stay with my family, fortunately our family home has a large garden and pool so a daily swim and stretch followed by a few bowls of matcha before everyone is awake sets the tone for the day, and keeps me in a positive mindset making the pace of city life bearable. Being in a city really takes it out of me, so having my rituals and ensuring my mental and physical health are taken care of is a top priority. Sydney is easier, as I always stay around Bondi and the general lifestyle isn’t too far off from how I live at home. Even if I’m shooting in a studio all week, I still ensure there’s a 5am run, swim or surf thrown in there. I guess mental and physical health is alignment with creativity for me. So, when I’m in a city I make sure that I’m taken care of. I make sure that I’m still writing, shooting, directing, taking my herbs, drinking my matcha, swimming. Our minds and our heart are linked.
You are about to travel to Europe, what influences your style the most when you travel? How does travel influences your photography and campaign ideas?
Yes, I’m about to be based in Paris for a bit. Honestly, I love being able to dress up and truly express my style when I’m overseas. I grew up in Europe, and the people there just have a different approach to style and life than in Australia. There’s something special about walking down a street overseas and having a local compliment your demeanour and notice the way you move through the world. As Oscar Wilde once said “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” When I’m immersed in other cultures, there’s so many factors that come to influence and inspire my campaign location ideas. It all comes down to the environment I’m in, but ultimately I’m broadening my mind and my visions by throwing myself into an entirely different way of life. My mind is alert, a day feels like a year, and I’m soaking up my surroundings with fresh eyes. Everything feels richer.
Current favourite artist?
Mark Rothko. Jenny Holzer. Rick Owens. Yohji Yamamoto.
Architecture inspiration right now?
Axel Vervoodt, Mies van der Rohe (Barcelona Pavilion), Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Vincent Van Duysen, John Pawson, Philip Johnson (Glass House). The list goes on. But I’m currently in the process of remodelling a spare room in my house into a space dedicated solely to meditation and tea ceremony. So I’m deep into researching spaces that remove all visual clutter, yet still retain soul. Taking a lot of inspiration from Eastern culture [predominantly Japan], Rick Owens’ apartment in Concordia, Italy, and the Björk apartment project in Slovenia by Filip Kulćar. Our homes should be spaces that inspire us but that we can also seek refuge and hide away from the world in, and I love his philosophy of ‘observing the outside world from afar’. I’m not an overly domestic person, and often when I’m working with interiors or design aspects for myself I have a tendency to strip everything back to the bare minimum and question what’s truly essential. I love concrete, space and isolation. Anything elemental and archaic feeds my soul. I don’t like things that are loud. Be it an internal space, or an external environment. I’m very good at removing myself from any sort of noise — I simply prefer to stay unbothered and at peace. I’m eternally inspired by simplicity.
Favourite sound currently? Silence.
How do you plan to fulfil your creative desires for the rest of 2023?
To just enjoy existing. To pause & breathe. To be at peace with what is. To be grateful for where I am, while still aiming higher.