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Still, in Self Isolation at Home

As we are all adjusting to the new ‘new’, I wanted to share what I have been up to and also some simple tips which are helping me adjust and slide into the new way forward, rather than looking back to ‘normal’.

Was that ever ‘normal’?

I’m here, on an offshore island with my husband in self isolation. It’s day 45 now. The seasons have changed while being here. It has just gone May and the weather has just turned cooler.

The island decided to shut itself off from the mainland at about day 10, with a barge providing essential services and supplies.

It feels very remote being here, yet also very freeing. Making life smaller, comes with a broad sense of freedom.

Above left: The track to the beach / Above right: The first thing I see when I wake up in the morning

Yet, what I have also learnt is that everyone’s isolation is personal and different, as we all have an array of circumstances and emotions bubbling underneath this strange and unsettling time.

I’ve been running through a few approaches which are keeping me ‘on track’, while being gentle and nurturing to myself. Sensory experiences I would probably call them.

I thought I would share them with you in case you find them helpful also.

There is also a playlist – I love a playlist!

Above left: My makeshift desk and an old large format camera I’m experimenting with during this time / Above right: Glimpses of the coastline on dusk

Connect: Connecting with and appreciating the abundance of the natural world is crucial right now. I have been lucky to go on long walks along the coastline and observe what’s happening within nature around me.

First thing in the morning, or last light of the day – ‘getting out’ is what I look forward to the most. I take my camera and see life with a new set of eyes, filled with wonder and appreciation.

This is helping with creativity and inspiring different ways to think about life and adapting it within my own photographic practice.

Above left: A pair of Whistling Kites keeping watch / Above right: Beautiful White Faced Herron

Above left: A rare glimpse in a secret spot / Above right: Exploring rock pools and discovering lone starfish, I love this shot so much I made it into a print in my shop – ‘Sea star in Mermaid Pool’.

Above left: A refresh at home with ‘Seaweed Pearls’ in extra large framed in my Signature Framing Style / Above right: The bedside table with ‘Box of Butterflies’ in small size and framed in my Signature Framing Style

Refresh: Nothing beats a refresh at home and moving things around. It’s one of my all time favourite things to do and I always feel better afterwards.

I moved around two pieces of my work into different spots – an extra large framed work of ‘Seaweed Pearls’ into the lounge room and a small framed piece called ‘Box of Butterflies’ to the bedside table, both in my Signature Framing style.

Super easy to do and the best thing about this is not using any tools. I love to lean these works against the wall to add instant dimension to ‘dull dark spots’. We all have those!

Not hanging means you can easily shift the pieces around when your mood changes (and it does). Always versatile.

Above left: Collected butterflies from their migration south. I also love this photograph so much I have added it to my print shop / Above right: Stacked books and a large banksia branch from the backyard to liven the house up

Above: The Paperbarks lining the coast, with their thick papery trunks against the darkness

Above left: Books I have been reading while in isolation, ‘Hold Still’ by Sally Mann,  / Above right: One from the late Peter Beard’s books on Africa

Read: Escaping into books. Two books I have on the go right now are Sally Mann’s ‘Hold Still’. Sally Mann is an American photographer whose work is at times darker than most, yet always intimate. Even though I have read this book before, I’m finding so many things I rushed through on the first read.

The other book is by another American photographer Peter Beard, who just passed away in Montauk last week. He was a wild man and a true adventurer, who loved women and Africa. A man from a different era, I don’t think they make them like that anymore.

If you haven’t heard of him I would recommend going down a rabbit hole and finding out more about him. A very colourful life.

Above: Portraits of my husband Tim and I in our backyard by the photographer Hugh Stewart for his Isolation project

Portrait photographer Hugh Stewart (he shoots lots of famous people) got in touch with me and asked if I would like to be part of his isolation series he was working on. I love Hugh’s work and think it’s so fascinating to be recording and documenting these times.

Here is my husband Tim and I sitting in the backyard last week having our portrait taken via FaceTime with Hugh in Sydney. Technology!

Hugh also asked a question as part of the series :

HS- ‘What is your hope for the world coming out of this?’

KR -‘Ultimately that we start to think beyond ourselves. It’s the only way to achieve a more meaningful life. I would like to see the world connect with simplicity. I’m sure most people have found a sense of freedom in their new found simplified life.  

My hope coming out of this period is that people can remove a lot of the noise from their lives and form a deeper relationship with the people they care most about, and form a new relationship with the planet and nature’

Above left: Making shell necklaces from collected fragments off the beach / Above right: The rugged coastline on dusk

Above: Propagating baby succulents for the garden and being resourceful

Nurture: I have been doing a lot of gardening while in isolation, as having my hands in dirt has felt so good. However I can’t just pop to the nursery and pick up new plants to fill blank spots like before. I’ve decided to use what I have and be resourceful. Probably always should have been doing this.

Propagating baby and broken succulents bits, which naturally fall off when you brush by them into empty egg cartons.

Apparently these babies will grow if I leave them without water for two weeks in a slightly sunny spot.

I will keep you posted!

Above left: One of my market baskets hanging out the front, ready to do groceries / Above right: A large pandanus tree at the beach

Above: Shadow play and sunset details

Listen: Slow Songs. I made a playlist of slow songs which I play when I wake up in the morning while making a cup of tea. It’s a gentle way to start a brand new day, especially if you need to reset from the previous day.

Songs with tender lyrics, plucky acoustic guitar and just a sense of softness and familiarity.

Explosions in the Sky, Cat Power, Elliott Smith, Sufyan Stevens and more.

You can listen here:

Above left: Local fish in paperbark ready for the fire in the late afternoon / Above right: Lighting the outdoor fire on the deck

Make: I have been going out of my way to ensure most if not all things I’m making are local and especially in season. I want to reduce any excess in food miles and not waste any food. Food really does nourish the soul and bring joy.

In case you missed them I shared two recipes to help us through isolation – Banana Bread and Pear Tarte Tatin. 

Above left: Finishing the day with an outdoor shower by candle light, I love showering by candle light, I have similar hurricane vases available now in my shop. / Above right: A roaring fire inside

Above: Stargazing before bed from the deck, a simple pleasure, while trying to figure life out

Watch: I’ve been watching a number of films and Netflix series while in isolation, though the thing I have been enjoying the most is walking out onto the deck before bed and looking up and watching the stars.

Old school stargazing. I have no idea about constellations or stars, though what I do love is how tiny I feel while looking up at the nights sky, twinkling with stars, while trying to figure out what it all means.

It’a a calming way to end the day.

Hope these simple pleasures help you navigate through this ‘brave new world’ we are existing within.

Talk soon and be kind to yourself;

Kara x


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10 Comments to “Still, in Self Isolation at Home”

  1. Thank you so much for the Inspiration! Beautiful pictures and wonderfully soothing playlist!

  2. I had a lot of fun reading this! My favourite is definitely the star fish photograph.

    Currently listening to your playlist and loving the very calming songs!

    Thank you!

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