the next chapter: birmingham, uk

Let’s go to the Bull Ring! Why should the boys have all the fun?
— Aunt Polly, Peaky Blinders
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In less than 50 days, I’ll be moving to Birmingham and getting married. Yay. However this is not a blog post on weddings. Just wanted to share some photos from my August trip to old Brum. I checked out the Bull Ring Open Market in the city centre. I was drawn to the colours and shapes of the often random and ubiquitous items for sale. But most of the time I found myself wondering, “Does anyone actually buy these freaky looking baby dolls on swings or a sun damaged puzzle book from the 90’s?”

I’m still not sure of the answer.

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This was the main track on repeat while exploring Birmingham.

OK Jaanu by A.R. Rahman. Listen once and you’ll understand what I mean:

cotswolds - june 2018

If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.
— Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

My Dad and I spent a long weekend this summer visiting the Cotswolds. It was like something out of a Jane Austen novel. All that was missing with Mr. Darcy ;). We started our road trip in Salisbury then travelled north to Stratford, stopping in little towns and National Trust properties along the way.

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What I appreciated most about the trip was having time with my Dad. We spent hours taking photos and hunting down our next location; cameras at the ready. I helped my Dad get comfortable with driving on the left side of the road while introducing him to a few new NPR political podcasts. It was all extra special considering we now live thousands of miles apart.

My Top Cotswold Villages:

  1. Castle Combe

  2. Gold Hill, Shaftesbury

  3. Blockley

  4. Lower Slaughter

  5. Stowe

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Classical/ instrumental music is not only for people over the age of 65. I love piano music whether it traditional, modern or a fusion of both. This song was the perfect soundtrack to my Jane Austen weekend in the Cotswolds. I could listen to this track on repeat all afternoon.


donaukanal, vienna - june 2018

McDonald’s. Political protest. Reinvention. This is why we explore the unknown.

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In June, I travelled to Vienna, Austria with my Father. It was incredible. One specific location resonated most. I find myself thinking back to it every week. Donaukanal or Danube Canal. It is a sensory overload for the eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear David Fincher had used this location for a film (think Se7en). The canal was an arm of the Danube River, one of the longest rivers in Europe. And what was once an important place for trade and business, is now being reinvented.

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I have to give credit to my Father. If it wasn’t for him then I wouldn’t have ever found the canal (He has a talent for finding cool photographic places). Our last morning in Vienna we rented bikes and prayed the grey clouds overhead weren’t rain in waiting. My Dad had told me bits about the canal and I was super curious to explore.

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The canal isn’t full visible on street level. It isn’t until you descend below the street bridges that you truly get a sense for this intriguing place.

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You are immediately hit with colour. I didn’t know where to look first and found it hard to focus on just one thing. Words and images cover every part of the concrete walls. As we rode further along the canal, we past coffee shops, clubs and even an artificial beach; all nestled on the water’s grey cement edge.

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I don’t know how long my Father and I spent down in the canal. Two hours? Three? We rode along the north bank and crossed a bridge and rode along the south side, stopping every couple of minutes to shoot or just take a closer look. Sometimes I wished I had a street art guide with me to to tell me the significance or artist behind some of the pieces. But maybe the mystery and unknown was also what attracted me to this strange place.

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It’s hard to imagine the canal a hundred years ago, busy with trade and business. Now it seems to be part nightclub, part art museum. I am impressed at how the canal’s identity is transforming yet again for the 21st century. But enough with words, I’ll let the photos do the rest of the work.

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This was one of my jams I listened to while in Austria. Rhye’s vocals always get me; soft, haunting, mysterious and smooth.


chichester - april 2018

I believe God gave me a talent to take photos and tell stories. However, I believe I can only become better with practice. There are days when I really don’t want to pick up my camera. But when you are given a gift, you use it or else it goes to waste.

It was a brisk April day when I ventured to Chichester. The main goal was to just shoot - get me up and out and experimenting. No expectations. Just deliberate practice. I tried to find alleyways and shop windows I had never seen before… while definitely subconsciously channeling a bit of Wes Anderson*.

As predicted, forcing myself to shoot was completely worth it. I don’t think I’ll be framing or exhibiting any of these photos, however they represent an attempt to practice and learn. And that is priceless.

*If anyone was wondering what I was referring to when I said ‘Wes Anderson’. This is a good short video to sum it up. My favourite film is ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ but I know another popular choice is ‘Bottle Rocket’.

new ink - march 2018

Wear your heart on your skin in this life.
— Sylvia Plath

The fetal position is one of the most comfortable for humans. I often find myself in this position, when I sleep, cry or mediate. This position can protect against a bear attack (supposedly). It was the position we took in our mother's womb. 

When I shot this self-portrait, my only rule was to display my new tattoo. I played around with a few different poses but landed on this one. It was fitting considering my tattoo is my Grandpa's signature. He was my comfort and my safe haven. 

The right position for my new tattoo.

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I have wanted to get this tattoo for a long time. When my Grandfather passed in 2015, I thought I’d get it soon after however the timing didn’t feel quite right.

Fast forward to 2018… I was headed to Hamburg to visit Monika. The city has a good reputation for talented and skilled tattoo artists. Germany is the original homeland of my Father’s family.

Finally the timing was right and with help from my friend, we booked an appointment at Vaders Dye.

I loved getting my tattoo. I understand why some people call it addictive. The studio was clean, well lit and electronic folk music (yes, that is a genre) filled the room. Monika and I thought we were in some high end designer shop rather than a tattoo studio.

Julian was my tattoo artist. He took my grandfather’s signature from a journal entry I had saved and carefully transferred it onto my wrist. Julian was fantastic and I’ve left his contact info below, if you ever find yourself in Hamburg and wanting a tattoo.

By far one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and worth the patience, research and travel time.

Thanks to Monne for taking photos while I was otherwise busy. ;)

Danke to Julian Büsing for making my first tattoo an awesome experience.