revisiting string gardens just because…
Posted in amsterdam, artists, nature October 17th, 2012 by pia

photograph by miep jukkema

photograph by String Gardens at Pompon Bloemen & Flowers, Amsterdam

photograph by miep jukkema

photograph by annelie bruijn


photograph by me at Flower Salon/, Droog, Amsterdam

More about them here.
(fyi they are created by Dutch artist Fedor van der Valk.)

My Heart Wanders: photographs from the book & design discussions…
Posted in amsterdam, book design, my heart wanders, pia's photos August 21st, 2012 by pia

So here is the first post in the series “My Heart Wanders: photographs from the book & design discussions”, as mentioned in my last post to celebrate the opening of my online bookshop.

This particular photograph is one of my favourites. It is the chapter opener for Chapter One, Reflection: Leaving Home. For each chapter opener, I wanted to create an image that visually described the story that follows. Each image represents how I was feeling at that point in my life, and what I was doing in my life.

To create this image, I had the idea to create some sort of reflection in a shop glass window. I spent days looking for the perfect window – something with pretty reflections, but also one that I could access from inside with the camera and tripod. As I was living in Amsterdam at the time, I rode my bike around and gazed a thoughtful eye around at all the windows. I lay in bed at night, flicking through all the shop windows catalogued in my mind’s eye each day, and wondered  which would be best. Then it dawned on me – one of my favourite windows and window displays in Amsterdam had always been that of Hilde Tempelman, whose beautiful work and atelier I featured in Amsterdam: Made by Hand. It was perfect! So I called Hilde and asked if she would mind if I come play in her window one morning and as lovely as always, she said “Ja, come on down!”.

So with my little antique rattan suitcase full of props, camera bag slung over my shoulder and tripod attached at the rear of my bicycle, I headed down to Hilde’s studio shop.

I picked a corner of the window and set up my camera and tripod inside the shop. I decorated the window with various props, set my camera on a timer and dashed outside to place myself in frame. It was a bit tricky but after a number of takes, I started to get the right feel and look I was after.

It was a lot of fun to photograph this chapter opener using Hilde’s gorgeous creations as inspiration and props, and it was just as much fun developing the image further in postproduction. I wanted to create a sense of flight so I overlayed the original image with a wing illustration I made using a photograph of bird wings I took some months earlier, making them transparent and then adding a warm colour tone and splashes of ink.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first look at some of the design elements of My Heart Wanders. The next post will look at how I created the numbers for each chapter opener and what they represent.

+to purchase My Heart Wanders, click here.

random: about a girl who lived on a houseboat in amsterdam…
Posted in amsterdam, interiors, the houseboat May 11th, 2011 by pia

what: latest issue of Elle Decoration Norge where: from Norway, to Sydney why: it just arrived in my mailbox

If you live in, near, or around Norway, I hope you can get your hands on a copy of the latest issue of Elle Decoration Norge (formally known as Elle Interiør) because there is a story in there that I think you might really like, full of never-before-seen images of my life on the houseboat. The photographs were taken by me and friend & fellow photographer David Finato, with the full page portrait by Riitta Sourander.

Thank you Elle Decoration.


sun goes down, sun comes up…
Posted in amsterdam, sydney March 21st, 2011 by pia

today’s sun set in Amsterdam, photo taken by my friend alan jensen

two minutes later: sun up in Sydney, photo taken by me, 5 minutes ago

Amsterdammers have been loving the 2 days of sunshine they’ve just had. Meanwhile in Sydney, we’ve been having torrential rain for 2 days straight. This morning, my friends Cath and Al took this photo of the setting sun over Amsterdam and minutes later I walked out the door to find the sun had risen here, bright and beautiful.

Synchronicity at its finest.


in the guest quarters…
Posted in amsterdam March 8th, 2011 by pia

photo by rani nugraha

I’m super excited to reveal that we have our first guest of the year settling into the guest quarters: She’s young, she’s hip, she’s a fabulous friend, and she’s ridiculously knowledgeable on all things amsterdam. Her name is Rani, you may recall I wrote about her here, here and here. Last year, Rani was a wonderful help to me during my book launch. But this year, Rani is embarking on her own creative ventures, and has just launched a new website all about Amsterdam. I have no doubt that it will very soon become the online guide for getting to know the city. But I won’t tell you another thing about it, instead I’d like to send you into the guest quarters to meet her so she can tell you all about her new project.  Then, over the next few weeks, Rani will share lots of great Amsterdam goodies with us, I can’t wait. Welcome to the (blog)house, Rani!

Click here to read Rani’s first guest post.