Brydie Piaf is a storyteller and documentary photographer with a self professed love for the sea, for our Duckfeatures #17 we chat to her about capturing moments, conversations and buckwheat pancakes (yum!)
Images courtesy of Brydie Piaf.
Hi Brydie, welcome to DuckFeatures! How are you? Tell us a bit about what you do.
I’m a freelance writer and photographer, throw in a little social media management, regular sourdough baker, enthusiastic permaculturist and the big one, chief child wrangler - I have three young wildlings.
Your photos are a beautiful mix of capturing characters, stories and moments of quiet stillness. How did you get into photography?
I’ve always had an interest in photography. As a kid I’d be drawn to the photos that told a story within four simple squares. While I was totally in love with this method of story telling, I thought documentary photography was something ‘other’ people did, and not something that I could ever do.
In 2010 I started blogging, and quickly discovered I wanted to take better pictures than what I was doing. During that initial start, I found limitations to both knowledge and gear. A quick succession of different cameras followed and along with it, I sucked up all kinds of photography information I could find both online and in books. My brother introduced me to the beauty of the prime lens, and through multiple small steps that led to a whole bunch of bigger steps, I’m now planning my first solo exhibition scheduled for early next year. (A documentation of the sunrise swimmers of one our city’s beautiful ocean baths.)
You have a blog series called “Conversations with Community” tell us about that?
After having a blog for so long, talking about myself gets a bit thin, so at the very tail end of last year I started this new series which focuses on some of the amazing women within our community doing a whole bunch of really inspiring things.
It’s exciting any time I finish with one of these chat’s, so many people in my relatively small circle, are just so deliciously inspiring. You come away after reading it, and think, oh wow I want to know more!
Topics from slow travel, ethical fashion, environmental science, or living a life that is centred on treading lightly. Our community is often made up all kinds of people that are just quietly changing things up, following untravelled paths, weaving in creative living, and connecting in so many different ways that are often simply ignored in our culture of time racing.
This stuff is really exciting to me and by interviewing them, not only do I get to hear and be inspired by a tiny part of their life story, but I also get to share that with readers. It’s amazing how often the tiniest of things will deeply resonate, often shaping or changing up someone’s world. I get completely inspired every time, and that’s just me reading it, so I hope even if just one person comes away from it, with a similar feeling. Yeah I’m happy. People’s stories, they matter.
Why do you think “slowing down” is so popular as a movement and lifestyle choice? And how do you make a slow mindful life work with three children!?
I think the “Slow Living” movement and lifestyle choice is a big one because a lot of people want something different to what’s being handed to them. The ‘easy’ culture of mindlessly buying, eating, and living is one that’s fairly fast paced and doesn’t leave a lot of room to fill your soul. Instead, more people are seeking out the kind of living that incorporates proper food, growing, creativity and simply…less. Not coincidently all those aspects are also connected to living a life that is conducive to a better functioning planet.
With three young kids I prefer the term connected living as realistically, my day is frequently various forms of chaos and often doesn’t feel particularly slow. However in terms of whether we are living a life of fast food, fast fashion and screen based days? No I’m not interested.
Baking sourdough, growing an edible garden, being actively engaged in community enhancing activities, and parenting, all take considerable time if you want to do it in a particular way.
I’m rarely mindfully standing at the sink enjoying washing my dishes with a sunset filter on life, that’s not really me. I do them, but it’s not an act of mindful bliss, glad the kitchen is clean but that’s it.
Alternatively, sitting in the backyard quietly watching bees do their thing while the afternoon sunlight bounces off the perennial basil I planted not so long ago. Yes, that right there? I get a hell of a lot of satisfaction from. Often it’s only the cracks of the day, but that’s ok. All three of my kids now notice those tiny pauses as well. To be able to hold yourself right there in the moment, accompanied with a long exhale? Seems like a necessary function in today’s fast paced world.
Are there any resources (books, websites, podcasts etc) you could recommend for anyone wanting to simplify their life and home?
As straight up advice I’d say start off small, question everything and build from there. Find your number one interest and generally, there will be so many other branches, off shooting that, it will just naturally grow. Earth Garden Magazine is good one for how to’s, and regular people stories, The Australian Native Bee Book is a great one if you are interested in native stingless bees, Bourke Street Bakery and Dan Leopard’s baking books are great start ups if you are interested in baking sourdough. Milkwood.net is a wonderful resource for a whole host of info, and instagram. Which is just a great outlet for connecting to like-minded souls. Following a hashtag like #simpleliving or even #organic is likely going to drop you into the realm you’ve been seeking. People are recommending, doing, asking in real time and it’s often an easy access point for information being shared. It also has the potential to hook you in with a lot of like-minded souls. I’ve met some of my dearest friends through social media. It’s a resource for connecting, and if you are new to simplifying your life and home, it’s a pretty easy way to start.
Any favourite recipe(s) you’d like to share?
Aaah, favourite? That’s hard! Hands down favourite is sourdough and cumquat marmalade, team that up with a sunrise swim in the sea and a pot of chai tea and I’m pretty darn content for the rest of the day. However if sourdough isn’t your thing, I’d say Buckwheat pancakes are a firm favourite as they can be teamed with quite a lot. Jazz them up with a few different savoury things and dinner is sorted or a sweeter number like some great local honey and your Sunday is good to go.
25g melted butter
1 beaten egg
¼ teaspoon bicarb soda
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup of soy or regular milk
Whisk it all up, and spoon out in small batches over a frying pan on medium heat. Cook up your batches, stack em’, drizzle with sticky honeycomb and eat with gusto.
Thanks for your time Brydie. We look forward to seeing more of your beautiful work in the future.
Aaw, thank you. That was fun!
Connect with Brydie here: