Last weekend I was so happy to participate in my friend Sydney’s photography + interview project… the Bloom Social Distancing Project — inspired by the coronavirus pandemic and #stayathome lifestyle we are all experiencing.
Today some life + art + creativity conversation featuring my interview with Sydney on the inspiration behind her project. Plus, she share her tips for photography + how YOU can get inspired to create something too!….
“..projects like Sydney’s Bloom Project, highlight the BEAUTY and even the POSITIVE side of what we are all going through. And I love that.“– kathy
Bloom Project, by Sydney
I loved chatting with Sydney + posing for photos via my iPhone camera! Such a new experience to have a virtual mini photo sesh. Check out my interview + photos from Sydney’s BLOOM project here! MY fave pic, of course…
How I Met Sydney
We would go into the lounge often for AC and snacks. And one day we met Sydney, on her laptop, editing the most gorgeous portrait photos. We all bonded over our love of puzzles, unicorn-type-things, Lisa Frank stickers and I think Sydney is the one person I have ever met that could easily rival my love with the movie Titanic and all things Jack + Rose pop culture.
So yeah, since Sydney is currently based in NYC, we’ve all stayed in touch ONLINE, ha, how ironic. Socially distanced for years. But still, I feel like I know Sydney better than some people I see in person often. Modern times, man.
A little flashback photo of us at Rancho…
Art in time of Struggle
Despite the chaos and sadness going on in the world, art still abounds. I am loving all the creativity and art and new ways of communication that are ‘blooming’ from the state of the world. One example, the NY Times recently posted some gorgeous photo diaries from photographers that have emerged in a spread called Still Lives.
“In this unnatural state of isolation, photographers show us the things that bind.”– NY Times, STILL LIVES
Portrait, urban landscape and event photographers are having a rough time right now. With social distancing rules and events like weddings and special celebrations being cancelled well into the fall, both inspiration and work projects have likely dwindled. But luckily, photographers, writers – ARTISTS always seem to find a way to CREATE + INSPIRE.
I mean, I don’t know HOW I’m going to do it, but my baby bump + baby are going to get some pretty photos, somehow. I’ve already tried capturing a few myself. And I’ve seen even non-photographers in my pregnancy groups taking gorgeous selfies of their pregnancy journeys. Art + expression survives … and maybe even THRIVES in times of struggle.
“ARTISTS always seem to find a way to CREATE + INSPIRE.”– kathy
The Power of Connection
I think we are all realizing the power of human connection and the true impact we all actually have on each other’s lives – both positive and negative.
It’s funny. I miss so many things, friends, brunches, the movies, strolling my neighborhood, events, hugs. But there are also so many things that I don’t miss. Traffic. In-person event anxiety. Stressful socializing. etc.
For me, even a simple text conversation or DM interaction – phone call or email seems to mean so much MORE right now. Connecting through social media, blogging, Instagram + Stories + cooking videos and texts is keeping me in a state of connection right now.
And projects like Sydney’s Bloom Project, highlight the BEAUTY and even the POSITIVE side of what we are all going through. And I love that.
So now, I’m so excited to chat with Sydney a bit…
Interview: Sydney Angel
photographer + artist + creative soul + founder of the BLOOM social Distancing project
Q1: What inspired you to start the Bloom Social Distancing Project?
Sydney: As annoying as it sounds, it just kind of came to me. I went into hibernation on the 15th and the first big wedding of my season was supposed to be on the 19th, so I had no photography work to do. While there were a bunch of creative things I really wanted (and still want) to do, I needed something to really ground me and keep me a little busy. I needed some pictures to take and edit! I tested out this method of taking pictures on the computer, which I found worked, and then came up with a series of questions that were universal and simple because I wanted it to be a sort of time capsule.
To spice my boring computer up, I framed it with fake flowers held up with gaffer tape and BOOM it was called Bloom. Super random. It’s funny because I feel like the word “bloom” and the fake flowers make so much sense now. It’s up to anyone to interpret it as they want, but I’ve found that it’s imbued with a myriad of meanings that are fitting for this time period and the project.
Q2: What makes YOU happy during quarantine?
Sydney: My boyfriend and my dog! Also those organic creative moments that come once in a while where I just want to sit and write a song or draw. Also I got Peloton and I will never regret it because it has truly been a saving grace.
“My boyfriend and my dog! Also those organic creative moments that come once in a while where I just want to sit and write a song or draw.”– Sydney on what quarantine happiness
Q3: What is something you’ve learned from your Bloom project? What do you hope others see in it?
Sydney: As simple as it sounds, I’m learning more and more about humanity. A lot of people say relatively similar things in parts of their interviews, and while we’re all different, there’s this universal core that really binds us. There’s this sort of collective yearning that I feel that it captures. It’s becoming much more beautiful and meaningful than I ever expected it to be. I see myself, and I hope other people see themselves reflected as well.
Q4: What is your advice to anyone who wants to take on their own creative project – especially one inspired by current events?
Sydney: If you have an idea, just go for it! Do the thing. But I also feel like there’s a lot of invisible pressure to do ALL THE PRODUCTIVE THINGS right now.
The truth is that none of us have it together right now. We’re all trying to figure it out. No one knows anything. So, if you need to use this time to sit in your place and do a coloring book and watch Netflix all day, do it. You have to do what’s going to keep you healthy and happy.
Bloom has given me structure in my day, so it’s also kind of selfishly keeping me occupied too–it’s born of that in addition to all the other more spiritual big picture stuff.
“If you have an idea, just go for it! Do the thing. But I also feel like there’s a lot of invisible pressure to do ALL THE PRODUCTIVE THINGS right now. the truth is that none of us have it together right now.”– Sydney on how to start a creative project
Q5: Finally, since you are such an amazing portrait photographer, what are three tips you can give for taking amazing self-portraits or even selfies when stuck inside?
- Play with everything! Light, shadows, textures, angles!
- Movement is always fun! Bring your shutter speed down super slow and do small slow movements–you have to play around with this, but it can create some really cool stuff!
- Breathe. Sounds simple, but makes a big difference.
Q6: Where can people find your amazing work + projects?
Check out Sydney’s amazing work, including her event and portrait photography and her BLOOM project on her website!
Sydney on Instagram:
You can also follow Sydney’s Photography + BLOOM Social Distancing Project on Instagram:
Want to participate in BLOOM?
Details on Sydney’s website – read full interviews, sign-up for a session or donate.