About Amanda

Amanda is an Australian photographer, writer and teacher living in Vancouver, Canada.

The Grounds of Alexandria

The Grounds of Alexandria

The Grounds of Alexandria

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The Grounds of Alexandria is quickly becoming an institution. It was 11.10 on a week day and we could barely get through the door. It’s a very different spot with lots of little areas for you to huddle and hide. The place is quite delightful with gardens packed with wooden tables and seating, a chicken coop and resident pig.

You can order take away and sit in the beautiful gardens but we wanted to check out the indoors, so we waited for a table inside. It was jam-packed and we missed the breakfast menu, so we opted for an early lunch which starts at 12. I ordered the burger and oh my, I do declare it’s the best burger I’ve had in quite some time. The coffee was pretty damn good (I’ve tasted it before at a little cafe that carries their coffee in Miranda) and I want to go back to try out one of the snags at the sausage sizzle.

The design of the place is an indie photographer’s paradise and I enjoyed myself immensely. You must check it out!

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Finders Keepers Market

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I finally made my way to the Sydney Finders Keepers market this past weekend. Finders Keepers has been around for about 6 years now and because I was living in Canada for the past few years, I had never actually gotten along to one. When I was describing what kind of market it was to Sean, he replied, “So it’s basically Etsy in the flesh.” And that is a pretty accurate summation!

Set in the fabulous Australian Technology Park (which is actually an old railway yard), Finders Keepers is packed with gorgeous hand made artisan goods. There is so much amazing talent in this country of ours and it was almost a little overwhelming. I came home with a gorgeously heavy wooden cutting board made of Australian gum, a beautiful brass necklace by iamtob and a cute around the world pouch and canvas tote. I also really loved the ceramics of Sian Thomas and Paperboat Press, these cute bags by Aija, totally fun textiles by Harvest, the indigo dyed pieces by Pom by Pomegranate, and these absolutely amazing paper artworks by Benconservato.

If you’ve never been, they are well worth the time. I know I’ll be going to the future markets pretty regularly from now on.

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Fuji X100s I Love You

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Hi

So I finally picked up the first real digital camera I’ve bought in about 5 years and I must say, I think I’m in love. I’ve only just received it and have had a teeny play today, but I’m pretty sure we are going to become firm friends. The Fuji X100s is what I’ve been looking for in a digital camera. It’s light, compact, takes film-ish sorta photographs and looks like an old school manual camera.

I took these at a local cafe and were tweaked a little in Lightroom but I’m pretty happy with the results. This shot that I added to my facebook page was taken straight out of the camera. I think the Fuji X100s just killed my DSLR. Love!

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My Love Affair with Marrakech

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I recently got back from our 2nd Instant Love Polaroid retreat and am still coming down. We had such a great week shooting with Polaroid cameras in our gorgeous Moroccan villa. Peacock Pavilions is such an amazing place to teach at, to stay, to experience and photograph. Maryam, Chris, their family and staff make the week so special, it’s hard to ever leave.

Jen and I had such a ball with a fine group of ladies and loved every minute we got to spend with them. Despite the Moroccan genies casting spells on some of our cameras, the group produced some amazing instant images and we were thrilled with the works of art our ladies went home with.

I was really caught up in soaking up time with our guests that I didn’t shoot a lot this time around (most of my images were taken with my iPhone!) but I did sneak a few here and there that I was happy with.

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A big thank you to Maryam and Chris at Peacock Pavilions. You did an amazing job again! Jen and I are starting to feel like part of the Peacock Pavilions family now. A big thank you also to Michelle at PP who was a lifesaver and kept our ship running very smoothly all week long. And of course, all the incredible chefs, kitchen and house staff, our wonderful driver, the kitties and Scout!

To the people of Marrakech who made our stay interesting and fun with a big thank you to our own personal souk guide, Abdul! If you ever need a great rug seller in Marrakech, email me and I’ll hook you up with our friend, Abdul. The ladies (myself included) scored some great wedding blankets and Beni Ouarain rugs from him. Abdul was one of the stars of Instant Love (his portrait taken by Susannah can be seen in the book) and is now part of the Instant Love family too.

To our amazing group of participants, thank you for making it such a memorable week. We had a dinner at PP with these ladies that may go down as one of the funniest nights I’ve ever had. Janis Nicolay has a great post on her blog about her experience with us. Check it out. We miss you and Wendy, Janis! You can see the wonderful images our group took here on their websites and instagram pages. Thank you Janis, Wendy, Nicole, Marissa, Leigh, Kathy, Cara, Carole, Danni and Patti!! Jen and I miss you all so much!

And as always, thank you to the amazing Lady Jenifer. I love you!

All images photographed with a Polaroid 180 Land Camera and Fuji instant film.

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Getting Ready

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Hello old friends,

For the first time in maybe, ever, I am ready for Autumn and Winter. In the past 6 months, I have had my fair share of beautiful, delightful summer and have experienced the kind of happiness that summer always brings. Autumn is officially here in Sydney and although the days are still warm, there is a noticeable change in the air. Even though living in Canada for 3 years gave me enough rain to last a lifetime, I did get a little bit excited about buying a new umbrella this week.

I have so much to share, wonderful stories to tell about the absolutely amazing week that I had in Morocco and a few days spent in London just a few short weeks ago. There aren’t loads of film rolls to share this time around but I’m getting back into my photography groove and feeling the need to start documenting again. Since we moved back to Sydney, life has done a 360 and I’ve been busier than ever, but now that the 2nd Instant Love retreat is over and my big trip for the year is done, life is going to settle down. I hope!

Time for nesting and lingering light, time for learning how to bake something warm and cosy afternoons in the cafe, time for boots and stomping in the leaves, and time for excursions with my 180 to rediscover this beautiful city again.

It’s great to be back!

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New Beginnings

For my birthday this year, Sean gave me a talisman pendant from local Vancouver designers, Pyrrha. He chose it without any prompting from me and out of all the symbols on offer, he chose one that represents ‘new beginnings’. At that stage in the year, we had not decided to move back to Australia, but somewhere the stars aligned and here we are again on a new beginning wading our way through the next stage of our life.

We’ve only been back in Australia for a fortnight and already so much has happened. Life is fast paced in Sydney and at present, I’m struggling to keep up. I know things will settle down soon and I look forward to the moment that we are completely unpacked and settled again.

I’m soaking up the family and friend time as much as I can and wishing the sun to continue to shine. We’ve spent time by the beach, been to our favourite dessert place and had lattes a plenty! I’ve got big plans for another summer here in the Southern Hemisphere filled with pool parties, picnics and Polaroids.

Speaking of Polaroids, Jen and I are pleased to announce that there are now a few spaces left in the 2nd week of our Instant Love retreat in Marrakech! We are keeping places open until October 22! If you’ve been thinking about your own new beginning and have wanderlust and the want to learn about instant film and the wonders of Morocco, now is your chance. Come spend a week with us in the beautiful Peacock Pavilions! It’s going to be an amazing time and I’m already getting excited about it! Check out our lovely website here for all the information. It’s going to be awesome!

Images shot on a Polaroid 180 Land camera using Fuji instant peel apart film.

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Once More

There is so very much I could say and tell you about. My life has done a 360 in the last few months and as I’ve been trying to process it and organise for it, there has been little time for keeping up with my usual routines.

And of course, the decision that we have made is once again turning our normal routines upside down for a brand, new start. After much deliberation, the Canadian and I have decided to move back to Australia. We don’t know if this is the right choice, but for now, at this point in time, it is the right one for us. It’s going to take lots of re-imagining and finding our way in the waters of a different kind of life again but I know that our adventurous hearts will guide us through.

We love and will miss the beautiful village life we’ve made here in Vancouver. I know I will certainly miss seeing those snow capped mountains each morning as I looked out our window. I will miss the ease and the stress-free day to day living a smaller city brings and hope that readjusting to the bigness of Sydney will be a fun change, rather than a troublesome one.

As I think of our new life, I have been imagining us close to the sea, taking daily walks by the beach. Fingers crossed that an apartment will be waiting for us when we are ready to find it in just the right place. I, of course, am overjoyed at being able to spend real time with my family and friends again and cannot wait to reconnect with them all. I’m already planning our Christmas gatherings. As excited as I am, we will leave here with heavy hearts, knowing that we once again have to say goodbye to people whom we love and to a place that will always be our home.

These images were all taken around Vancouver with my Polaroid 180 Land Camera and Fuji film.

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