13.8.12

on finding magic


A friend recently asked me, upon viewing this instagram snap shot, how I manage to "make everything look so magic". I was flattered by her generous compliment and it got me thinking again about personal style - in particular, my motivations for photographing and documenting this little life of ours and how I choose to present it here in this space.

I am a visual person... a romantic one at that. I love to collect and curate beautiful things; treasures, trinkets, found objects, photographs, the list goes on. Nothing pleases me more than arranging things 'just so' to create a scenario that is both aesthetically pleasing and evokes a sense of enchanting nostalgia. I realise that I admit this at the risk of sounding insubstantial, materialistic and pretentious... but as I get older, I feel secure enough in myself to know that there's no point in apologising for who I am. It is in my blood. I see it in my family... it's right there in the generations of women that came before me.

My innate desire to present things beautifully obviously influences how our life is portrayed here. Despite the fact that I may, at times, unintentionally lead you to believe otherwise - the life I lead with Paddy and Eulalie could, and should, be described as a rather ordinary one. We live in a suburban town that sustains itself on heavy industry and the blue-collar worker (Paddy being one of them). We have a mortgage, credit card debt, a leaky roof and a half renovated bathroom. We are not tidy people and the washing up has never been our priority. Some days I don't shower until late afternoon and I have been known to wear the same outfit three days on the trot. The last time I went to the hairdresser, she politely informed me that my last appointment was seven months ago (I am ever grateful for this ongoing balayage trend!).

Anyhow, I digress. The point I am trying to make is that we lead a very ordinary life. Some days it looks pretty, other days it's a war-zone. Sometimes it's happy... other times less so. Sometimes, for whatever the reason, our eyes close, and the magic around us goes unnoticed. Other times, our eyes open wide to seemingly ordinary scenarios of the everyday that suddenly present themselves in the most extraordinary forms. 

For instance: just a stones throw from our house, along a busy main road, is a vacant block of land that I drive past at least twice a day. It borders on the dodgy end of town and backs on to the city's main domestic airport. The allotment is surrounded by a hodge-podge brick wall, built recently with the obvious intention of trying to replicate a crumbling stone wall from era's past. The allotment is rocky, uneven and completely overgrown with weeds. At first glance, it's not the most inviting environment to explore, and so, every day I would drive straight past without giving it a second thought.

As our family of three drove home from an evening grocery run last week, we passed the vacant allotment as the sun was lowering itself onto the horizon and casting the most spellbinding golden light.

No longer did I see a derelict, overgrown allotment and an unattractive brick wall that reeked of 'replica'. 

I saw gold dust being scattered across fields of blushing, velvet-tipped feathers. I saw childhood dreams and endless summers of frolicking through hazy meadows. I imagined life in sepia tone - the beauty and simplicity of yesteryear. Under the cast of a golden glow, that wall became real to me.  I imagined initials, hearts and cupid's arrows being carved into the crumbling stone and treasure-box-time-capsules buried along it's perimeter. I imagined first loves perched upon it, their interlocked ankles dangling over the edge as they watched the sun go down. I delighted in the thought of small children dragging sticks across the textured surface as they skipped along in joyful laughter. I saw a field of dreams.

When our hearts and eyes are open to the possibilities... magic exists all around us. 

My introductory blurb, in the top-right side column of this blog, describes this space as 'snippets of our lives - both the magic and mundane'. And although the mundane doesn't take center stage in this online diary of mine, make no mistake - it certainly lives here! I'm starting to realise that sometimes life is about finding the magic in the mundane. That these two opposites can co-exist. 

That we can all live a life less ordinary.

52 comments :

  1. Claire! BEAUTIFUL!!! Every single drop of this post . I am in love. I know exactly what you see / mean / feel. It live life in that 'glow' and see it everywhere, strive to see it everywhere. I thought it was because of my 'past youthful shennigans ;-)' which 'taught' me to see the magic... but I think it's always there, you just gotta see through the mundane.. xxxx big kiss babes x

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  2. So, so beautiful, Claire, both the words and those incredible images. It's why I love visiting here - your vision, and the way you express it. Thank you x
    PS Are you seeing your teenage daughter in the third pic from the bottom?

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    1. Teenage Lalie - absolutely! You hit the nail on the head... I was wondering why I was so drawn to that portrait of her! Thanks Greer :) x

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  3. I love your perspective Claire; it's one that I strive for too. You call it magic and I call it beauty - it's always there, even under the enormous washing pile. I've already told you but these shots are luminous ... as for making the third-from-the-bottom b+w - good choice. I can see Lalie now, her wise little face reflecting her Muma x

    ps. I just showed Daniel this post. He's reading to bring his camera north...oh the filmic shots he could get! x

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  4. Lovely words and crazy beautiful images Claire.
    P.S I'm lucky to see a hairdresser once a year. x

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  5. Absolutely beautiful, the photos but especially your words really speak to me right now, thank you for writing this lovely post.

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  6. I'm in love.......you have put a beautiful spin on my day, going out to find the magic. Beautiful images Claire.

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  7. The photos do look magical. It is a wonderful gift you have for seeing the beauty in the ordinary and for taking the time to stop & enjoy a beautiful moment when others would have kept driving. Thanks for reminding us to do the same.

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  8. my goodness claire, these are some of THE most beautiful images I have seen. magic, absolutely. for those of us with young children, I think sometimes there feels to be more mundane in our everyday, than not. I wholeheartedly agree that looking for the magic in the mundane is what makes the days special. your words are just..? I don't even have any words - for your words! you're a writer, claire. and a ridiculous photographer. I'm going to book my haircut ;) xx

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    1. Thank you so much, Tahnee! Yes...book that haircut and enjoy a couple of hours of blissful YOU time! x

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  9. These shots certainly are magic. Truly x

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    1. Tim! If only I had thought of this place when you came to visit! Next time! :) x

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  11. You've certainly captured mundane beautifully Claire. These photos are magical. You are very talented. And ahh the haircut thing, same here but finally going this week after way too long in between cuts.

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  13. i so enjoy this space. you have a wonderful talent claire - with both words and pictures, thank you for sharing it with us. i think i shall bookmark this post as it is such a good reminder. these moments we look back on where the 'magic' was captured is why we will someday call them 'the good old days'.

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  14. what beautiful lights, tones and emotion captured in your photos. I love the idea of magic around us. I am new to the blogosphere and loved stumbling across your blog. You write with as much magic as you reflect in your images.

    Lisa

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! And welcome to blog-land :) x

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  15. sheesh. magic indeed.

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  16. Well said Claire. And BEAUTIFUL images. You have a real talent. :)

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  17. These pictures are just beautiful, thanks for sharing them.

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  18. Oh Claire, your words are as beautiful and magical as the pictures. Such truth in what you write, I can really identify with everything you say.

    And Lalie is divine. Where is her dress from? And that B&W picture...she looks so grown up suddenly.

    Always a pleasure to pop by your space and read something inspirational xx

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    1. Thanks Nell! Eulalie's dress is by Sydney label 'mamapapa' (the designer is French)... purchased when I was only 4 months pregnant! I must have known she was a girl! xx

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  19. Breathtaking! And your words have touched my soul. SO very true and so very needed at the moment. Thanks so much for sharing not only a slice of you beautiful little family's world but also for speaking right to the very heart of me. :)

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  20. Beautiful words and beautiful photos.

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  21. Claire these photos are so incredibly beautiful ! xx

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  22. the photos are stunning and the words a nice reminder, thanks for sharing x

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  23. Claire I so needed to read this post...such beautiful words that certainly ring true in our home.
    These shots are absolutely stunning, you have such a great eye!
    x

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  24. WOW Claire, I LOVE your approach to life... you do always share the most glorious images and I'm glad you choose to show the magic in your life. It IS definitely what you make of it. And these shots are spectacular... lucky Lalie, to have a Mama who captures such beautiful memories for her xo

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  25. Beautiful. I had to come by again this morning to have a look. Love these photos and your magical and mundane life. Thanks for sharing it.

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  26. Lovely and amazing!!

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  27. Stunning - so perfectly captured x

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  28. Truly a field of dreams. Lalie looks like she has stepped into another world, a world of magic and endless possibility. Absolutely beautiful ...
    Katie

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  29. i love this claire. so true that our blogs can be the pretty. the world gives us enough of the other at times. i love the magic you find...keep it coming, inspires to no end. xx ashley

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  30. I love your words Claire. You are something special. xx

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  31. That dress! Oh that little dress is heaven! These pictures are mesmerizing Claire, definitely a little magical too :)

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  32. amazing photos and beautiful, honest words.

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  33. I'm a Townsville girl too and I knew straight away where you were. How wonderful that beautiful light can transform such a shambles into a delightful enchanted garden. And Eulalie and that dress - just dreamy....all that's missing is a photo with you in it..

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  34. beautiful words and pics Claire.
    it all looks so magical and even though I know people's lives are not all sunshine and magic I love switching off and enjoying the magical moments.
    keep on creating such beauty ♥

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  35. I love your perspective Claire. I need a little bit more of this in my life at the moment, and you've given me a bit of a gentle reminder to find the magic in my day. x

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  36. beautiful snaps Claire and I love this post! it is so true...magic in the mundane! Wonderful sentiment and thanks for sharing xx

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  37. Such magical images - wow. And so true - life can look pretty, but the reality can be sort of mundane. But right now, I am loving your pretty.

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  38. Magic really does exist, Claire and I am grateful for gifted souls like yourself who capture it so beautifully.

    x

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  39. Oh lady, wowsers. SO amazing. Photos, words, everything. Kellie xx

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  40. I adore this post; your words, your photos, the sentiment...

    you write and share with honesty and grace--it's inspiring.

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  41. Oh my god this photos are amazing. I´m really out of breath

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  42. Hi Claire. I just discovered your blog via the comment you left on Cup of Jo. I read your comment and thought it was me writing! I live in Melbourne and I have just come back from NYC travelling with my husband and 20month old son. NYC is full on with a toddler, I wish you happy travelling. I am enjoying blog, and I am so pleased I found another "Claire" blog to read :)

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  43. What a delight to read your post pot, I cme across your blog through pininterest. I think we all a bit ordinary we just like to try and put ourselves in extraordinary places/situations.

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  44. these photos are gorgeous - well done finding the magic in the mundane x

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  45. That sunlight! The lighting is absolutely beautiful! Shoots like this are so hard to come by in Sydney. Where IS this magical field anyway?

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - it really means so much. I will try to reply where I can! xx