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Australian Serenity


Having spent over a decade absorbing the energy of New York City, I have recently returned to my Australian roots with a camera bag full of memories and ants in my pants toward getting my creative juices flowing. Surviving the relentless work ethic and nuances of New York City culture wasn’t just a journey; it was a crash course in resilience and adaptability. The challenges of navigating the city that never sleeps taught me invaluable lessons. Where every obstacle was a chance to learn, every setback a stepping stone.

With this newfound perspective, I recently embarked on a mission to capture something quintessentially Australian, blending my international experiences with the raw beauty of my homeland.

As a transplant in other places in the world, I’ve come to appreciate the distinctive viewpoint outsiders bring. Unlike those who’ve grown up surrounded by the everyday sights, transplants notice the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Bringing together talents from Mexico, New Zealand, Brazil, and the USA. Each member was handpicked, chosen not only for their expertise but also for their capacity to appreciate the subtle style differences that a city like Sydney has produced and the profound beauty of the landscape.

The afternoon really couldn’t have gone better. We did hair and makeup in a shared workspace called WOTSO in the iconic Barracks precinct and then casually made our way with a little help from one of my childhood BFFs down to North Head in Manly. The walk through the low bushland path is a perfect prequel to the reveal of the billabong that is all that is left over from the quarry that once existed on what is possibly one of the prettiest headlands on the planet.

While scouting the area prior, I’d tracked the sun’s path and timings. There was barely a cloud in the sky, a period of 2023 that had been feared for its erratic weather stayed mild, and other than a Currawong attempting to steal some of the stylist’s kit, nature was kind to us for an exceptional 3 hours, ending in what I can only imagine ‘Golden Hour’ is named after.

Julie Kei’s feather-like approach to the agreed hair and makeup styling was not only surprisingly fast, but it also fit Norma Chawla’s styling take on this ‘Elevated Outback’ theme as if they’d been practicing for months. Both of these exceptional ladies floated in and out keeping the girls looking like they’d just stepped off a fashion runway, weaving the wind-whipped coastal breeze into our narrative.

I was left with clear air to really compose, chase the light and shadows around the plateau and attempt to create something worthy of the lessons learnt during a significant period of my life.

I hope these images help to soften the contrast between the wild spirit of the Australian bush and the elegance of the human form.

Styling: Norma Chawla - @normsnormsnorms

Hair and Makeup: Julie Kei - @julie_kei

Production: Sofia Dunin - @trvecreative

Words and Photography: Ben Everden - @decentcrop

Models: Sabrina Moraes - @sabriina_moraes_ & Yasmin Christian @yasminchristian_ from Chadwick Models @chadwickmodels

Photo: @decentcrop

MUA: @julie_kei

Stylist: @normsnormsnorms

Prod: @trvecreative

Model: @sabriina_moraes_

Model: @yasminchristian_

Via @officialkavyar


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