Ok, so we ARE on an island, where the main attraction is always and always and always the beach. I’ve seen so many beautiful beaches I’ve had the joy to share here with you, from the secluded Cumberland Island to the spectacular Virgin Islands and super popular beaches of Brazil… but this was new. Bali served up my first black sand beach. I couldn’t believe it, not a soul was there to witness the glory of a perfect sunrise. Golden light, black sands, colorful fishing boats, it’s so idyllic I still can’t believe it’s true… and I got to photograph it! So let’s start the week with the rise the of sun, with all the possibilities of the world washing over our toes…
So, why did we go all the way to Bali to shoot the summer campaign? The answer is simple if you look at the product. Cuyana is a fashion brand producing a limited, curated collection that aims to be timeless. They source manufacturers from all over the world – not because they want to find a way to be less expensive, but because they want to hire the best of the best. If you want to make a cashmere sweater, why not have the experts in Scotland, with their knowledge going back hundreds of years, create it? Or the perfect leather tote…who is amazing with leather? The artisans of Argentina.
Cuyana searches the world to find and support the creators, cutting out the middle man and selling the designs themselves in order to keep costs down and quality high. So to answer the question above – why did you go all the way to Bali to shoot this summer Cuyana campaign? Because all their new gold jewelry is handmade in Bali and what a place to be!
Yesterday we unlocked the key to Bali culture but that is only a fraction of the story…arguably many people come here for the awe of the island’s nature scene which is as lush and beautiful as the people themselves. I was awestruck by the endless vistas of rice paddies wrapping around the island’s mainland. The air is damp and thick, and in the early evening light, the view fills with mysterious blueish smoke from farmers’ fires, turning the look into a cinematic movie scene. It’s serene and beautiful and it’s only the beginning of Bali’s natural wonder…
Of course Bali has amazing resorts (remember the dreamy Amandari & serene Como Shambala?!…because I do!) but you can also rent awesome Bali homes like we did with the team from Cuyana. Just around the house, we found perfect rice fields and coconut trees. Our first morning there all we could do was wander around in awe of the early morning light.
Below: Anastasia wears Cuyana’s classic white oxford dress.
I’m finally back at the studio in New York after a month of whirlwind travel, literally around the globe and back a couple of times. It’s been great – incredibly beautiful at times, eye-opening at others. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and so much of what we have seen will be shared here over the next few months.
As I sit here at my desk in New York, I like to spin a small glass globe that sits by me, remember the places I have been, and dream about the ones I hope to visit one day. I look at the small Indonesian island of Bali literally halfway around the world from where I sit now and I can’t believe I was there; that you can just step on an airplane and hours later (be it A LOT of hours), here you are in a whole new world.
Traveling takes my breath away. I don’t know that I want to travel forever: it does take a toll on your body and having any sort of social life offline is nearly impossible. You miss birthdays and special events and you end up texting your friends selfies so they don’t forget what you look like…or that you exist. But for now, travel is my way of continuing my education – expanding my thoughts, seeing things you only read about in books and knowing what they feel like, taste like or sound like. Traveling has changed my opinion on religions, politics and environmental issues. It has made me look at cultures with a greater understanding that one is not better than the other, that you need way less in life then we have become accustomed to and the happiest people are the ones who base their life on love, family, and helping others. Traveling is teaching me the lessons I have yet to finish uncovering but that will shape how I tell stories in years to come.
One of my favorite brands, Cuyana with their simple and approachable everyday designs, took us to Bali to shoot their new summer campaign. It’s photoshoots like these I wish could last for days and days. Exploding the island with our model Anastasia who is also a photographer (that is her personal Leica) was a thrilling experience to share. I would stop and take a picture of her and when I was done she would stop and take a picture too. It goes without saying Bali took our breath away. Over the next few days I’ll share with you the culture, nature, and seashores of this very special place where two Western girls took travel to new places.
(click on any image to view larger!)