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John Hardy + Earth Day

I‘ve been thinking about Earth Day coming up tomorrow and how much more conscious we are of the globe now thanks to air travel, digital technology and the speed of communication. When I think about the Earth, certain words or earthly elements pop into my mind: Water, Plants, Animals, Wind, Earth, Sound, Gravity, Light, and Humanity. I wanted to put these earthly words into a visual photographic story while also telling the story of one of the most “GREEN” luxury brands and conscious companies out there.

John Hardy, the sustainable luxury jewelry brand based in Bali, thinks about their approach and place in the world in a 360-degree way. For example, all the silver jewelry is made from reclaimed silver which can come from a variety of places, such as old jewelry, computers and refrigerators! They believe they can produce a luxury product that is in harmony with our environment; instead of pulling more out of the earth and continuing to strip our natural resources, they want to use what is already out there.

In Bali, the jewelry is handmade by local jewelry artisans, who have centuries of passed-down knowledge and expertise in craftsmanship. The company knows how important these people are and goes to great lengths to take care of them, providing organic meals for their artisans and a single mother initiative that allows women to work from home in order to care for their child. Together the designers and artisans collaborate to make what ultimately is the distinct look of John Hardy.

When I was interviewing them at their New York City offices about the company philosophy, the passion simply poured out of the team. The pieces I ended up shooting below are all from the Bamboo Collection - this is significant to point out, as these pieces are part of an initiative. For every piece purchased from this collection, one or more bamboo trees are planted with help for forest management and water preservation. This year to date, John Hardy has planted 900,000 bamboo seedlings, which is 6 times the size of Central Park. In honor of Earth Month in April, John Hardy will donate 20% of all Bamboo Collection sales made on JohnHardy.com to support Trees New York which goes to funding a project where the John Hardy team will plant evergreens in the middle of West Harlem with the idea of creating a canopy effect to help filter the air and, in winter, add color to our gray days.

We are all beginning to become conscious consumers. I talked about that a bit in my personal style post: supporting brands that give back. John Hardy is all about what they call “Sustainable Luxury” which breaks down to Culture, Community, Commerce and Care.

Care - Giving back and especially giving back to nature for a “greener every day“.
Culture - the John Hardy Family. Supporting the collaboration between designers and artisans and the preservation of the Balinese art forms and traditional french jewelry making processes.
Commerce - Creating a profit to sustain their initiatives and give back while connecting with consumers and educating them on what their products do beyond the monetary exchange.
Collaboration - Taking care of their the employees either through organic meals, enabling single mothers to work, providing amazing health care to supporting the local orphanages and communities of Bali.

So here is to our Mother Earth and all the gifts she gives us. May we have, as John Hardy says, a Greener Every Day and be the example of a new kind of balance. While photographing the concepts of these earthly elements, I asked our model to come completely barefaced, non-styled hair and bare nails. I wanted this to be about natural beauty, the natural beauty of us… the natural beauty of earth ~

WATER

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Above Gold Knot Ring / Below Silver Link Necklace 

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Below Silver Rope Necklace 

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PLANTS

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Caroline Ventura

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As an artist there are some people who I LOVE photographing. I could photograph them everyday. There is something about their beauty, bone structure, and spirit I love to capture, that my eye finds fascinating and wants to study them over and over. This is the case for jewelry designer Caroline Ventura who is one of (along with Heather) my muses. I first met Caroline on a shoot for Cup of Jo three years ago and we have been friends ever since. Did you know she was the first cinemagraph we ever shot? We just never tired editing it until AFTER our first public one. She was the first person I photographed at our old studio and this shoot is our first together at our new one.

We are both artists and we have known each other as photographer + subject for sometime now. I’ve shot Caroline beautifully, I’ve shot her COOL, but as we have been getting older we are looking to find more depth in our work. I’ve been wanting to focus less on the clothing in my personal shoots these days and more on the beauty of the female form. Caroline and I were going to meet up for dinner and I said, hey, let’s do a shoot before we head out, which eventually turned into a night of film photographs, margaritas, girl talk, and these moments below.

… and just for fun I asked Caroline a series of fill in the blank questions just for a new take on an old friend.

I am most inspired by…

My friends. I’m so lucky to have an incredible circle of talented friends who all support each other and push one another to do/create beautiful things.

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An ideal day for me is…

When I can see blue skies. As long as the sun is shining, anything can be thrown my way.

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My favorite artist is…

Lia Chavez, who is doing really beautiful things in the art world right now. I am so fortunate to call her a friend. Her solo show, Carceri, just opened at Two Rams on the LES. She is one of the gentlest and most humble humans and a huge inspiration to me.

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The best way I express myself is…

With my mouth. I talk a lot.

Caroline_Ventura_25  New York City is…

Home. No matter where I go in my life it always pulls me back.

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Winter Whites

We are all flowers in the garden of the world, but she -

she is an orchid, pure and white and lovely,

a small blossom on willowy stem.

she blooms, and I am lost

in her delicate lines.

She breathes life into me -

I was adrift in winter;

she gives me the promise of spring.

Youthful yet wise,

elegant and profound,

I dream of the day I may see her again.

For what other flower can there be?

What other love?

None but my orchid.

above and below:  Zuhair Murad gown, Chopard bracelet

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Memories of Paris

We have started a tradition of traveling to Paris in the fall. It’s my favorite time to be there. The saturation of colors, the excitement of light layering and new autumn jackets, the light of the day is still long and the temperature is perfect for endless walks. This time in Paris we were guests of Ralph Lauren, to bring light to the new renovation project at the L’École des Beaux-Arts, experience “An American in Paris” and celebrate with a gala as sparkling as the Eiffel tower at night… but the other nights we sat at Pont Neuf and drank wine while watching the sun set, we walked the cobbled streets to film the city as she is today - still so timeless and beautiful -, we picked up treasures for our new studio at the flea market, and we had many amazing meals with friends we have made, friends who call this place home and open their life to us so that we can dream the dreams of Paris….

we are safe to

tell our story here.

(for a week spent floating in Paris,

every year.)

structure,

she has structure,

tough as any skyscraper

though no building here

is more than a few stories.

she has lore. 

she has a spirit

thousand of years in the making,

has a romance older than anyone’s memory,

anyone’s happy, lifelong marriage.

she has courage – our word that comes

from “coeur”, from heart.

she has dozens of parts,

arrondisements that speak to one another,

making something like a whole.

she has words

to spare.

she has

our complete trust.

~ Allan Andre

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