synonym journal

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I remembered getting upset when somebody mentioned the word 'contrived' at a photoshoot one day. I didn't understand the word and, because English is not my first language, at the time I found it a really condescending word. I googled it and even asked my Australian husband it's meaning. Now I understand that it isn't condescending, it's actually an accurate description of a lot of what I'd been seeing lately including mine.

After weeks of soul searching I finally decided the direction I wanted my photography to go. A part of this soul searching was a rampage of deleting some wedding photographers I was 'friends' with in Facebook and also in Twitter. I deleted a whole lot of noise, a whole lot of boring 'sameness' or a whole lot of competition as to who can shoot the highly styled wedding.

In a sense I was getting very agitated, very uninspired and very bored of it all. So I looked at photographers outside of the wedding industry and was instantly refreshed by the amazing photographers who capture images for their simplicity, honesty and never contrived.

Welcome Synonym Journal. "A project began out of boredom from mental and visual exhaustion. Realisation of feeling lost in our former 'escapes.' Something had changed: shiny magazines and blogs were still fun, but less potent." This general observation answered my longing to simplify and slow down the amount of information we take day in and day out.

Don't expect highly styled images in this journal but rather curated works of artists and writers who challenge you to think, rather than just expect you to flick through a magazine for it's design and photographs. For me Synomym Journal is like watching a French subtitle film, hard to understand yet enigmatic, artistic and evokes wonder.

Design wise? It made me question it's aesthetics. I like things carefully placed in a layout. In a way I kind of find that it doesn't make sense but after some time with it I found that I do like it… because once again it's challenging my thought process, it's purposely designed like an abstract art, a mixed medeia collage, but simple with an honest beauty.

Here's a few of my favourite Synomym Journal essays:

'Things I Like' by Leah Finnegan I liked that the answers are weren't edited to what people would like to hear. Honest. I love the random dislikes: period dramas, mayonnaise, running, French food or fluffy pillows.

'Brian W. Ferry' In every sense speaks true to heart

'In Transit' by Debbie Carlos her photo essay made me missed catching public transport and the luxury of daydreaming 'in transit'.

'Expectational ennui' by Jessica Stanley & Victoria Hannan "Perhaps without external validation in the form of a book deal or exhibition, the only thing keep us creating is how awful we feel when we don't." Finding out other creatives pondering the same question I've been wondering about these last few days. I found myself questioning the style of images I like to capture whilst thinking Brian Ferry's words versus the number of repins on 'perfectly styled image' in Pinterest. Trying to analyse, study and finding the happy medium.

Synonym Journal is a biannual print journal created by Amelia Giller & Leigh Patterson. Issue 1 is printed in a limited edition of 300 copies only.


  1. such a great review (and personal reflection), luisa.

    clicking over to order a copy now...

  2. this makes me happy that my photos of food with dishes in the background are acceptable ;)

  3. I love it too .... thanks for tip, I received mine a couple of weeks ago.
    What a great review Luisa, I'm right with you on the "slow" theme XXX

  4. Thank you, Luisa, for sharing. Agreed and on board completely: I stepped away from all noise and distraction about a year ago - as a result, my creativity sparked, I was more energetic, I saw details clearer, and my list seems endless. It's a matter of turning your attention to more worthwhile interests, you have to say 'no' in order to say 'yes'!

  5. What a beautiful piece of writing Luisa! Love you! xxx

  6. I adore your thoughts here. Thank you for sharing them with us. I too find all the noise and sameness too much and take steps to check myself all the time to ensure i'm not overwhelmed or stifling my own creativity. I decided a while ago that I didn't want a home full of equipment, props etc or a diary full of commitments just for the perfectly styled shot. I wanted photography to feel like a natural extension of me and my life. I prefer it that way, it feels more simple and genuinely enjoyable. I find that by clearing away the noise (on hiatus from twitter now and just can't seem to like it even when I try) has made my thoughts and visions come through clearer and then I see more of who I truly am. Love this post.

  7. Luisa, I really enjoyed reading this. I too was taken back (in a good way) by Synonym when it arrived on my doorstep. I spent a good while just looking at the pages - really looking. And trying to take it what I was looking at and trying to explain to myself why I loved that style so much. And you're absolutely bang on when you say about how it makes you think! That's it! It made me think, and realise that there's so much silly competition and ego out there that I can really do without. I love the abstract nature of this journal and it's something I strive for in my work all the time. It used to upset me when people wouldn't 'get' it, but now, so long as I get it, then I know it's from my heart and that's what I NEED to be producing. Wow, sorry for such a long rambling comment, but I really enjoyed this post of yours so much.

  8. I love this direction you have taken and agree on the 'sameness' that is out there. Sometimes you have to do work to pay the mortgage, but it's great to shoot something that gets you excited. And if someone else likes it, that's just a bonus.