At home with photographer Olivia Katz to talk about her morning rituals, staying connected in self isolation and her latest project; The Heart Atlas #liveinKIVARI
Tell us, where are you from? What bought you to Bondi?
I am originally from the US and moved to Australia in late 2019. I had lived in Los Angeles for 6 years and was ready for a big change of scenery. My LA cycle felt complete and I was craving more space, wilderness, adventure, fresh air, and new sights to inspire my creativity. So when a visa opportunity arose and offered me the chance to move to Australia, I jumped on it as fast as I could! Australia had always been a dream of mine and it felt like if ever there was a moment – it was now.
You work for yourself, from home, what is your morning ritual?
I do work for myself and from home (these days) although typically I would take my work to a coffee-shop to get out of the house or I might be on set shooting, so it is unusual for me to be home this much. But I am getting used to it and making the best possible use of this time as I can. I am also using it as an opportunity to dial more ritual into my days. And amp up self-care as that feels imperative in this climate right now.
When possible I try to get up early enough so that I can take a walk in the morning, grab a take out coffee from my favourite local coffeeshop and then do some yoga / strength training at home before sitting down to work.
I do find that fresh air and movement helps me get in the right headspace before working, especially now that I am working from home in self-isolation.
How are you feeling in the current world situation? What is your advice to others?
This is really not an easy time for most. It’s tumultuous, unknown, disorienting and a lot of people are facing a variety of challenges that I know can feel insurmountable.
If I am honest, I do feel like I am on a bit of an emotional roller coaster these days. Some days are better than others.
I recognize that I was flooding myself with the news and social media for about a month straight and realized that was really affecting my ability to stay creative and positive. While I do want to be informed, I also recognize that my sanity and health has to be my #1 priority – ESPECIALLY now.
I am now limiting the consumption of all media and especially news. I am also trying to be more mindful about not reading the news first thing in the morning or right before I go to bed.
My advice to others is reach out for support. Call your friends or loved ones. Reach out to folks you haven’t spoken to in ages. Get creative about this time we are being asked to stay home. Work on projects you had sidelined. Read. Write. Rest. Know that it’s ok to also not be ultra motivated 100% of the time. You don’t have to write a novel right now. Or become an Instagram star. Or get into the best shape of your life. Absolutely nothing wrong with those things but...we need to be gentle on ourselves. I think that this pandemic weighs on us even if we aren’t necessarily “thinking” about it, it’s there in our unconscious rolling around. And it’s not easy. Be kind to yourself. Ask yourself what you really need, and then try to give that to yourself. And when all else fails turn on Sex and The City and eat some ice cream. It’s all OK.
How do you keep yourself connected in social isolation?
I have been catching up with folks via zoom calls and facetime a lot more. I have been reaching out to some people who I haven’t spoken to in many years and that’s really delightful. Everyone is at home these days so people have time and that feels like a gift. In certain ways I feel more connected to some of my friends and family than I have in a long time.
I initiated a zoom dance party with my family last week and that was pretty awesome. My brother and sister in law zoomed in from Portugal along with my mum and dad in Washington D.C. We had a brief check in and then found a live streaming DJ on facebook and danced for 30 minutes together. It was actually pretty hilarious but I have been forbidden from sharing it on social media.
Your latest project, The Heart Atlas, tell us more…
The Heart Atlas is a new photojournalistic project I launched when I moved to Australia. It was something I have dreamed about creating since I was little and finally had the time and means to do so. It’s a project to raise awareness around issues that are close to my heart and tell stories that I feel need to be told. The focus of the project is to combat injustice, social inequality, humanitarian and climate issues as well as inspire folks through, hopefully some beautiful imagery. All the writing and photography is by me. I have met some incredible people through the project thus far and am excited to see how it evolves. I have a lot of big dreams for it and ultimately hope that it will be a vehicle for me to have a positive impact on the world and inspire others to do so as well.
I loved a lot of them but I think I’d have to say the Isabella Strappy Maxi Dress. Love me some frills and I think the fit of the dress is divineeee.