West Coast born and bred, Siri Thorson's photographs pervade those rich, opaque recesses of ones inner most province. All together, they feel like a stash of memories kept so close to one's chest that the cellulose has become laden with fingerprints and furrows.
Her approach to styling is as purposeful as her intuitive sense of nature, colour and proportion, unveiling the marriage of light and placement evidenced on her site sirithorson.com and famed blog Ringo Have a Banana. It's all in the nuances and it makes you want to tell this woman your secrets. The imagery so sublime it simultaneously makes you want to pry, to know exactly what it felt like, the moment that picture was captured.
Where did you grow up and how did that shape your formative years stylistically?
I was raised on a tiny, rural island off the coast of Washington State, where my family runs a small organic farm on 20 acres of wet, green forest, marsh and pasture land. For much of my childhood I ran pretty wild, climbing trees, riding my bicycle, and spending whole days in the barnyard with sheep, chickens and feral kittens as my playmates. At the same time I was fascinated by beautiful clothing and costumes. This is absolutely where the seeds of my current style took root, and was the beginning of my love of mixing elements of masculine and feminine, hard and soft, and pretty well explains why I currently prize a pair of vintage suede platforms as much as a men's Eddie Bauer fedora.
Tell us a little about the places you've traveled to, are they reflective of your aesthetic and sensibilities?
All I've ever wanted to do is travel. My first real visits outside of the US were with my family to the UK between the ages of ten and seventeen. Those trips were incredibly formative and absolutely cemented my love of British style, culture and history. In the last few years, I've been truly fortunate to check several locales off my dream list: Japan, Scandinavia, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey in particular. I absolutely connected to something in all these places, whether the clash of clean orderliness and absolutely over-the-top neon kitsch in Japan, the minimalist lines and deep affection for the natural world in Denmark, or the history-steeped, crumbling glory (and cat lovers paradise!) that is Istanbul.
Tell us what you love about New York and what you could live without. Where would you like to explore next?
New York is exciting. Strange, wonderful, bizarre, unbelievable, magical things happen here every day and every night and more often than not they happen entirely by accident. It took a few years, but New York is also where I found some of my very best friends in the whole world. New York is also dirty, rotten, stinking, oppressive, relentlessly competitive, expensive as hell, and truly, absolutely exhausting. I want to live somewhere in Europe for a time in the not too distant future - London? Paris? Just so long as I have access to Ryanair, it doesn't so much matter.
How have you been spending your days of late? Take us through your typical weekday & weekend.
Lately I've been working six days a week at two jobs, essentially paying penance for being only semi-employed/freelance for the last couple of years, so I'm having trouble remembering what a "typical" day was ever like, let alone having an actual weekend! That said, out-of-the-norm has pretty much been the norm for the last few years. If there's one thing I've found, it's that New York forces you to diversify.
What's involved in your creative process? How do you like to work?
I love taking photos. I feel real control behind a camera, and that feels special and wonderful. I love colors, framing and mise-en-scene, and I care deeply about small details (and am constantly infuriated by people who don't!) I like to work alone, and I like to work quietly. I love to have something physical in front of me to show for a days work (I wish this could happen more often.)
Describe your ideal project, collaborators and workspace.
One of my favorite projects to date was shooting jewelry designer Erin Considine at work in her sweet little studio in Brooklyn for Got a Girl Crush Magazine. It was just me and her and my faithful Canon AE-1 Program and abundance of warmth, tools and afternoon sunlight. It was very much an ideal project - personal, straight forward, dependent primarily upon myself, as well as satisfying the natural voyeur in me. And in terms of my own workspace, my one requirement is heaps of natural light. I fade and shrivel without it.
Can you tell us a little about what you're working on at the moment?
My blog these days has become primarily a space to share my travel photos, which is always an on-going project - I'm headed home to Washington in January and plan on bringing along some black and white film for a change and a challenge. I'm also excited to be working with a friend of mine who is a freelance floral designer, and I'll be attending a wreath-making class she's teaching which I'm very much looking forward to.
Who are the artists/authors/auteurs/albums that have most influenced you.
Egon Schiele, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ernest Hemingway, Wes Anderson, Hal Ashby, The Magic Flute, Lennon/McCartney, Harvest, Pet Sounds, White Blood Cells, White Light/White Heat, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust - nothing earth shattering, but I would not be who I am or where I am without all of these things.
What are your everyday essentials, ensemble, beauty, health, inspiration?
My everyday essentials are fresh air, light, animals, plants, trees, and books.
My go-to ensemble is a pair of pegged trousers, a sturdy heel, a silk button up tucked in and not much else if I can help it. I've been faithful to Maybelline Full 'n Soft mascara for many years now. NARS Carthage lipstick is a favorite for going out in the summer.
I love food almost as much as I hate exercise for exercise sake, so it's a good thing I love healthy foods most of all - a really good plain, tart yogurt and fresh fruit, organic vegetables, a range of nut milks and grains (newest obsession: farro!) and Japanese ingredients like umeboshi, tobiko and red miso paste. I buy organic and local as much as possible; food is one of the few areas where I absolutely refuse to cut corners on quality to save pennies.
My everyday inspiration is my grandmother who, at the age of 89, still lives alone in a beautiful home on the island where I grew up, drives a truck, chops wood, gardens, loves Scrabble and true adventure stories and writes me the sweetest emails reminding me of the changing of the seasons and all best the community gossip.
What have you been coveting?
A really ace pair of black ankle boots that don't cost two weeks wages. A winter coat that is any color but black. Hats, hats, hats.
How has your taste evolved? What did you like as a child, in high school, college?
As a child, I loved books and I loved magic and I loved the past. Growing up essentially as an only child, it was both very easy and very necessary for me to construct intricate fantasy lands for myself. Despite what I'll call my "Delia's catalog" period around middle school, I held on to this love of all things old and strange through high school. By senior year I was walking around looking like a 1960's stewardess one day and an 80's new wave art student the next, mostly by virtue of buying everything I owned secondhand and not really knowing any better.
I've always been a person who looks back. It's a fact that I was born exactly 35 years too late. When the time came to go away for college, all I knew was that I had to get to California. The first time we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, I insisted that we play a cassette of "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" that I had painstakingly taped off my favorite oldies radio station. I was trying desperately to connect with a past that I felt I belonged to, through music, clothing, movies. It was a very awkward and colorful time.
I think moving to New York definitely helped me refine and tone down my style, though that's also just been a part of growing up I guess. Moving six times in five years has forced me to jettison any excess closet baggage. My taste skews more towards The Gentlewoman than Haight Ashbury or historical fiction these days, but I am still very, very much that morose, nostalgic child at heart.
What next? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I have no idea. But that's how I like it.
Philosophy on life and love?
Always do the thing that scares you the most. I HOPE to someday be able to call that my philosophy, in the meantime, I'm working on it every day.