Friday, 2 November 2012

stylist & author amanda talbot







Amanda Talbot has worked across several sectors of the design industry. She's been an associate editor for Elle Decoration UK and homes editor for Living Etc. She's also been a design consultant, which has seen her work with Karl Lagerfeld and Ilse Crawford, and a trend forecaster for Ikea. When she returned to Australia two years ago Amanda was a judge on Channel 9's Top Design. More recently she has been working as a stylist for various magazines and just released her first book, Rethink (Murdoch Books).

Which five words best describe you? Curious, adventurous, determined, creative, random. 
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My career started when I was lucky enough to assist an art director at Saatchi & Saatchi, in Sydney on the David Jones catalogues. From there I got to assist some of Australia's best stylists. It was so long ago now. I actually had telephone books in my car to help me source props. From there I went out on my own and eventually Katie Page who was about to launch Domayne asked me to style shoots for her new venture. I was lucky to style for all the big advertisers including Myer, Sheridan Nike and the Australian Olympics. The adventurous and curious side of me took me to Los Angeles and London and this is when architecture and design took over my life. I have been lucky to work on Livingetc and British ELLE Decoration magazine, consult on interiors for Studioilse and trend forecast for some of the worlds largest brands including IKEA. 
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Never to give up. When someone says you are not good enough prove them wrong
What’s your proudest career achievement? Rethink: The Way You Live is a project I am really proud about. When I received the first copy I couldn't stop hugging it. It is a beautiful book, filled with inspiring individuals who prove good design can change our lives.
What’s been your best decision? Wow so hard to say because the good and bad have made me into who I am. Someone made a comment on one of my Instagram pictures the other day "Random but Amazing". It kind of sums up my life. 
Who inspires you? The online community have been a huge inspiration to me. It has been an awakening. I have watched over the last few years people with very little experience create amazing businesses, projects and connections from blogs and twitter. Those people have inspired me and I guess this is how the book came about. I have two chapters dedicated to my new heroes in my book "Optimistic Design" and "Create & Control".
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about the home and I am obsessed how the power of good design can change our mood and can actually allow us to live a happier and healthier life. I hate to dictate styles or looks. I am a believer in understanding and exploring rituals in the home and how to make it easier to experience them.  
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Easy and obvious - it has to be Charles and Ray Eames. I adore the relationship they had with each other and their belief in letting the masses enjoy good design. I was lucky to meet their grandson Eames Demetrious at a party in Sydney last year. I still haven't visited the Eames House, Case Study house No.8 yet. Next visit to LA I will be there. 
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I have two. I want to be an editor on an interior magazine, and I dream to design a product range for the home.
What are you reading? The architecture of happiness by Alain De Botton

Book questions
How did you arrive at the concept for the book? In 2009, my life changed. I left my job on a high-profile interiors magazine with no plans what to do next. I had fallen out of love with shelter magazines. I could no longer connect with the content because they didn't relate to the way I lived. I didn't have any friends with a glossy home filled with expensive furniture. My home was filled with IKEA, Habitat, flea market finds, press gifts and handmade bits and bobs. Another factor also came into play: the global economy crashed, friends lost their jobs and I was feeling scared and overloaded. I began spending hours online reading blogs and looking at Flickr, discovering how people of all ages from all corners of the world were living inside their homes. What I saw was that 'home' was very different from the conventional ideas we have of what a home is. I became fascinated how strangers used their beds and bedrooms, how people sat in a chair, how teenagers were photographing their personal spaces. Before I knew it, I was documenting living trends that were happening across the globe. 
What was involved in the creation process? After I observed there has been five big factors that have rocked our world - including the environment, economy, technology, terrorism, and China - that have really affected us globally I looked at how those changes have changed how we live inside our home and our communities. I discovered there were these mavericks who had reacted to the Big Five and set their own rules and have come up with incredible design ideas to live a better life. When I found who I wanted in the book, Mikkel Vang and I travelled to Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Melbourne and Sydney to photograph and interview the people who can give us hope for our future. 
How long did it take to come together - from concept to first copy? I guess I was documenting ideas for the book in 2009 when I started my blog SnOOp but it wasn't until I moved back to Australia mid 2011 that the idea came to me. I signed the contract at the end of September 2011 and we started to photograph the book in November. I had to have a completed first draft with all pictures in by 31st January. OMG! I still can't work out how I did it. Kate Dennis the designer for RETHINK  was a superstar. She had so many images to work with and somehow she pulled it all together. 
How did you envisage the look of the book? The subjects and statistics in RETHINK will challenge and hopefully inspire you - so I wanted the look of the book to do the same. 
What was unexpected about the whole experience? After finsihing the book I realised the one thing all the people featured in the book wanted was happiness and each of them found it in different ways. I want my next book to be called HAPPY.

book shot by daily imprint - book courtesy of amanda talbot (author), mikkel vang (photographer), murdoch books (publisher)

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