new look at à l’allure garçonnière

guess who needed a change around here? i was getting a bit bored with my year-old layout, so i decided to jazz it up a bit. the header features a portrait of me taken by one of my best friends, salima punjani. we met in québec city back in 2009, and even though our lives have taken us in different directions (including some ups and downs) since then, we have always made our friendship a priority. from her traveling all the way from ethiopia to be at my wedding, to sending each other encouraging emails or letters whenever we can, we’ve kept the fire alive even when separated by oceans and borders.

a photograph i took of my friend salima pujani

salima in montreal, october 2012

not only is she a fantastic friend, but over the past few years she has been carving out her own space as a photographer. i’ve been lucky enough to see her talent grow firsthand, to receive cards featuring her latest vibrant photographs, and hang prints on the walls of my home. when we last saw each other this october, she asked if i was interested in participating in her portraits of potential series, since i had raved to her about what a great idea it was. of course, i jumped at the chance!

fueled by a desire to “help people realise their potential” through portrait photography, salima launched this project this summer:

These portraits are meant to reflect that what we desire already exists within, we are what we want to be. When I came back to Canada, I noticed people were feeling very disempowered by the economic crisis, giving up their highest goals out of fear.

My hope is that people will use these portraits as motivating factors, as reminders and reflections of their potential.

i do think they successfully accomplish that. while salima was taking these portraits of me in my walk-in closet, i was typing away on my typewriter in between trying on some of my favourite garments. why was i choosing to put on my very professional 1940s suit jacket, instead of a playful neon 1960s dress? how do the ways i choose to present myself relate to my goals and aspirations? which books did i want in the frame, explicitly feminist ones, or more fashion-oriented ones? the whole process really got me thinking about what i have achieved so far, what specifics are standing in my way, and how to overcome those roadblocks.  it didn’t feel staged, or posed: it felt like processing a lot of my conflicting feelings with a good friend.

portrait of julia in her walk-in closet/bedroom, taken by salima punjani as part of her portraits of potential series

in the end, this black and white one was salima’s favourite. some of the books stacked underneath my remington rand typewriter include:

shortly after our shoot, salima shared this image with me since i couldn’t make it to her opening in montreal. a huge blown up version of her favourite portrait from our shoot, alongside eight others. kind of surreal, to say the least!

Portraits of Potential by Salima Punjani on display at the launch of E-180 this October at La Cenne in Montreal. Photo credit Louis Lavoie

Portraits of Potential by Salima Punjani on display at the launch of E-180 this October at La Cenne in Montreal. Photo credit Louis Lavoie

all of this to say, i feel incredibly lucky to not only have people who support me no matter how lofty or unrealistic my goals are, but who will challenge and encourage me along the way. as lonely as i sometimes get now that a lot of my quebec city friends have moved away, it’s great to have moments like these where i remember how valuable they are, even if they don’t live down the street from me anymore.

check out her website for more of her great photography!

what do you think of the new design? check out the new links, tell me if you think i’m missing anything! love your feedback, as always.


Filed under politics, quebec city

7 responses to “new look at à l’allure garçonnière

  1. It looks great, and is such a nice reflection of the content. Also, your closet looks very impressive!

    • thanks so much tamera! i love your taste so that means a lot. also, i am totally spoiled rotten with my closet. it doubles as our guest room/laundry room/linen closet, but i really never imagined being able to indulge my love of clothing with my very own walk-in closet. my friend marika took a better picture of it here:

  2. Gah so many feelings!
    1. Your new layout is fantastic. Elegant and clean and lovely.
    2. You look like a Louise Brooks-esque babe in your wedding photos.
    3. I love love love Salima’s portraits of you! And the concept for that shoot is so beautiful. Can’t wait to check out the rest of her work.
    4. I have a crush on: a. you b. your closet c. your books
    5. YOU LINKED TO ME ON YOUR SIDEBAR?! (I ran around the house yelling to my roommates and then melted onto the floor. [aka I am super honored. yeesh.<3 ])

  3. Love love the new layout! The colour scheme is great. It’s very you 🙂 I’ve been working on a new layout for my blog, as well, but hesitating to install it just yet. And Salima’s photos of you are gorgeous.

  4. Fantastic portraits! Your friend is a wonderfully talented photographer.

  5. Also, Whitney Otto has written a new book called “Eight Girls Taking Pictures” The main characters are based on photographers such as Sally Mann and Lee Miller. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks promising.

  6. I love love LOVE that portrait with the typewriter. It captures the kind of ballsy determination I associate with people like Dorothy Parker so perfectly.

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