Lilli Boisselet is a Sydney based photographer and founder of The Lilli Boisselet foundation. We share a romance for film photography and slight obsession with The Avalanches.
How have you been coping with isolation and what aspects are you enjoying?
I’m used to travelling for work, so it’s been a significant life change, but it’s also been a beautiful moment of standstill. I would never have chosen that time for myself. Taking the time to sink deep into what is important to me has been something I’ve been sorely missing in my life. Isolation in nature has taught me humility, really getting back to simplicity and rawness.
Lilli wears the Smock dress
What are you working on? Personally? Professionally?
I live in my work, my work lives in me, I don’t really distinguish the two. I’ve been writing every morning, sculpting with clay and napping in the afternoons, then staying up late editing. I’ve become obsessed with the profiles of the kookaburras who come to visit us in the afternoons. I’ve been photographing them every day.
I enrolled in online short courses at MOMA on art history and I’ve been learning Swahili. It’s been beautiful to have the time for exploration rather than constantly pushing forward career wise. It’s been a luxury to be new at something, rather than have every day be pressured by expectation.
I’ve been working with a friend of mine on a new extension of the LB Foundation that doesn’t involve travelling to the communities we support, which is Love In The Time of Corona, a celebration of what it is to connect in intimacy as humans.
Can you tell us a bit about the Lilli Boisselet foundation and how it came about?
It’s an evolving concept. It started as a charity, but I learned in that - I don’t want to run a model of ‘us and them’, where we’re rich and they’re poor and we give and they say thank you. I wanted to run a company where we all meet as equals, so it’s been a bit of trial and error to work that out. We ultimately support women in developing communities through creative business opportunities. We had a project in Ghana planned for this year, but it’s on hold for now, fingers crossed for 2021. They are raw, imperfect projects that are grounded in reality and driven by heart.
Any rituals getting you through this time?
I’ve been hiking in the national park, there’s an incredible waterfall nearby that no-one really knows about. I had some resistance to staying in one place at first, but it’s a lovely soft shift to groundedness, we’ve been lucky in Australia to isolate in such a beautiful country. I just had an acupressure massage from Jessie at The Calmm in Bondi - she’s a tension-relief angel. I’ve been experimenting with essential oils - wattle and sandalwood are my current favourites - in a diffuser and mixed in coconut oil. My friend Monique just gave me an amazing new oil from her brand The Bloom Movement that I love.
Listening - I’ve been listening to early David Bowie demo tapes and lots of Otis Redding and Nina Simone. ‘Blues Run the Game’ by Jackson C Frank, ‘All Tomorrows Parties’ by Velvet Underground and the new album by The Avalanches - I have a crush on Robbie!
Reading - I usually travel with my suitcase half full of books, but in this time, I’m rereading my favourites - The Love Lives of the Artists by Daniel Bullen, Little Birds by Anais Nin, Sex at Dawn by Christoper Ryan and Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus. I just finished Following Fish by Samanth Subramanian, an amazing Indian author, it’s a thoughtful collection of stories from everyday people on his travels across his country. Next in line are Civilised to Death by Christopher Ryan and the controversial Story of O by Pauline Réage. And old issues of RUSSH Magazine in the bathtub with red wine.
Watching - The Joan Didion and Bob Dylan documentaries on Netflix, Seven Years in Tibet and Almost Famous.