Kara and I became friends a million years ago because of an online purchase and the fact that the world is smaller than crop tops were in the early 2000s. What started out as a shared appreciation for beautiful clothing- and I mean any beautiful clothing, whether vintage, second-hand, local, designer or just so damn bad that it circles right back round to good again- turned into a friendship that’s since stretched over both years and continents. Although our friendship and its dynamics have changed over time, the love, support, creativity, care and collaboration that come with it have not. It’s this type of friendship (the kind which words are just too limited to do justice to) that not only inspired the direction in which we took the shoot but is also something I’ve realized has become synonymous for me with the brand Hunter Gatherer itself.
ART DIRECTION & STYLING:
While this shoot was still in its infancy, bouncing to-and-fro between the wide worlds of instagram inspo, whatsapp chats and pintrest boards, I became stuck on Lana Del Rey’s cover of a 1966 hit song by Donovan. Admittedly, I’d never heard the original Season of the Witch before, but by the time we were done I was obsessed with both versions and completely incapable of separating the shoot from the song title.
Up until the last few decades of cinema and television, the stereotypes accompanying the word ‘witch’ have been pretty negative- they’ve been written into both history and fiction as ugly old hags and immoral womxn, consorts of evil to be feared, hated and then violently prosecuted. Times have changed, and the idea of the witch has become far more multifaceted, coming to symbolize elements of feminism, femxle rebellion, independence and strength, among other things.
This shoot looked at strong, supportive femxle friendships and their role in the constant emotional ebb and flow of keeping the creative dream alive, portrayed through our own re-imagining of the witch. The witch as a womxn who loves and supports womxn, who turns madness into art, who respects nature and is aware of their impact on it and responsibility towards it, a womxn who is in touch with themselves and in touch with others, a womxn who dances naked in the full moon light or chooses not to, a womxn who chooses sustainability, who chooses health, who chooses well or forgives themselves for not doing so, a womxn who plays and who cares and who feels, a womxn who is unapologetically true to themselves.
When our creative team came together to bring this shoot to life, it felt more like a group of old friends playing dress up than it felt like work. Some of us had met never met before, some of us had been cross-continentally connected or brought together a couple of lifetimes ago (hello high school) and some of us had known each other for longer than we’d been alive but regardless of how we met, this idea was instantaneously present across the board. I write about the cliché of loving and supporting your friends unconditionally because it is something that stays important, no matter how many times you hear it. Like a well thrifted pair of denim jeans, there’s a timelessness to this kind of friendship; with care it can last a lifetime. It’s something universal and simultaneously unique, it’s a special kind of thing that I like to believe is magic.
Kara Pepler at Hunter Gatherer @hunter.gatherer
Art Direction & Styling:
Janelka Lubbinge @_melkweg_
Hair & Makeup:
Michelle Moolman @mich.mua
A special thank you to Nanette Ranger (@nanetteranger) for allowing us to play in your garden and home.