LUXE has teamed up with fragrance maven Lumira in a regular column exploring the nature of scent and the spirit of travel. This month, Lumira chats with Brisbane-based shutterbug, stylist and online entrepreneur Kara Rosenlund.
Photographer Kara Rosenlund’s simple, honest images have graced the pages of Australian Traveller, House & Garden and Elle Decoration among many other glossy mags. And while she’s a shutterbug first and foremost, the Brisbane native also flexes her creative flair as a stylist, designer, author and art director. We sat down with her to chat about Brisbane’s creative scene, how travel benefits the soul and her impressive 5am starts.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Firstly, I am a travel and lifestyle photographer. I started my own business when I was 20; it’s something that I have been lucky enough to travel the world with. Over the last couple of years, I have indulged in more quality pieces for the home. From there I have – with small steps – grown a small lifestyle collection of pieces, that I either love to wear or have within the home, and that’s how I started my online shop. The response has been lovely, which is really good.
What does a work day look like for you?
I usually get up between 5 and 5:30am and check emails and Instagram in bed. Depending on what day it is, I might go and do some exercise… which is a new thing for me. Or I will head to the studio. I’m usually in the studio by 7am and that’s where I can have an hour up my sleeve to be on top of everything before the day starts. From then it will be shooting, driving to a location, talking to my printer about orders that have come in overnight and organising custom print orders.
If it’s not like that, then I’m away in the middle of the bush. I will still get up at 5am for the light and then work all the way through to the last light of the evening. In the morning, I find that’s my calm time where I can just take it easy, get a good handle on things that have come through overnight, without the distraction or the buzz. If I don’t have that, it can go a little haywire.
How does scent exist in your everyday life?
I absolutely love gardenias and have them in the front yard. At this time of the year, if I’m zipping out in the morning or quickly popping back home, I’ll just grab one and smell it as I’m driving towards the studio. I just love them – everything about them. To me, they smell like home. It’s a really calming fragrance.
Is there a scent that represents a specific time or place for you?
Gardenia reminds me of my childhood and when the seasons change. When summer starts to heat up… I just remember that fragrance being really heavy around that time. I also absolutely adore orange blossom. My husband – boyfriend at the time – and I went travelling to Morocco and that fragrance is just everywhere. It was so magical.
What do you love most about living in Brisbane?
My family – my mum and dad are here, which I love. Besides that, it’s a pretty easy city. I live fairly close to the airport; I’m 10 minutes to my studio and 10 minutes to town. There is just an ease to it. I really love the architecture – it’s charming and a bit of an old-school feel about it.
I feel as though Instagram has really helped the Brisbane creative community. In Brisbane, we drive everywhere. In my opinion, you don’t just bump into people because you’re always zipping around here, there, everywhere. There is a really strong undercurrent with the Brisbane creative scene that I am really impressed with. If you go back 10 years, everyone moved away to Sydney or Melbourne, but now, more and more people are staying in Brisbane. It’s kind of primitive like finding your own tribe. I just love it.
What role does travel play in your work or personal life?
Travel is really important to my business and to me personally. It offers so much perspective. It doesn’t have to be far flung places – it could just be hopping in the car and driving two hours. When you have your eyes open and your heart open to see and feel new things, it recharges you.
Where to next?
My next trip coming up is in three weeks when I am flying to Casablanca in Morocco. I will spend some time travelling around Morocco and then head over to Ethiopia. I was in Africa last year and I just loved it. I have been itching to get back, so this is it.
What are some of your favourite spots in Brisbane?
DRINK: Outside at Gerard’s Bar on James Street is perfect for a glass of rosè mid-afternoon. Maker in South Brisbane is a narrow, dark cave-like bar, with very impressive cocktails and evening elegance. When all the bars close I head to Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall in Paddington. It’s open until the early hours and serves good burgers. It’s a place where the music is loud and the timber floorboards get a beating from the dancing, and the gin is always cold.
SHOP: Paddington Antique Store and then Woolloongabba Antique Centre – I’m usually hunting for vinyl’s. I love playing old music. Of an evening, we will stay home and play our records, with a bit of cheese and a few glasses of wine.