The Quiet Eye

Photo by Rachel Short

I’m going to be honest; after shopping and racking my brains for gift ideas for weeks, I’m a little bit burned out when it comes to talking about products. I wanna tune in and drop out. But I don’t want to use psychedelics. And I don’t want to think about anything heavy like cultural changes and social hierarchies. So really, I suppose I just want to drop out without any particular political message implied.

All of this is to say that I’m feeling rather quiet this week. The weather’s squarely gloomy, there’s a handsome chill in the air, and all of my shopping is complete. I’m thinking sleepy thoughts and embracing all things sluggish.

I’ve also been interested in photography. I know next to nothing about photography– it’s a medium I’ve never tried– but I’ve found myself more and more drawn to it as a style inspiration. Recently I was asked to judge a photographic contest called “The Olympics of People Watching” at the Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco. My job, along with the other judges, was to choose work (submitted in sets of 10) that displayed a strong eye. I’ve been told that I’m pretty judgmental, so this was an ideal exercise for me! Long story short, what I’ve realized is that sometimes looking at work with a clear and strong voice can be equally, if not more, inspirational when it comes to inspiring new personal style ideas. A compelling photograph can create a world in which you can imagine yourself. Then you wonder, “what would I be wearing?” It’s fun.

Take the above photo of Alcatraz, by Rachel Short. I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind all week. I keep thinking about how I’d love to be wearing all cream and heavy knits, maybe a rucksack. Landscape photos can stir as many thoughts of fashion maybes as a magazine spread.

These pieces by Todd Hido always hold my gaze. I wonder how I’d fit into their stories. What I’d have on my head…what music I’d be listening to… glasses for driving…mittens…etc.


Untitled, Todd Hido



Home at Night, Todd Hido


Title Unknown, Todd Hido


As I said, I’m feeling sort of quiet. So I think I’ll just post a few more and let you find yourself in them. Or not. For most of these I recommend silk under things, cotton and wool. It’s Winter, after all– melancholy abounds.


Gull's Nest, Isle of Skye, Bill Brandt, 1945



Snicket at Halifax, Bill Brandt, 1948



A House on a Hill, Hollywood, Diane Arbus, 1963


Eaux d'artifice, Job Piston, 2007



Arctic Balloon Expedition, artist unkown



There you have it. May you have sleepy thoughts and a quiet eye for the rest of the week.


About Michael von Braithwaite

Does it look like I'd wear it on a boat, at an eccentric person's estate or accompanied by a peacock on a chain? Yeah, I'll probably buy that.

One comment

  1. Leo Plass

    I feel similarly overloaded. Thank you for the relaxing photos. Though they did make me want a whole new gloomy cold seaside wardrobe.

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