LH Woman Series: Holly Graham

LH Woman Series: Holly Graham
Meet Holly Graham; Art Director, Photographer, business owner and LH Woman.
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do as well as about your business Siy Studio?
To be honest, I have forgotten how to answer that. This pandemic has thrown into question many things about who I am and how I have been living. It’s challenged the ideas I once had about what is important to me, (personally and professionally) and encouraged a deep dive into understanding myself. Like many others, I have had to somewhat re-sculpt what I do and shift the trajectory of my business. The essence of my work is still the same though; I am an art director/photographer with a creative practice, Siy Studio. 

We would love to know more about your creative journey. How did you develop your creative style, what inspires you and who are some creatives you look up to / find inspiration from?

I am influenced a lot by music, although I am not at all musical. I mostly find inspiration indirectly; as in, while I have a lot of admiration for other photographers/art directors, I find myself drawing more from the work of composers, poets, interior designers, filmmakers, painters... My personal style is a byproduct of all of these things. Almost unknowingly taking snippets of each of them and translating them into my work and way of life. While I love creating beautiful imagery, it feels more like a tool that allows me to weave what I love into what I do.

When describing your style the words refined, sophisticated and clean come to our mind, how would you describe yourself and your creative identity?

I’m chuffed you see me in that light. I think anyone else that’s been on a shoot with me would more likely say that I’m ‘a bit of a dag’ and I wouldn’t disagree. I really hope this isn’t reflected in the work I produce though! I think it is important to have a balance of the two in considered ratios. I’d probably describe my creative identity as holding a kind of intelligence that is meaningful without taking itself too seriously. 

What do you love about creating and directing? Can you describe the feeling you get when you are about to start on a new project?

I very much feel that my work is an extension of who I am. I feel alive when I am on a shoot, whether behind the camera or alongside it. I love being trusted with telling someone’s story or conceptualising a campaign and bringing an incredible team together to craft it. For me, the most rewarding part of the process is the end result. When I have had a moment to breathe and see the work from a little further away...it’s hard to recognise and appreciate what you’ve created when you’re too close to it. 

What are some of the steps you take to start visualising outcomes for projects?

It’s really very different for every project. I often start by listening to music. Then that puts me into the right frame of mind that I can strategise, as well as conceptualise — that’s important in my work. It’s not simply about crafting something that’s aesthetically stimulating, it has to make sense and speak a visual language that invites connection and conversation. The ideal outcome for any project is that it makes people feel something. 

Have you always wanted to be a creative or did you have a moment where you realised this was the route you wanted to take?

I think it was less of a conscious decision than it was an innate one. However, it took a long time for me to find the right place for this part of who I am...a very significant part of me. I always knew I wanted to be in the arts, even before I could actually grasp what that meant. I was 6 years old when I started working in the film and television industry and did my last job as a performer when I was 29. While I loved the experiences I had in entertainment, it never felt like I was being truly honest with myself about who I was. I knew I loved the creative industry, but I wasn’t connected to my role within it. The same year I ‘retired’ as a performer, I founded Siy Studio. It had been a slow transition for years prior to that though.  

 

You shot our Pillar Capsule campaign during Melbourne’s 4th Lockdown and had to do a bit or problem solving to make it happen but still created a stunning shoot! We’d love to know more about some of the hurdles you have faced throughout your creative career and how you’ve overcome them.

I’m answering this question in the third week of our 6th lockdown, so no hurdle in the past has felt quite as significant as the one we are currently roadblocked to jump over. In usual circumstances though, I don’t feel like I have been faced with any challenges out of the ordinary. I am quite solutions driven, so I never let a hurdle stand in the way for too long. Even if sometimes that means letting go of ideas that I have had my heart set on and reinterpreting them. 

You describe your creative direction as Empathetic with a focus on Human Connection. We’d love to know why? What is it that makes Empathy and Human Connection such pillars in your creative outcomes?

It is important to me that the work I produce is evocative in some way. I believe that all good design holds the human being at the centre; whether it be a piece of furniture, a space, a marketing campaign, item of clothing or music composition. The only way to achieve that is through empathy. We remember things that we are told and experiences we have because they have made us feel a certain way — curious, warm, happy, sad etc. When we feel something, we become emotionally engaged and it becomes meaningful, remembered...a conversation piece. 

We respect and admire your work so much and would love to know how you describe Lois Hazel, how do you see us through your creative lens?

I have always admired your transparency and dedication to producing pieces ethically and sustainably, without putting it on a soapbox. I believe, perhaps without even knowing it, you have been leading the way for other local labels to ask more questions and manufacture mindfully. Alongside your brand philosophy, you produce garments that make the wearer feel good — beautiful fabrics and timeless silhouettes.  

What Lois Hazel piece would you say best represents you?

My Pillar Pants! I live in them. I always put comfort in the forefront when it comes to the way I dress and these pants are perfect for that. Worn with a tee and blazer to work or my favourite sweater for lockdown-lounging, either way they make me feel great! 

 

Shop Holly's Story:

Pillar Tank Dress Black

Pillar Tank Dress Cream 

Pillar Tank Cream

Pillar Pant Cream

Roman Jacket Black 

Pillar Tank Olive

Pillar Tank Black

 

To find out more about Siy Studio visit the website.
Or follow along on Instagram @siystudio
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