Today, one of our friends shared this video he and his sister recently did with their dad. A personal insight into the conversations they grew up with around the dinner table in their childhood home. We asked if we could share it with you because it really touched us deeply. More than ever, these are the conversations we need to have and listen to.
"The key to moving forward is what we do with our discomfort. We can use it as a door out - blame the messenger and disregard the message. Or we can use it as a door in by asking, why does this unsettle me? What would it mean for me if this were true?"— Dr. Robin Diangelo
"We, Jamil and Julia Fearrington, are siblings and grew up in Denmark with a Danish mother and an Afro-American father.
Through 25-30 years, we've participated in talks around the table about police brutality and an American system, which didn't protect its black citizens' rights.
We saw Rodney King. We saw Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner get killed, we saw murders go unindicted and unpunished, we saw many similar cases, and dejected we wondered at the table:
"How are we ever going to get out of this mess?"
The other we sat at the table yet again, shaking our heads. We decided spontaneously to film - to invite more of you to join the table.
Our wish is that the conversation must take place. That more seek insight into the conditions of America and acknowledge that condition of America might be differently brutal and racially structured than they thought. Maybe we can contribute a little.
Our father is an Afro-American male, born in Philadelphia in 1944. He's lived in Denmark since 1979 and has throughout life visited most parts of the world as a touring musician and teacher. He travels to the US several times a year for business and to visit family and friends.
Say hi to Stephanie Geddes. She is the newest addition to our team and an amazing photographer. When we first saw Stephanie's portfolio, we fell in love with the authentic and dreamy nature of her photography.
Stephanie is Australian, has lived in NY for eight years, and recently moved to Copenhagen with her husband, Chris, and is trying to find her way into the creative scene.
We can spend hours brainstorming ideas with her and look forward to work together on a series of photo portraits, showcasing the inspiring paths of some of our community members. Don't hesitate to reach out to her if you would like to hear more about her work.
OK, LET'S START WITH THE EASY ONES
Name: Stephanie Geddes
Birth month/year: 4 April, 1984
Currently located in: Copenhagen
What do you do for a living? I’m a freelance photographer and general all-round creative in the fields of production, producing, and problem-solving!
MOST OF US HAVE CERTAIN ROUTINES, LET'S GET TO KNOW YOURS
What is the first thing you do in the morning? Since moving to Denmark, I open the blinds and pray for sunshine. Then I check my phone - definitely a habit I’m trying to break, but I can’t help it. Then it’s onto breakfast and a caffeinated beverage!
"As a relatively new to Copenhagen creative I’ve still very much hustling hard to get my foot in the door and meet as many new people as possible."
What is a typical day like for you? There really isn’t a typical day, which is a blessing and a curse. As a relatively new to Copenhagen creative, I’ve still very much hustling hard to get my foot in the door and meet as many new people as possible. My day can consist of meetings, research, a photoshoot, location scouting, or emails (and more emails).
And now that we're at it – what are the last things you do before bedtime? Put my phone on silent, arrange my pillows into a weirdly specific pile and shape ideal for sleep, and then read a book until I fall asleep. I’m not a great sleeper, so I go through a lot of books!
How do you spend your weekends? My husband works Monday - Friday so despite being freelance myself I like to try to stick to a similar schedule, then we have our weekends together which usually start with eggs of some sort - we’re currently perfecting our homemade breakfast burritos, then bike rides, walks through Assistens Kirkegard, dinner at our local Greek restaurant, Taverna Kreta and if I’m honest the occasional Netflix marathon.
When was the last time you celebrated? I’m actually not sure (which I admit doesn’t sound great). I do try to celebrate little things, but they’re never really about myself! The last mini-celebration dinner we had was the first time restaurants opened after COVID - it was lovely to visit our favorite local place and support it after such a long time.
WE ALL HAVE MORE OR LESS FLATTERING TRAITS
What is your guilty pleasure? Caffeine and wine, and since moving to Copenhagen - pick and mix candy shops. Being able to pick out a whole bag of only red and purple gummies is a dream.
What is your superpower? Empathizing with other people - and remaining calm in a crisis (I'll freak out and replay it over and over again afterward though).
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT PASSION, NOT THE FRUIT
What could you spend all day talking about? Photography, art, and the current state of the world - pondering how it’s possible to course correct the path we’ve found ourselves on. And if we’re being our truest selves, you can get me talking for hours about true crime (I’m not proud, but it’s a strong side interest - I’m not a weirdo I swear).
What inspires you? Beautiful art in all forms, but of course, photography. Dance always inspires me, watching dance and also dancing myself. I’m not good, but it brings me so much joy. I also love chatting with people who have drastically changed career/life paths - tell me your stories!
LET'S DIG A LITTLE DEEPER INTO WHAT INSPIRES YOU
Repeat or shuffle? What have you been listening to lately, and what are you humming in the shower? Repeat repeat repeat. I will listen to a song or playlist over and over depending on what mood I’m in, and I have multiple playlists that suit different chores or times of day (my cleaning playlist is on point). Current repeated songs include “A Pale” by Rosalia, “Ride It” by Regard, and all songs by the angel Chet Baker.
Poster or collectors’ items? If we gave you a million, what would be decorating your walls? A mix of prints, paintings, and photographs - my sister Kelly Geddes is a very talented photographer and makes beautiful handprints. There is an amazing initiative in Copenhagen called KunstSalonen that curates an art show every couple of months (in normal times), and the work is always so diverse and a great mix of affordable and aspirational pieces - I would probably stop by and take my pick! I would also buy vintage prints from the late Francesca Woodman - the most beautiful photographer and the woman who inspired me in my work from a young age.
"I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful family, and despite nobody being able to frustrate me in the same way, nobody can make me laugh as hard."
If you could have lunch with one person, alive or dead, who would that be? Can I combine 3 people into 1? My parents and my sister, we all live in different countries, and so we don’t see each other as often as we’d like, and may not for a while in the future depending on how travel pans out. I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful family, and despite nobody being able to frustrate me in the same way, nobody can make me laugh as hard. Give us some wine and access to Spotify, and by the end of the night, a sing-a-long of Queen, Elton John, and George Michael will 100% be happening.
Books, movies, and/or series – what can you recommend?
YOUR LIFE SO FAR: SMOOTH SAILING OR OBSTACLE COURSE – A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PAST
Who was your first big love? In order to not overshare, I’m going with Pacey from Dawsons Creek.
What's the single best realization you have ever had? That I’m the only person who can make things happen for myself - it’s something that took me a shockingly long time to fully realize and something that I can slack on, but it’s the truth. Family, friends, mentors, colleagues, etc. can all help, but you are the one that has to put in the work, ask for what you need and put yourself out there. It can be frustrating and defeating, especially in a creative field like photography, but I’m determined!
"When we got the opportunity to transfer to Denmark with my husband for his job my initial reaction was “hell no”."
What's the best bad or crazy decision you have ever made? That moment that seemed so wrong but turned out so right. If you don't make bad or crazy decisions, have you then ever made a decision that changed your entire life? Moving to Denmark! Not a ‘crazy or bad’ decision per se, just something that was hard and exciting and completely new. When we got the opportunity to transfer to Denmark with my husband for his job, my initial reaction was “hell no.” We had just spent over a year getting my green card paperwork sorted for me to finally be able to work as a freelancer in America and it seemed like all that work was now for nothing, but after the initial reaction and shock wore off, it became an exciting new adventure and something that Chris and I would get to take on together. We would be insane not to take the chance to live together in Scandinavia! Making the move last year was a really tough few months, and coming to a new country with a new language and no network expanded my brain in new ways - it was ... an experience, but we did it! Despite it still being a little challenging to make friends, I genuinely love it here!
AND A LOT MORE ABOUT THE PRESENT
How are you, really? It's nice to check in every once in a while. Overall, I’m good! Made it through the past couple of months, which (as they were for everyone) super tough and really uncertain. I spent a lot of time questioning my career and what it might look like moving forward. But as things begin to open up again, and the days are longer, I’m meeting new people and starting to get my creative brain back into gear.
When are you the happiest? When I’m on set shooting and collaborating with a team - it’s the time I feel most like myself and capable, productive, and creative all at the same time. I am also my happiest walking through the park and pointing at all the flowers I like, and always when sipping on a glass of wine - wait, also when I’m dancing!
"I try not to let fear control me but sometimes it’s hard not to!"
What scares you the most? Not fulfilling my personal career goals - I try not to let fear control me, but sometimes it’s hard not to! On the non-rational and less serious front, I’m terrified of frogs.
What keeps you up at night these days? Thinking of new photography projects and how to get my work out there and meet more people - I think about this too often, my brain is always buzzing. Should I have just chosen a more stable profession, have I failed, have I made a mistake? Should I go to nursing school (the profession I see as truly noble and a genuine way to help others), but then practically, I am very squeamish about blood so it wouldn’t work. The joys of taking a chance on a creative career!
Tell us one thing people would never know about you by just looking at you? That I’m a pretty serious introvert - I love being social and can chat with almost anyone, but I need a lot of alone time to recharge.
What habit would improve your life? So many habits I logically know would improve my life, but doing them is another thing! I think the simplest one that I’m doing a lot more of now is making sure I get outside whenever the sun is shining - it vastly improves my mood and outlook and helps my brain open up to new ideas.
We all have qualities that don't really have any rhyme or reason. What is one thing you don't understand about yourself? The fact that I can still be fearful and reluctant to do things I know will be good for me, or that I’ll enjoy.
What works for you at the moment, and what doesn’t? Actively reaching out to people works, making mood boards, writing lists, getting outside, and taking a dance class! What doesn’t work for me is staying inside all day and going down an Instagram spiral. I currently do a ‘healthy’ mix of both things that work for me and those that don’t!
"I also feel my best after showering off a long day, and doing an extended skin care routine with a glass of pink wine and an ice cube (because I’m classy like that)."
When do you feel the most comfortable in your own skin? When I’ve got on some of my favorites music, and I’m dancing - or when I’m in a dance class (back when we had those!). I also feel my best after showering off a long day and doing an extended skincare routine with a glass of pink wine and an ice cube (because I’m classy like that). Any time I’m wearing a robe is a good time.
What makes you feel insecure? Comparing myself to other people - especially other people doing the jobs or having the career that I would like for myself. This isn’t an attractive quality, but I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. It’s something I’m actively working on, and I’m trying to use these people’s work as inspiration rather than a reason to feel ‘less than.’
AND OF COURSE, A SNEAK PEEK INTO THE FUTURE
What's the best thing about the next thing you are during? The best thing is being able to take photos with other humans! I have a couple of shoots lined up, and some creative ideas in the works. Putting those into practice will feel amazing.
"Plans are worthless– but planning is everything" – Dwight D. Eisenhower. What does the future look like for you – what are your dreams and goals? Being a full-time photographer here in Copenhagen - I dream of having a diverse and supportive network of friends and colleagues, as well as a team of creatives that inspire me and that I get to create work with. I dream of traveling more with my husband and exploring more of our new home. I also have a goal to learn Danish - my official lessons begin at the end of June! Being able to converse just a little bit more with my new Danish neighbors will make me feel so much more at home.
ADVICE – EASY TO GIVE, HADER TO FOLLOW
"Stepping back and taking a moment to remember the ‘big picture’ and what I want for myself and my family motivates me and helps me get back on track when I feel overwhelmed with self-doubt or rejection."
What (or who) motivates you in difficult times? Stepping back and taking a moment to remember the ‘big picture’ and what I want for myself and my family motivates me and helps me get back on track when I feel overwhelmed with self-doubt or rejection. I also know that I respond well to a deadline - I will get shit done if you give me one!
Good advice is priceless. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
So much good advice and so much of it is not new, but it works. A few personal favorites: 1) Make a list - when things get overwhelming, write down your thoughts to get them out of your head. I'm not a great writer, so a list of bullet points and things to do helps me a lot. 2) Take the first step - even if its a super small one 3) The classic "this shall pass" - this is really helpful to always remember, nothing is 'forever.' 4) Ask for help - one of the lessons of growing up has been learning that nobody can read your mind. If you don't ask for help or for what you want, you will rarely get it.
What is the kindest thing anyone ever said to you or the best compliment anyone ever gave you? That I’m a good listener - as an anxious person, I’ve learned that sometimes people just need an ear, someone to listen to them and not offer solutions or try to solve the issue. I’ll also always die of happiness to get a compliment on my work!
How do you heal a broken heart? I do not have the answer to this - I don’t think you can ever really heal from it. But you can move onwards and upwards, and things will get a little less painful each day, month, year.
THE FORECAST – TRENDS AND TENDENCIES
What is going to be the next big thing? (concepts, businesses, ideas, mega trends, etc.) Sustainability in all its forms and across all levels of business and development. I also think micro-businesses and utilizing your local networks, teams, and resources, etc. will become more and more important - especially now as we can’t travel but hopefully also after these pandemic times have passed. Brands, especially in fashion and marketing, often forget to hunt for talent in their own networks and cities.
We would love to find out about cool new places and things to do in your area. What are your favorite places? Where do you like to go to have fun? Since we’re all staycationing right now, some places I love in Copenhagen are Assistens Kirkegård for quiet walks, Dürüm Symfoni for the best kebabs ever, Louisiana for inspiration and Colpo Grosso for amazing pizza.
THE ONES THAT DIDN'T FIT INTO THE OTHER CATEGORIES
What is the most favorite, most useful, and most useless object you own, respectively?
Most favorite: There are a few items that I cherish and have traveled the world with me … my wedding ring, my passport, my mother's necklace, notes from family and friends that I will always keep.
Most useful: It's not cool, but my computer and phone. There is no escaping the amount of screen time I require to function in the world.
Most useless: There were definitely more than a few items we shipped from NYC to Copenhagen that ended up being recycled or sold as soon as we unpacked them. Moving countries does make you realize how much useless crap you accumulate - never again!
What was the last thing you searched for on your phone? Be careful: you might be required to show proof. I googled the perfect fit for Birkenstock's - not a sexy search but a practical one. I like to research things that are super obvious or very personal (like the fit of a shoe ... you know - stuff that you should be able to figure out yourself).
Call or text? Which is better, and why? 90% of the time, I’m all about the text - it’s quick and to the point, and it eases my social anxiety to not have to talk on the phone. But there is a time and place for a phone call, and sometimes it’s just easier to talk it out.
What is your pet peeve? Being late to me is the height of rudeness.
What is the most interesting thing in your trash can? I’ve literally never been asked this - looking into my trash can I guess I would have to say a watermelon rind? It was delicious and makes me feel like summer is here already.
You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with it? Do I also have lots of money? I would buy it acres of land to roam free in and possibly some more elephants to keep it from being lonely.
THE BIG ONES
What is the meaning of life? I don’t think there is a meaning to life - which is liberating! You have to find joy and fulfillment in your own way. This is easier said than done and something I’m striving for and working towards myself.
Look, mom, I made it! – How do you define success? I don’t think I’m there yet. I do have some particular goals I’m working on getting to, and in my mind, they ‘define success,’ but the goal post is always shifting. If I can be regularly working as a photographer, taking time to spend with family, and with a lovely network of friends, then I’ll consider myself successful!
THE FINAL TWO
Name three people you would like to answer these questions?
How would you describe LULU—LAND? A collective of people, thoughts, ideas, and art all rolled into one - it is whatever you want to make of it, as long as you have passion, desire for change, and a love of creating.
"I Might be a photographer, but I can't take a selfie, if my life depend upon it"
Hi, my name is Louise. For those of you that don't know, I'm the Founder & Creative Director of LULU—LAND. I don't usually write personal posts, but these are the times to break habits!
BLACK LIVES MATTER. PERIOD!
I've taken some time to figure out how to address the current situation of the world in the right way. Honestly, I've been afraid of saying the wrong things. Who am I as a privileged white woman to say anything at all when it comes to racism against Black people and POC? However, I've come to the conclusion that the only wrong thing would be to say nothing at all. We can't be neutral when it comes to racism, discrimination, and inequality. Silence is a quiet acceptance of the status quo.
As a European, when watching an unarmed man getting killed while in police custody, protests against racism, and the overall injustice happening in America, the easy thing would be to dismiss it all as an American problem. But we all know that in truth, racism and inequality are global problems, that come in many different disguises.
As a white female, born in a tiny, wealthy, country (Denmark) with free access to education, a high level of social security, and a passport that allows me to go just about anywhere in the world, I am beyond privileged. I've had advantages and opportunities that most people don't have, and I am well aware of that fact. I make an effort to remind myself not to complain, and I try to use my privileges to the best of my ability. I've never been attacked verbally or physically because of the color of my skin, or as such experienced racism first hand on my own body. I have no idea what it feels like having to deal with racism on a regular basis. I can only listen and try to understand.
For the past week, I've been silent, observing, listening, learning, and reflecting. I am horrified by the things I see and by the injustice that still exists in this day and age. Like many others, I've been trying to get a grasp on how I can use my privileges to support the change that's obviously needed.
I firmly believe that change starts within ourselves. We all have the ability to take small, simple actions that will generate impact short-term as well as long-term – even the largest changes occur in tiny increments.
For me, this means that we have to call out racism, discrimination, and inequality when we see it. We need to look within ourselves to understand any subconscious biases we might have. We must make it a priority to change our thought patterns, our behavior, and our language and work with our friends and community to do the same.
LULU—LAND was founded based on a dream of creating a community for all of those, like myself, who thrive with fluid boundaries and whose restlessness and creative mindset are their greatest strengths.
LULU—LAND is for EVERYONE who gets it, regardless of ethnicity, gender, color, sexuality, religion, and background! It's about finding your own path, learning from each other's differences, experiences, unique perspectives, and about sharing inspiration to create positive change. It's a platform that forms and grows with us as a community.
This past week has made me realize that it's time for an internal adjustment. As of today, LULU—LAND Journal has a new category;
SOCIAL JUSTICE & EQUALITY
It's essential for me that the issues around these matters become an integral part of LULU—LAND for as long as it's necessary. Racism and inequality are deep-rooted problems that we cannot solve before we truly understand the dynamics behind them and how it affects the people exposed to them. Racism, in any way or form, should not exist. Whether it's individual racism, systemic racism, or the so-called casual racism that has become a seemingly innocent part of everyday bantering. We can't ignore it just because it makes us uncomfortable. We need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. The magic"progress," "development," "growth," and "change" happens outside of our comfort zones.
I would like to invite anyone in the LULU—LAND community to inspire positive change by sharing their perspectives, thoughts, feelings, insights, and learnings on topics within this category. At LULU—LAND, we welcome contributions in any form (writing, photography, music, graphics, illustration, video, etc.) that can help create more awareness. I see a lot of rightful anger that needs to be channeled into action and initiatives towards creating positive change. Hate and violence is not the solution.
Through this initiative, we want to take part in sustaining the current momentum and raise awareness in a peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring way. I know this isn't enough. However, It's a small start and our attempt at taking a step in the right direction, not just this week or the next, but for at long as it takes to create real change.
At LULU—LAND, we commit to being part of the solution. The truth is we can all do better. There are no excuses. If you want to contribute to the LULU—LAND Journal, have an idea, or a suggestion on how we can improve – we're all ears. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. It's how we deal with them when made aware and how we move forward, that truly matters.