Weekly Inspiration: Visual Overload in Rome.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I constantly take pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours and patterns through my lens.

I spent last week on holiday in Rome. There was so, so much to see! It was an overwhelming bombardment of colours and patterns and forms, a total visual feast. As expected, my camera shutter finger was on rapid-fire mode , and I came home with many reminders of the beautiful things I’d seen. Most of the photos below were taken in the streets of Rome, or the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. As usual, I’ve focused on small details that caught my eye, so don’t expect a tour guide to Rome and the Vatican!
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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour-rome-12Above: Tapestries and frescoes in the Vatican Museums. The ornate ceilings are just…off the charts. If I had to paint something while lying on my back, I’d just end up with a splattered face. The mosaics also blow my mind, with their luminous colours and level of intricacy. I was seriously impressed.

Below: A few impressions of St. Peter’s Basilica. My boyfriend made me climb up the (several hundred) stairs to get a view from the top. It was incredible, but it was also very hot and I may or may not have done a lot of whining. Anyway, to the point: Wow. When I see things like this, I think ‘damn! Humans are awesome!’ (And, yes, I do see the irony in using the word ‘damn’ to express my feelings about a church.) Continue reading

Weekly Inspiration: Shapes and Colours at Kew Gardens.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I constantly take pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours and patterns through my lens.

This weekend I visited Kew Gardens and it was a complete visual assault, of the best kind. As far as I’m concerned, nature is the best source of inspiration. You already know that I’m crazy about beetles, but as an equal opportunities nature lover, I’m also a big fan of plants – the bigger and brighter (and weirder) the better. Here are some of my favourite photos from Kew:

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour225-01The next few photos were taken inside the Victorian palm house, which was the biggest glass house I’d ever seen. It was filled with warm, humid air as well as exotic plants from all over the world. I would quite happily live in there.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour225-08Sunlight passing through leaves never gets boring, I say. Luminous colours are the best colours.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour225-07This is the Chenille plant, Acalypha hispida. Can you even believe this thing exists? It looks like a pre-decorated Christmas tree, laden with long, fuzzy strands of hot pink tinsel. I couldn’t stop looking at it.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour225-05We climbed to the top of the palm house on this spiral, wrought iron staircase. Below: the view from the top.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour225-13I loved these tiny, star-shaped flowers which had 5 stamens apiece. They were barely a half centimetre wide, yet so exquisitely detailed. This is where the phrase ‘small, yet perfectly formed’ comes in. Continue reading

Weekly Inspiration: Exploring art (and cake) in beautiful Vienna.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I constantly take pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours and patterns through my lens.

I’ve always wanted to visit Vienna. I blame (or rather, thank) my high school art teachers who raised me on a diet of  Hundertwasser and Klimt and Schiele, all Viennese artists. Of course, Vienna is known as much for its cakes as it is for its art, so it’s doubly surprising that it took me so long to make my pilgrimage. However, I finally made it! I spent four glorious days in Vienna last week, and I’ve got the photographic evidence to prove it! I’ve left out the standard tourist shots of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and instead am presenting a Thefty-eye-view of the city. I hope you enjoy it.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-02St. Stephen’s Cathedral is pretty fantastic. By night, it was illuminated in rainbow colours. By day, the incredible tile work looked beautiful in the sun. My friend, referring to the stripy bits, said,  ‘That looks like the sort of cathedral you’d design.’

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-04The golden orb on top of the Secession building is basically a beacon for magpies like me. We went inside to view the mural by Klimt, and it did not disappoint.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-06Afterwards, we decided to check out the contemporary version of Vienna, which involved a visit to the Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK).  This was followed by a sunbathing session on huge, neon loungers in the museum’s public courtyard. Well played, Vienna.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-10Later on, we did some cake-perving. Naturally, this culminated in an afternoon coffee and cake session at the famous Sacher Hotel. Yes, we had Sachertorte. Yes, it was good (but admittedly not my favourite treat of the trip. So shoot me!).

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-11The highlight of my trip (apart from cake) was visiting the Hundertwasser Museum. I thought my obsession with his work had peaked in my late teens, but after fighting back tears the whole time I was at the museum, I concluded that Hundertwasser’s work still speaks to me. (I also concluded that I am the world’s biggest crier.)

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour23-13Photography was prohibited inside the exhibition, so I could only photograph the (very striking) interior of the building. Colours and patterns, ahoy!

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Hundertwasser believed in’ diversity over monotony, for romanticism, for the organic and for unregimented irregularity, for spontaneous vegetation and for a life in harmony with nature’…all concepts which I can happily get behind.

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Beetles! A new collection at the NHM.

Hello! Welcome to my Beetles! series. I take photos for the beetles department at the Natural History Museum (aka the ‘Coleoptera section of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division’). There are plenty of photos to share. Stay tuned!

Last week was extra-exciting, as the team unveiled thousands of new specimens acquired for the museum collection. I was invited to take a peek at the new material…and encouraged to take lots of pictures, as usual. Here are some of my favourites. (You’ll be entirely shocked to discover that my favourites were the most heavily coloured and patterned beetles of the bunch!)

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Helena-Maratheftis-NHM-new-collection-600-03Jade greens and dusty blues…spots and stripes and abstract prints…gloss and matte and metallic finishes… these little guys give me so much inspiration for my artwork. They are just too cool.

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Helena-Maratheftis-NHM-new-collection-600-09Row after row of little white boxes, filled with specimens from all around the globe. These will soon be integrated with the museum’s current collection.

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Theftypix on Instagram!

Psssssst! I recently joined Instagram, and as predicted, I’ve become a total Instajunkie.  Fortunately, I’ve managed to keep the food shots to a minimum (I swear). I’ve been having a lot of fun snapping at my palette and works in progress, and I’ve posted some of my favourites below.

Come and join me @theftypix!

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Are you on Instagram? Leave your handle in the comments so I can follow you back!

Beetle & Me: The photographer and her subject.

Once a week, I head to the Natural History Museum, slip into the Coleoptera department, and take whatever pictures the department requires. I love it, love it. The collection is huge and there’s so much to see and to photograph. Of course, once my work is done, things often get a bit silly…

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What can I say? I just love hanging out with (dead) beetles.

Click here to see other Beetles! posts in this series.

Weekly Inspiration: Fruit, flowers and feet…in Cyprus!

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I constantly take pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours and patterns through my lens.

I spent the first two weeks of May in Cyprus, and I had a pretty rosy time: We visited the mountain village of Agros, which is famous for it’s fragrant Damask rose plantations. I’d always wanted to go but somehow always missed rose blooming season. We visited the rose water distillery, where there were huge piles of pink roses with a smell sweet enough to knock you out! I came home with a bottle of rose liqueur and a bellyful of rose sorbet (my childhood favourite). Below are a few of the most colourful photos from my trip.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour22-11Above: Jacaranda petals and geometric markings. So much colour!

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour22-09Bare toes and bougainvillea petals. Oh man, I miss the Mediterranean summer.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour22-06The next few photos are from the local fruit market, selling fresh fruit, veg, cured meats and flowers.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour22-01Below: A few quick snaps from a wedding I attended. I couldn’t resist those colourful legs!
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Have you ever visited Cyprus? It’s a very small but very beautiful island, and on grey London days I dream of its pristine beaches and blue skies. I love it there.

It’s Oh So Quiet.

This is a quick programming note to say that I won’t be blogging for the next two weeks. I’ll be back (with a vengeance) after that, so don’t worry (assuming you were worrying, that is).

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… But you can still find me on Instagram where the fun never stops.

Over and out.

Beetles! The Cheeky Butterfly Edition.

Hello! This is part of my Natural History Museum series – I’ve been taking photos for the beetles department (aka the ‘Coleoptera section of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division’). I will be sharing my favourite images with you every week!

Last week at the museum, I was looking through drawers of new specimens when I stumbled across trays of butterflies. It was a surprise to find them in the beetles department – butterflies are not beetles! They’re classed as lepidoptera, and they have their own museum hangout! However, after weeks of looking at compact little beetles, I was struck by the sheer novelty of broad, soft wings. I couldn’t help but whip my camera back out of my bag to take a few quick snaps.

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These particular butterflies were brought back from Tanzania. Aren’t they beautiful? I love the vibrant colours and crisp black lines and fuzzy little bodies. There’s just something so non-threatening about them, which probably explains why they’re loved by even the most passionate  of insect-haters. How can you hate something so delicate and good-looking? It’s just not possible.

Weekly Inspiration: Earthy Greens & Muted Tones.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I constantly take pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours and patterns through my lens.

I went to the Beach House concert in London last week, and the stage was filled with ethereal lights and smoky colours. The show seemed to subconsciously inspire me, because I’ve been taking a lot of foggy photos in a similar colour palette. I’ve thrown all the photos together in this post, as I think they play off each other nicely. I hope you enjoy them!

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STARS / SKY / SNOW / RAIN / GREEN / LEAVES / LIGHT / NATURE

Beetles! Metallic & Iridescent Beauties From Madagascar.

Hello! This is part of my Natural History Museum series – I’ve been taking photos for the beetles department (aka the ‘Coleoptera section of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division’). I will be sharing my favourite images with you every week!

I had an extra-good time at the museum last week. The design team needed images of Madagascan beetles, and I was handed the keys to the collection and given free reign to photograph whichever specimens I liked! Lucky meeee! You should have seen me, peering into tray after tray filled with beetles of all shapes and colours, muttering to myself in a state of sensory over-excitement. Unsurprisingly, I picked out a bunch of shiny ones. Of course. (In my defence, they’re harder to photograph, so you can’t say I went for the easy option.)

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Helena-Maratheftis-Madagascar-beetles-5Above: The spectacular underside of one specimen. So beautiful that I can hardly stand it.

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Helena-Maratheftis-Madagascar-3Subtle (and not-so-subtle) copper and rose-gold tones, with the occasional flash of green.

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Helena-Maratheftis-Madagascar-beetleThese ones were particularly shiny! Whenever I look at them, I think of molten metal.

Helena-Maratheftis-Madagascar-beetles-1Madagascan wildlife is often unusual and striking, and the beetles are no different. I’m so lucky to have access to the Natural History Museum’s beetle collections – a big thanks to the department for letting me loose in there!

Click here to see other Beetles! posts in this series.

Weekly Inspiration: Black + White + Neon.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-02My latest jumper + necklace combo. It’s still really cold in London, so I’m trying to keep my winter clothes interesting!

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-04I’ve been eating a lot more soft boiled eggs since I bought these fluoro plastic egg cups. Aren’t they great? (Yes.)

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-07Speaking  of fluoro, I think this is the brightest lunch I’ve ever had.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-08So. I’d been perving on this mug from Design House Stockholm for a very long time…so when I spotted its doppelgänger on sale for a mere 95p in a charity shop, I had to buy it! So, so pleased.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-05Now, this was even more exciting than the mug. I was photographing specimens at the museum when this label caught my eye. It’s one of Charles Darwin‘s own specimens! Argh! This resulted in a complete fangirl meltdown moment.

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These biscuits are Iced VoVos, a favourite treat from my Aussie childhood. I finally cracked open the box I’d brought back from my holiday last December, and they were good.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-06On my desk this week: Jars of paint water, bowls of fruit, and brand new drawings.

It has been a bright and jam-packed week! What have you been up to?

Teleidoscopic: Colourful Photography and Film.

Hello! I’ve got something very different for you today! If you were a follower of my old blog, you might know what a teleidoscope is. I’ve had mine for years, and it lives on my desk in my pencil mug. Whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I pick it up and walk around my house peering through it. Yesterday, I took this to another level, and decided to shoot a short film through my teleidoscope!

The film is completely silent, but I strongly recommend you play this track by Andrew Bird at the same time!

Helena-Maratheftis-teleidoscopic-collage2I also took a series of photos through the teleidoscope. If you look closely, you’ll see books, wooden flooring, a fireplace, and even my slippers. I’ve uploaded many more to the Thefty Facebook Page. Go and have a look!

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Beetles! Photographing Gold & Stripes.

Hello! This is part of my Natural History Museum series – I’ve been taking photos for the beetles department (officially known as the ‘Coleoptera section of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division’)! I will be sharing my favourite images with you every week, so stay tuned!

Today I’m showcasing some stripy, golden beauties (click here for a detailed close-up). Aren’t they stunning? I love the contrast of soft metallic gold vs. glossy black stripes and swooping antennae. Have a look:

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Nature: Just Too Cool. When I stumble across specimens like these, I can’t help but marvel at how much style nature has. I’m a complete sucker for shiny metallics and bold stripes (in case ya hadn’t noticed), so it’s nice to know that I share the same tastes as mother nature!   Those are my hands in the photos – I happened to be wearing matching nail polish and jewellery on this particular day, which made me extra excited.

Click here to see other Beetles! posts in this series.

Weekly Inspiration: Spring Colours and Jelly Brains!

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

Last week was oh so colourful! For a brief moment I convinced myself that spring had arrived.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-04A snippet of my embarrassingly large and tacky earring collection. The fish bones are my current favourites.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekinthelife209-16Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-08Isn’t this mask beautiful? I love the colour scheme and those crazy yellow eyes.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-07I dug out my old headphones last week, and realised that they’re the exact same colour as my new phone case. Ha!Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-16As soon as the sun came out I ran to the flower nursery. Sadly, I was too indecisive to buy any plants.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-05A massive pan of  melting marshmallows: Rice Krispie treats in the making.

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