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an ezine from design for mankind.


“it ju s to ap t so hap p when pear rig ens ht w it th e need e m ost.”

photo credit: orlane kroket

a note from erin... You know that feeling you get when you grab last year’s spring trench coat from the depths of your closet, only to find a wadded up twenty in the right pocket? Well, this ezine is sort of like that, minus the twenty. This month’s ezine is dedicated to all things surprising, exciting and totally unexpected. The vintage calendar you scored at the flea market last fall. The painting you set out to create that turned into something much more beautiful than you could have imagined. The night he proposed. Like many things, inspiration is often found when we least expect it. And just like last season’s trench, it just so happens to appear right when we need it the most.

Love to you,

Erin E. Loechner

Author, Design for Mankind

On May 10th last year, something rather unexpected happened to me: During a football (soccer) match, I was injured. I used crutches for a month after surgery, and I wasn't really capable of moving around that much. A short time after the surgery I bought a SLR camera, and my fingers were just itching to use it. Since my possibilities of different locations were quite limited, this photo was taken in my garden. I've never really worn the dress in public. It looked great in the dressing room, but after thinking twice (and cutting off the price tag) it made me look like a doll. And now it's a size too small. I bought the shoes in France because I needed some party flats, but I later found out that I don't fit them that well. I fell in love with the oversized playing cards at the supermarket. I haven't really gotten to use them yet. The headband was in one of those "This Stuff Is Cheaper Than Usual" boxes at a store, and I'm a sucker for stuff that is cheaper than usual, so I bought it (but... I found out headbands aren't really my "look"). The pocket watch is my dad's. He's not the usual pocket watch owner type, and he doesn't use it either. So I thought he wouldn't mind if I just quickly borrowed it. In a way, all of these things made me feel a bit like Alice: I can't fit in these things (which is just so depressing), and the watch, which isn't even mine, just keeps tick-tocking until I'm going mad (as a hatter).


I took [this photo] in Berlin. I was impressed by how simple the graffiti was, but at the same time so effective. Just two words. I like big, empty walls - and the background here was the foreground at the same time.



re t here is lov e th ere is lif e -Gan ." dhi

this picture was taken on a sunny day of march on my balcony, and it's unexpected because i didn’t plan the composition. it was 100% an accident, and i think that sometimes one of the more interesting aspects of photography is the element of surprise. this photo is inspiring to me because i want to hold the interest in common things, being original with not a lot of added noise. a little can go a long way.


the idea for this series came unexpectedly from listening to phoenix's song "napoleon says". the girl in the photo is mia morrisson and she is a singer.


well h c n e ur fr o far o s y n o i w no cis “You k ke any de t train ta eigh r f t...” s Didn't a e u q e lik re Hit me consider my ix Please -Phoen on Says” e “Napol

She was inspired by vintage Moroccan caftans. In an era of plastic, of mass consumption, of strip malls, of chain stores, of Big Gulps, of Chinese manufacturing, of “it bags”, of identical outfits at identical parties … they were a gentle reminder of another possibility. Of things made by hand, stitch after stitch. The embroidery : exquisite. The finishing : perfection. The drape : flattering . Inspiration to pick with care, to wear with care, to store with care. To buy fewer but better. Why, they were the very antidote to disposability. In a time of Spanx, of control tops, of shapers, of slimmers, and of liposuction, the caftan evoked an ideal self merely through suggestion. No exposed décolleté, no slit to the hip, no parading of the thighs. But discretion, beauty, elegance. And so if you wondered where the blogging girl in Marrakech might be, perhaps you would find her somewhere deep in the heart of the medina, looking…… for yet another vintage Moroccan caftan.


This photo is about the fairy tale of Cinderella, but this time she's in London and trying to look for her lost shoe after a party.


“Life itse lf is the most won derful fa iry tale.” -Hans C hristian A nderson

There's a deep and pure beauty that comes from the natural world that doesn't compare to anything else. In this modern age, we are estranged from nature's depth in simplicity and it's become foreign to us. When we notice it and seek it out, we find an immeasurable wealth to treasure and to take in. In this photograph, I caught a glimpse of that beauty.


ature, N m o r f comes e v ie h c a ness I h ic r ation.� ir e h p s “T in Monet y m e d f u o la e C the sourc

I was inspired to take this photo after stumbling upon an old kimono-like shirt in my mother's closet, i thought it would look nice in a photo that had brown and pink tones. I just sort of found all the "vintage" i could for the set, and wala! I created the scene in my mind, while staring at a blank wall--which can be very inspiring.


Looking for the Roman aqueduct in Istanbul, I choose to make my way through the backstreets instead of circumventing the dense quarters of the old inner city by broad throughways. The "backside" of things can be quite revealing of our world's inner workings. The scenery in "Istanbul Green" strikes me as a particularly adequate metaphor on how we relate to external and inner nature. Man has come to rely on artificial air conditioners to make (urban) life bearable, while living flora has been reduced to fulfill a job as decoration. Our dwellings are not just shelters from natural elements anymore: They have evolved into fortresses, protecting us from other people. Architecture - and design, for that matter - reflect our inner state of mind, in brick, concrete and steel. Yet, when by chance I encounter a scene such as this, all my intuition keeps telling me is that this might make a fine photograph. In the beginning was the image...

“The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own, we have no soul of our own civilization.� -Frank Lloyd Wright


This photo has great meaning to me. The girl featured in this photo is my younger sister Tessa, age 9. Growing up with three older siblings, Tessa never really got to experience some of the common joys of being a child. She has always wanted to be just like her older sisters, thus pushing her to grow up faster than she should have. This photo of her jumping on the bed is attempting to portray some of my sister's childhood activities that she missed out on.


“One ge anothe neration p la r get s the nts the tr ees; shade .� -Chin ese p rover b

this could be a photo about looking at things from the other side... but i'm not that good at actually finding the 1000 words that every picture supposedly conceals.


id moment, cture from a splend pi a de ma o wh er A photograph ul scenery, someone or a beautif of se po al nt de ci an ac easure. is the finder of a tr - Robert Doisneau

it inspires me to be calm and peaceful. you can blow your feelings, like the confetti. when the picture was taken, I closed my eyes and it was like being alone in the world; when time stops, and you can hear your breathing and the silence around you. but you can think about it like a celebration too; the colours and confetti in an unexpected place make it different and special for me.


.� re of o m o see t t n a you w ters t a e h P w . J brate mas o e l h e T C “

This photograph is basically a recreation of a recurring nightmare that I kept having. It was an oddly frightening dream, but at the same time visually compelling as well, which inspired me to photograph it. I felt that it would be a challenge to reproduce something that is not only a bit terrifying for me, but also to keep the aura and mood of my dream intact. In the end, I think the photo came out pretty humorous, which is a complete turnaround from my initial feelings toward the project. Which is great. And since I've taken this photo, the nightmare hasn't come back!


Inspiration might come looking through my windows and seeing it's raining, blogging and surfing with my computer, and most of the times, lying in bed at night, eyes closed and dozing off to complete sleep.


der— the rea n." in n io t ined upo nsa a r e s g in e e k o evo g of b posed t but the feelin p u s is riting aining, "Good w ct that it is r fa not the octorow -E.L. D

This photo was taken two months ago in a place we use to practice rural sports. I love the lines and the symmetry of the place. The difficult thing is to find the place without people... I love the texture of the wall, and my first idea was to take photos of the textures, but unexpectedly fell in love with the lines and the empty space.


“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.� -Democritus

This photo was taken at Rosendahls Trädgårdar ( I quote their website : "Rosendal's Garden is an open garden, with the main purpose of presenting biodynamic (organic) garden cultivation to the general public." Every detail about this place is like a living still life! You just go around and fill up with positive energy from its beauty. The sight is full of colour from the flower fields and the appletrees, the smell from the café, the feel of nature's own material, the singing of birds… What caught me about the subject in my photo was how its white color blended perfectly into the pale sky, creating a kind of stillness, yet the image is full of movement from the wind playing with the string.


I wasn't really inspired by anything TO take this photo. I was just sitting on the couch, watching tv, eating the heart lollipop and I thought about how neat a heart shaped sucker really is. So I walked outside, held it up to the sky, which was perfectly cloudless that day, and I snapped a picture! It was one I'd remembered taking and was excited about when I was waiting on the roll to be developed. The title's from a Jon Foreman song I really love that, in itself, is inspiring.


“escap e to the water a n d stare at the up and m stars oon an d sky ” ... i was lying o back n with m my finger y s in t he sa alone nd, in mia mi. it sou nd and y s so funny et he re i a m.” -jon f orema n ‘love isn’t m ade’

I wear my inspiration on my body, in my tattoos. They are more than ink stained skin: they are reminders of events, emotions, symbols of things that have inspired me and continue to every time I absentmindedly look down on my arm or leg. My tattoos immortalize moments that changed my thinking and represent moments yet to come. It's not like I can forget these moments because they are inherent to who I am today. There is not a tattoo I regret. Inspiring people who push their artistic boundaries make me want to do the same; they aren't afraid of making mistakes or looking like fools. They live life out loud and dare you to take it or leave it. I live for the moment that I figure out how to do something in a different way, but in a way that produces something I never thought it would - it’s that "aha" moment! And I live for the moment where I, in turn, will inspire someone else. Who knows what's to come, but as long as I have vacant areas of skin, I will continue to get my inspirations recorded on my body and to attempt to dream and live out loud.


Profile for designformankind

Inspiration: Issue 4  

Inspiration is a montly e-zine dedicated to inspiration in its various forms. This month's issue is entitled "Inspiration in the Unexpected,...

Inspiration: Issue 4  

Inspiration is a montly e-zine dedicated to inspiration in its various forms. This month's issue is entitled "Inspiration in the Unexpected,...