Melbourne’s creative industry is built around a strong sense of collaboration and community; it’s not strange to find that most freelancing creatives are close friends, where working together is an extension of their playful friendship bouncing off one another. Costa and Thalea’s close relationship perfectly captures this spirit. Their working relationship started in 2017, when Costa approached Thalea to collaborate on an editorial Office Magazine, and have since “joined forces to work for Oyster Magazine, Maroske Peech, Shifting Worlds and more recently Vogue Australia amongst others”. Their shoots are playful and light, and you can see the trust they have in each other's vision in their works.
As Thalea notes, they met through mutual friends, but “it wasn’t until their cute friendship date at the Mediterranean Wholesalers that their friendship took off. ”
It’s a playful re-imaging of the luxury of relaxation, and how the home is a place of comfort, beauty, and inspiration. Part dream, part reality, the shoot is the ultimate at-home escape!
We connected with Thalea and Costa during isolation here in Melbourne, with the concept of showing life at home during restrictions. They came to us with an idea to reimagine Suku in famous homes, as an homage to the ultimate at home life. It’s a playful re-imaging of the luxury of relaxation, and how the home is a place of comfort, beauty, and inspiration. Part dream, part reality, the shoot is the ultimate at-home escape!
Both Costa and Thalea have studied in the photography department of the Victorian College of the Arts, a university dedicated to an extensive range of creative disciplines, with a focus on mentorship from Australia’s leading creatives. It’s an education which is driven by cultivating individual thought and practice in inner city Melbourne, the home of its’ Arts Precinct. For Thalea, her time at the university gave her the tools to apply her knowledge “to understanding how colour, form and texture can all work together”. Costa’s current engagement with the fine art photography program has changed the way he approaches image making. In his words, “It's been very helpful to apply this knowledge to every photo job that I do”.
When asked what Thalea finds most inspiring about Costa’s practice, she comments on his practice’s transformation during his time at the VCA. In her words, “It has been such a pleasure to watch Costa’s photography transform during his time at art school”. It’s this constant creative evolution and personal growth that Thalea finds ever-inspiring, and how it is captured in his installations. This spirit is what motivates Thalea to “persevere to be as determined as him to create new ways to communicate conceptual ideas”.
And for Costa, it’s Thalea’s ability to develop a unique body of work that he admires most about his friend. He speaks of her creative coalescence of objects and clothing as a source of constant inspiration and intrigue. Moreover, Costa is drawn to her “incredible eye for colour, texture and composition”. In his words, “I am always amazed by the way she marries all these elements so seamlessly.”
Although they have strong individual practices, their inspiration for their collaboration is entwined through a common love for collecting. As Thalea notes, this communality is collectively drawn from their parents, who are “enthusiastic gatherers”. This has manifested into a joint love of archival content, and as Thalea notes “I think we both draw a lot from archival magazines that we have both hoarded over the years”.
“It has been a weird time for collaborating but this Suku project was the perfect opportunity to work with each other during lockdown.” It necessitated a creative reimagining of their shooting process.
You can see this love of the archival in their shoot for us, which is a fun clin d'œil to the unique and inspiring homes that they love. The collage cut-and-paste imagery is a nod to moodboards of the past, and feels like a fun reimagining the archival as a constant source of inspiration. Their recent collaborations have manifested during socially distant walks. As Thalea notes “it has been a weird time for collaborating but this Suku project was the perfect opportunity to work with each other during lockdown.” It necessitated a creative reimagining of their shooting process, whereby Costa took photos through Thalea’s windows down the side of the house and at a distance in her backyard. The spirit of their works is in this constant evolution and response to constraints. As Thalea summates, “our favourite aspect of working together is the communication - you can’t fault it!”
This spirit of open communication and active listening to the creative spirit of everyone they work with is the cornerstone of both their practices. It is what makes the creative industry alive and palpable. Thalea describes this beautifully, “It is super important to recognise everyone’s talent and listen to everyone’s ideas in the lead up to a shoot… This extends to the make-up artists and models. If everyone has input, the final product reflects everyone's skills, not just one....” This is part of why they love working with each other, as they are given the opportunity to nurture each other's creativity at work.
We asked them what’s next for them, if they could work on any project, and their answer…
“A still life shoot for LE CREUSET!”
Photography by Costa
Creative Direction by Thalea