The lovely Helen Coetzee opens up about the importance of gratitude, surrounding yourself with inspiring women and how being open to wonder is key to living a full creative life. As a photographer and studio owner, she sums up her life as being one big creative project.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

It can be a simple conversation or a random happening … the triggers are often unexpected. At best they are shared with other creatives. I tend to surround myself with folks who share the same kinda madness.

Where do you find inspiration?

In the everyday, in the street, in a smile or a split second glance … a happening, a giggle … It can hit me any time.

Do you experience creative blocks? How do you overcome them?

Yes, blocks are the total sum of a bunch of little things that get me jagged or facing a dead end. The best method for me is to get to the beach and breathe in the salty air … a swim is by far the best attitude adjustment. Looking after myself by meditating, practicing yoga and long walks assist as well. Sometimes just remembering that it will pass is enough to allow for things to flow again.

Is your inner critic a friend or foe when going about your everyday? How do you deal with her commentary positive or negative?

My inner critic can get loud at times. My processes are same as creative blocks… trying to be kind to myself is something I am adopting as I get older. I’ve been super tough on myself and it’s been helpful, as I push myself to learn and to be better.

Do you have a creative project or hobby? What is it?

My life is one big creative project!

Describe the space you feel most creative in and why it has such a positive effect on you.

My Studio. We dreamt it and built it … the energy in there is incredible. Not a day passes where I don’t take a second to check in to how fortunate we are to be immersed in a gorgeous light filled space. It’s my happy place.

What is your favourite book or podcast?

There are MANY! At the moment: Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates (Tom Robbins).

Name 3 women that inspire you and why.

A very tough question for me to narrow down. I am so blessed to have a few really incredibly inspiring women in my realm. Those I hold close and dear inspire me to be the best version of myself and expect nothing less. They question, they dare to dream and to take a leap even when the odds are stacked against them. They know who they are. Their beauty is tangible and shines from within. They’ve fought some monumental battles and stuck around to tell their story. I could list many women who have inspired nations and generations … but it is those who take my calls at odd hours, see the humour in this chaotic life, and are comfortable in their own awesomeness that inspire me. In saying that, the one woman I’d say is a constant light: my Mum. An absolute giant in my life.

What is one creative gem or piece of advice you can share with our sistas?

Be open to the wonder of it all. Talk to the women in your circle, invite them in and share wisdom. There is an ancient thread that binds us. We must remember to play in creative waters, have a good laugh and support one another …. Always. X


Helen’s work covers a broad range of subjects such as: Lifestyle, Travel, Family Portraits, Headshots, Pregnancy, Events & Beauty.

Photo Credit: Kai, Helen Coetzee private collection