“Postcards from Summer” A Photo Journal by Lou Schoof
As days get longer, temperatures rise and sunlight swathes our surroundings, time begins to move at a different pace. For High Summer ‘21, we take a trip to the German countryside with model and photographer Lou Schoof. While there, Lou documents the elusive and ephemeral spirit of summer in photo journal form.
Since starting her modeling career at the age of 19, Lou has been seeking to balance her fast-paced lifestyle with a mode of being that centers around her home and the slower rhythms of nature. Some years ago, she designed and built an idyllic eco-house with her father, using natural materials and sustainable techniques. It was in this very space in 2019 that she decided to work exclusively with ethical and environmentally conscious brands. We join Lou as she considers and captures the impermanence of hazy summer days. Step into her world.
Words: Charmaine Li
Images: Lou Schoof
“It’s so easy to feel yourself getting lost in the big wide world. I need to come home to get in touch with my roots so that I stay grounded. Everything else around me can change as much as it wants, but there’s always this base.”
"Having grown up with parents who were very eco-conscious and who built their own eco-house using alternative building techniques, the idea to build my own eco-home came quite naturally. I think part of it was that I also wanted to have a place where I could rest, replenish and root myself. My eco-home is about an hour from Hamburg and close to the Baltic Sea. There are so many forests, small villages, lakes and fields all around. I love going on long bike rides and getting lost. It's very calm here. Coincidentally, my grandparents also live nearby and my parents grew up a few kilometers away from here. So when I was younger, I loved coming to this area. There's a small river where I used to play as a kid and I have so many summer memories connected to the places around here.
Now, coming here is a way to be present, to be curious, and to pay attention to the small beautiful things in my surroundings and how they're all connected. That’s what I wanted to document with these photos. Those fleeting moments of everyday life that embody the spirit of summer.”
"Shoes like this in the summer barely feel like anything. You slip into them and it feels like you are touching the grass and you can move your feet and toes easily. Everything feels very connected to the earth and unrestricted, so I can move from spot to spot in my garden and continue to discover and experience new corners.
Summer is so sensual. The earth feels soft and warm, berries peek between the small bushes, and beautiful scents are carried by the wind. There’s so much to stumble across
in small nooks. There are deer and hares in the hayfields. I lay down in nature and listen to the sounds around me from grasshoppers to birds.
Summer is really about feeling this moment of adventure even in the smallest areas, like a garden. Everything invites you to look closer and move more intuitively.”
"These two images show motion and pause. When I come here after traveling and working a lot, I get a better understanding of what I'm doing in both movement and stillness. I wanted this house to be a place where you can be on your own and in your own world while coexisting with others. It’s important to me to have that balance. A lot of my life is spent in solitude as a necessary contrast to a communicative social life. That's where I feel connected and where some of my most important realizations happen. I can understand things better in stillness and move from there.”
"This is at sunset. I have so much energy and I feel like something magical happens with this lighting. The summer heat takes away brain capacity and leaves an overwhelming sense of happiness. I love that feeling of getting so lightheaded when everything feels more fun. I’m really creative in the summer and impulsive, I overthink less and have less of a filter — in a good way."
"I love being in the fields nearby. Energy just comes from within yourself when you’re in this wide space. It’s when I feel strongest. There’s so much life energy that emerges from these solitary moments. I like to lie down and absorb the sensuality that summer brings. I want to touch everything with my hands, feel the wind on my face and stretch myself out towards the endless sky.
The different landscapes offer such biodiversity. There’s the forest where you can go mushroom picking between old trees, the raw beauty of the sea, and the fields with their flowers peeking out from the grass. In the big field between my house and the lake there is so much to discover, especially near the water. You can walk around for hours and see so many animals, like deer, snakes, frogs and birds."
"In the summer, there’s that moment in the evening when it gets cooler as the sun goes down. You’re outside wearing a dress and summer shoes but you still want to stay outside. At this point, all you need is a blanket so you can stay up to watch the stars or sit around a fire with friends."
“You put on your summer shoes, they feel soft and supportive. They never bother you. Then you might end up taking them off and walking barefoot in the fields with the grass in your toes. Shoes can take you anywhere. Oftentimes, I ride my bike and go for long walks. Maybe I end up staying somewhere for hours listening to nature, reading my book, and laying around. The lightness of summer calms your thoughts and evokes your senses. You feel the wind, you breathe, you open your eyes."