10 Things x Alix-Rose Cowie

The editor-photographer talks food + lockdown

Alix-Rose Cowie L

Interview: Akim Jardine | Design + illustration: Keshia Chapman | Images: Supplied

Food and the seemingly mundane are some of the things you’ll see in Alix-Rose Cowie’s photographic dreamscapes. They are sometimes unreal, sometimes too real, sometimes funny, but always totally captivating. You’ll find your eyes darting around your screen for ages, running over every carefully considered detail. So it felt fitting to chat with the super-talented writer, editor, photographer and occasional jewellery model about the things we’re all navigating together right now – food and the mundane.

Photographs m2
  1. Githan Coopoo is one of the most wonderful people. I was shooting his portrait in my embarrassingly overgrown backyard for an article when the wind came up and the sari backdrop engulfed him. The photo is a lucky strike, but that’s how he makes people feel.
  2. This was for an article that Matthew Freemantle wrote about eating foods that induce dreaming, so the images have a surreal feeling. It was made in a total state of play, which I think shows.
  3. I’d been wanting to do a perfume shoot for ages when I came across Apartment and asked if I could do a shoot with their incredible product. The concept was high-low, which I think is a pretty good example of my current style.
  4. This was an experiment for the cover of the Ugly issue of Chips! magazine. It’s so gross and satisfying putting a creme caramel onto furry fabric.
  5. This was also for the same issue, which was just one big opportunity to go wild. I sourced questionable crockery and glassware from Milnerton market in Cape Town and did food pairings with them.
  6. This is my favourite image from a shoot that I did 7 years ago with two of my besties, who’ve both left to live abroad. It brings back really good memories of working with friends and feeling super inspired.
  7. This is from the last Pichulik campaign that I shot. Kat, who founded the jewellery and apparel brand, and I have been working together since her first shoot back in 2012. It’s a creative partnership that I really cherish.
  8. This is close to my heart because I shot it for my and my partner’s wedding invitation, which has since been postponed until we’re allowed to gather, hug and kiss our friends and family.
  9. This was for the first issue of Chips! and the first time I dabbled in “food styling”, a term I use loosely. The buns are actually carrot muffins covered in fondant. After lockdown, I’m printing this for my bathroom.
Food M3
  1. Cos lettuce with parmesan, lemon and olive oil
  2. Toasted cheese
  3. Wedding carrot cake by Egg ’n Shoulders
  4. Cooked tomato and fresh basil with pepper on fresh, buttered white bread
  5. Baklava in Istanbul
  6. Zucchini flower and blue cheese corn quesadillas in Mexico City
  7. Grapefruit juice
  8. Xiaolongbao
  1. Frances McDormand in Friends with Money explaining why she stopped washing her hair.
  2. Melanie Lynskey’s accent and putting the roll of dollars in the freezer in Coyote Ugly.
  3. Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan smoking in I’m Not There.
  4. The group of women learning to eat spaghetti without making a noise in Tampopo.
  5. Kirsten Dunst having a bath during her wedding reception in Melancholia.
  6. Winona Ryder as Jo March in the 90s rendition of Little Women.
  7. Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha spending all her money to go to Paris and then not leaving the apartment.

Things I say to my partner in lockdown:

  1. Look, I painted my nails!
  2. I’m going to make brownies.
  3. Which picture should I post?
  4. I miss flowers.
  5. If you could go anywhere right now, where would you go?
  6. Should we have tea?

(Editor’s note: Alix also shared five food charities that are close to her heart, should you have the means to donate: Philisa Abafazi Bethu, Food Flow, Ladles of Love, Food Forward SA and Isabelo.)

Themes m7
  1. Scrunched up balls of paper
  2. Reflected light
  3. Commonplace objects
  4. Flowers
Home m8
  1. My stacks of magazines that have recently been pruned.
  2. Where the light hits the cookbooks in the kitchen.
  3. The afternoon light in the hallway and the “Eames” *ahem* coat rack.
Self-portrait m9

For creative pursuits: Obsess over everything that could go wrong. Do it anyway. Feel like you did a bad job. Seek external validation. Come to love what you made. Send the invoice.

Alix’s most recent work is a series of self-portraits shot during lockdown for Pichulik’s new collection. She wears earrings from the collection in her profile image above. Next to this, another image shot for Pichulik, with ikebana by Cynthia Fan and styling by Gabrielle Kannemeyer.

Art of Collaboration