if i were an indian

when i touched my feet on melbourne soil and breathed, it smelled of home. i love the way australia smells, it’s a sweet, warm and briny. like being on the top of a hill above the sea.

these are a few, quick self portraits i took today before the sun set, after an artist friend sketched me and i realised i hadn’t taken any in a long while. the headdress belongs to my friend living here.

here is a picture of my knee from the fall, you can’t see the extent of the bruising but it’s still pretty gross and very sore. my elbows are also purple. but i like scars, they remind you of things. i have a big scar from a motorbike exhaust burn at the back of my calf. it was from when me and matt first visited indonesia. it was second degree and i can always remember at the time i thought matt looked more hurt than i felt. there is something reassuring about having someone care more about you than you do. especially when you’re as hopeless as i am.

78 love notes

  1. i live in indonesia. and when i read that you got a burn when you visited, i had to look at my own two burns. it seems like indonesia likes to put a mark on people who have visited 🙂

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  3. wow! have been to indonesia? cmon visit here again 🙂
    love ur words n photos!



  4. Thank you Crystal, for saying things on this post with an eloquence that I would not be able to address this situation in. Anyone with a true tie to their "Cherokee and aboriginal" culture would know the stereotypes war bonnets worn as costumes promote and how hurtful the term Indian can be. There's nothing truthful about a hipster in a headdress. Natives are an oppressed people, removing the meaning of such an important part of the culture from those that have already lost so much is inconsiderate and irresponsible- especially when it comes from someone that so many obviously look up to.

  5. I can't really describe it, but there is a kind of quiet vulnerability to these images. They are beautiful and honest. Sad and pure and lonely. And your colors make me swoon.
    Thank you for inspiring, always.

  6. Don't ever dare to say you are not pretty, because you are one the most beautiful persons I've ever seen.

  7. i love the colours that were captured.
    i also love the scraped knee photo. its rough and delicate at the same time. i love that type of art. well done.


  8. Nirrimi, you look so beautiful. I love your eyes and the headpiece.

    I was just on your Formspring and one of your answer made me love ya even more when you said, "Indonesia is like my second home, to me and matt. in other words: saya cinta indonesia, itu adalah indah!" I'm from Indonesia, myself. I've moved around, most of my family is still there. What are your favorite food there? I know you travel a lot but if you are ever in Chicago for a project would love to meet up. I'm also a photographer (http://www.idontdodigital.com).

    Big dinosaur hugs,

  9. You really are beautiful and you should show your face and be proud despite what you think of it.

    You don't know who I am but I just want to say thank you for everything. Because you truly are one of my inspirations. When I looked through your portfolio for the first time I fell in love with your world. You have such a beautiful honest vision of it. Ever since I followed your blogs and work on the internet. And I know you get millions of comments like this and I wish I can say this in a more meaningful way other than a blog comment but I'll just leave it at that. I just hope you get to read this and that it would at least make your moment. Really, thank you so much again for being present in this world and I know you will continue to inspire everyone and everything, especially myself.

  10. @nirrimi: Yes, it's true that all different cultures wear different headpieces, etc but the particular headpiece that you are wearing is not just a simple headpiece like say a fedora. It's a sacred item for a culture. It's not meant to be worn by just anyone who thinks it looks nice, but by men, particularly chiefs and warriors who earn each feather.

    You may be part Cherokee and aboriginal but this headdress is not a part of your culture. War bonnets were not worn by Cherokees (I was raised by my Cherokee grandmother, so I have first hand knowledge of this) but only by Native Americans in the Great Plains area.

    By wearing such a sacred item completely out of context, it furthers stereotypes of Native Americans as being a homogenous people, which they are not (much like Swedes are different than Australians or Americans). When stereotypes are created (or furthered in this case) about a historically oppressed people it continues the cycle of oppression in innumerable ways.

    I'm not trying to be rude in anyway, but I can't just gloss over something like this without at least starting a dialogue that will hopefully lead to more critical thinking.

  11. "there is something reassuring about having someone care more about you than you do"
    – You are blessed to have such a wonderful relationship.

    Your eyes in that first pic are amazing!

    I freqently hope my cuts will turn into scars. They don't usually. But I have one on my left ring finger shaped like a wish bone. It's been there for well over ten years.

    Kate x

  12. That bruise looks disgustingly sore. I have a chunk out of my ankle from when I scraped myself on a car…I was drunk and my first thought was how much is hurt, the second was on what a cool scar it will become. Kind of weird, but I like em too.

  13. oh my god, how are you this wonderful? you look so fragile and lovely.

    the curves you used on this are amazing, too. teach me how to edit, please!

  14. crystal- i am sorry to have offended. many people wear different headpieces from many different cultures/countries, regardless of the colour of their skin. i have cherokee and aboriginal blood but have white skin from also being swedish. it may make no difference but it is part of my distant culture too. i think it's always going to be hard to not offend at least one person. thankyou for liking my blog, so much!

    gyan- thankyou dearly for commenting. it meant a lot to me.

    thankyou all so much, you all make me smile everyday, i couldn't love you more for it.

  15. ouch! that looks painful! i fell once too .. except i was drunk and decided to skip all the way home…i didnt quite make it home instead i tripped and sprawled out on a road int he middle of Kings X in sydney..
    had to tell everyone at work it was a result of tennis (i dont even play tennis)..
    i had bruises like your on both knees..

  16. Your knee looks so painful, you must of fell really hard. Hope it will go away soon! I agree what you said about scars tho. They might not look nice but they always tell a story. I used to have lots of scratches on my body, especially my arms and hands after playing with my cats. I dont have them anymore (cats and scars) and I miss them dearly but I still have the nice memories. Btw you look gorgeous in them self portraits! The mood in them is so totally different than in your other photographs and I dont know what it is but they're still so beautiful and so are you 🙂

  17. Nirrimi you are an amazing person. Your words and your photographs encouarged me to return to my own photography after a year of giving everything up in despair.
    I hope this doesn't sound creepy but when I read that you fell over and now having seen the nasty bruises it made me hurt for you.
    Keep on being amazing.
    <3 Bec

  18. Nirrimi,

    What's good? DT. here again 🙂

    Loving the new portraits sweet lady!

    Miami, Florida | Nassau, Bahamas

  19. everytime you post something new be it pictures or writings i always, always stop whatever else im doing and marvel at your blog in awe of the beauty thats in your words and pictures. i rarely ever comment because everyone else always say the same things that i want to you but because you said it helps with your self esteem i will comment on all of your posts from now on even if it means saying exactly the same thing everytime
    ps: you are beautiful, whether you see it yourself or not

  20. you are so beautiful inside and out. there are less than few who can compare. thank you for all that you do!

  21. Hi,
    I love your blog so much. It's great to see someone young pursuing and following their dreams while trying to stay true to themselves and to also be honest about the journey. It's a tough thing to do, but you do it so well. Having said all that though, I find these pictures pretty offensive because of the headdress. I strongly encourage you to please take the time to check out this blog:

    Here is a specific article about appropriation:

    And here is an article about the history of war bonnets (aka headdresses):

  22. the greatest thing about your photos are that they are identifiable as yours and yours only, no matter where they're posted on the internet (saw the above photos on my tumblr feed). your vision shines through so distinctively and i can tell in an instant that they are your photos. it is amazing how quickly you were able to find your voice through your photographs. truly inspiring.

  23. Beautiful self portraits – and aside from the bruises (ouch!) I don't see a hint of jet lag.

    Oh to be young and resilient! 🙂

  24. just tweeted you with the same sentence but I feel like saying this again: your pictures & words are so inspiring. thank you for that 🙂

    p.s. I'm sorry bout your knee, get well soon!

  25. Ahhh I seriously can't even tell you how much I love these photographs!! They are so beautiful. Not that this is anything new, but you are one insanely talented girl!

    I love what you said about scars and especially about someone caring about you more than you care about yourself. It is such an amazing feeling that leaks through your pores and the spaces between your atoms until it overtakes you. It's too completely real to even attach those normal, fake sounding words to it, because the injustice they would do to it is sickening and unbearable. Why are there not better words for these good feelings, for the feelings of wholeness, of connectedness, of love and euphoria? I want thousands more to explain myself. But, I am sure anyone who has experienced this or something similar knows exactly what I mean.


  26. I find every single one of your posts absolutely inspiring. I immediately feel the need to leave a comment after reading an entry but can't think of the right way to express the connection I feel. I started reading your blog for the pictures but your stories are just incredible, I'm hooked. I actually try to draw a lot of inspiration from your photos into my own. Thank you for doing what you do, and for being so honest. 🙂

    Alexanne Oke

  27. the photodiariest- no, i just held the camera, myspace style, haha.

    everyone else, thankyou so much, this does a lot to my self esteem and i need it.

  28. You're so gorgeous Nirrimi! And these are just… I'm speechless. I hope you never stop being this amazing.

  29. you are absolutely beautiful even with that scar. i think it makes you even prettier. please continue inspiring me, nirrimi!

  30. Nirrimi!!! these selfies are just amazing!!! woooow! I'm speechless, you are so beautiful, and talented, and magical! you are the most great person I know! I'd love to meet you once…I'd love to fell all this magic in the "real world" and not only through internet.
    Thank you for everything!

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