53: tara o’brady

tara o’brady
writer and photographer

tara spends most of her days cooking, reading dr. seuss, baking, playing with trains, taking photographs, and exploring the possibilities of finger paints. she writes about most of it here, or in UPPERCASE magazine. sometimes you’ll find her work in other places, too. she lives with her husband and their two young sons in a brick and wood house on a quiet street in southern ontario, canada. they’re happy there.





+on the nightstand:


am loving:

  • the way the light is changing and the promise of green, soon
  • audiobooks
  • this perfume and how it smells of wood and somehow water too. it suits these days when everything is melting outside of my window.
  • a sweater to keep wrapped up in, until that melting is done.
  • the specific shade of yellow of the lid to a jar of english mustard. marigold, maybe? one with more oomph than dandelion.
  • a photograph that makes me long to travel.


how does winter inspire you?

winter and i are not the best of friends. i tend to run cold, as a rule, and prefer close proximity to the fireplace rather than traipsing about in the grand outdoors. so winter inspires me to try harder.

in those times when we feel trapped in the stasis of the earth’s baited breath, i try to find those details that get lost in the silent, swaddling whiteness of snow. the shape of the rocks i know that lie beneath, the sweetness in root vegetables that can be coaxed out by roasting, the quiet joy there is in darker evenings that grant longer stories at bedtime.


what’s one item in your winter wardrobe you can’t go without?

as much as i adore flips and skirts and the warmer months, i do like cold-weather dressing – so this is hard. i’ll say a good scarf, one that’s long and chunkily-knit, and can be wrapped round your neck or gathered about your shoulders.


what’s your idea of the perfect homemade winter meal?

now that we are, hopefully, getting closer to the end of winter, i’m fond of a meal that hints at the spring to come. i’m getting done with braises and stews, and wish for a meal with some zip and vigor. i thought it would be nice to share a lunch on a grey afternoon, with a table set for two or four.

we could start with homemade semolina gnocchi, pan-fried in butter and tossed with a herby pangritata and grated grana padano – both of which would catch deliciously in the pasta’s nooks. then there would be some simple lamb chops, cut thickish and seared until black and bronzed in a cast iron pan. we’d eat it with ragged ribbons of kale, dressed with olive oil made fiery by chili, garlic and lots of bright lemon. to end, a sip of liqueur or a cup of espresso, and a pair of walnut sandwich cookies.

or maybe three. each.


what is your winter theme song this year?

helplessness blues by fleet foxes. but the other day someone reminded me of janelle monáe’s sincerely, jane, and i danced.


what are three constants in your day?

  • coffee, then tea
  • a pair of lads in flannel pajamas
  • my husband


tell us about the inspiration behind these photos.

these photographs were all shot over nine hours, as i wanted to convey the particular feeling of this time between seasons. i hoped to give a sense of what it would be like be in each other’s company; to share with you some moments of our every day.


15 thoughts on “53: tara o’brady

  1. What a lovely post. The perfume sounds great! I love solid perfume (Penhaligon’s Artemisia in the solid is really lovely, too).

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