Kai Leishman is a visual communicator and finds constant beauty in the everyday. She searches for colour, matches patterns and steals away moments that Australia’s seaside atmosphere readily provides. Leishman’s love for photography started on a whirlwind trip to Europe, where she spent her time snapping shots of little Italian towns and ornate architecture. Now, her passion for being behind the lens has turned into her career – Leishman is a full-time photographer, honing her bright, lush aesthetic to showcase Sydney’s beaches and streets.
With a penchant for good food and brilliant design, this Sydney native has her go-to places for gathering inspiration, clearing her head and indulging in the best cuisine that Sydney has to offer. We caught up with the local shutterbug to see the five iconic spots to snap, drink and dine during a day in Sydney.
Leave the tourist destination of Bondi Beach behind and head to Bronte, one of the best beaches Sydney's East has to offer. Get up early and run along the coast to catch the sunrise, or wait until the afternoon to swim in the saltwater ocean pool. Cosy and tucked away, this beach is the hangout for optimal surf and sun.
“I love to wake up and run the Bondi-to-Bronte coastal track. When you’re looking at the ocean with the sun rising, it’s the best start to a day that you could wish for.”
Bourke Street Bakery
An icon of Surry Hills, Bourke Street Bakery always has a long queue that spills out of its understated doors, but it’s well worth the wait. Meet a client over coffee, catch up with a friend or sit solo and people watch. Take home a freshly baked loaf of artisanal organic sourdough or choose a crowd favourite like the pork and fennel roll.
“I work fast. Clients want to see their store or product right away and editors want jobs turned around quickly. Everything has to be in the moment and stay relevant.”
Wendy Whiteley Secret Garden
Wild and enchanting, this hidden public garden in North Sydney is the place to go to clear your mind. Artist Wendy Whiteley went rogue with her own style of guerrilla gardening and transformed a railway dump into a tribute garden for her late husband Brett Whiteley. Pack a lunch and work your way through the winding tropical pathways, and don’t forget to appreciate the harbour view.
“Travel photography is the purest form because you’re taking photos purely for your own enjoyment – everything is fresh and wonderful. I try not to take Sydney for granted and explore my own city.”
Scandinavian design comes to Sydney directly from Copenhagen. The HAY Studio showroom is flooded with natural light and acts as the perfect spot to gather inspiration before a big project. Whether you’re browsing or buying, the contemporary Danish furnishings at HAY are sleek with an element of surprise – like a welcome pop of colour.
“Anything symmetrical and architectural inspires me, along with patterns and colour. Studios and galleries are the best places to be visually stimulated.”
Walk into this industrial space and stop to admire the exposed copper pipes, melted plastic details and graffiti wall art. Opened by Chef Stephen Seckold, the Salaryman is inspired by white-collar Japanese men that work and play hard. Try the Tantamen ramen with pork and pippies for a modern take on a traditional dish.
“Food presentation has become an artform – and eating has so many connotations. It’s comfort, it’s family, it’s hanging out with friends. And don’t forget it’s fun to eat, too.”