GoKateTravel: San Francisco Film

If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you may have noticed that I've been traveling all over the place recently. For one of those trips I headed out to San Francisco for a week for some work, style inspiration, and some serious play. I loved it! I got some serious quality time with my hometown friend Abbey, who is my oldest friend in the whole world (almost 20 years of friendship!). We grew up doing dance together so it was great to bop around the city together. I also got to see my artist friend Katy from Vermont who now lives in SF. It's so nice to catch up with old friend! We traipsed all over the city but spent a huge amount of time in the colorful Mission district, an arty, up-and-coming Mexican neighborhood with great coffee spots, hole in the wall boutiques, and the most mouth-watering tacos I've ever had. 

After the sudden demise of my vintage film camera (DAMN YOU, TINY OBSCURE BATTERY THAT DIED!), I ran out and got some awesome old school disposable cameras. There's something wonderfully nostalgic about going on summer vacation with the same kind of camera I took to summer camp when I was shooting growing up, and you know how I swoon over the colors from film. 

Check out these super-colorful snaps that document one day of my explorations! I took a whirlwind road trip around the city, from the Mission to Dolores Park and the Golden Gate bridge, documenting all the way. This is a tease, too; I'll be jetting back to San Francisco for a trip to Tahoe in about a month, so there's lots more West Coast love to come! Click through, and enjoy.

Abbey and Katy on the way to Dolores Park

The view of the city from Dolores Park

My first In-N-Out burger, FINALLY! Yum!

I love the beach.

Abbey and I trying on some sweet shades while shopping in the Mission

From the Back Streets of Pittsburgh

This weekend I went to Pittsburgh to spend some time with my extended family (heyyy 15 cousins!) and do some serious digging in the back neighborhoods of the city. I found some INCREDIBLE vintage deals that I'm really excited about; I will be debuting them throughout this week so keep an eye out. I am moving to a new apartment in DC (yes, again, I know...) this week as well, so thank you for your patience in advance. 

Huge street art installation: sequin camel

Love a little chevron!

More chevron...and these were the ones that I didn't buy

Travel Snapshots of the Final Days in Istanbul

On my second to last day in Istanbul, I calmed down about working a little. I rode the ferry from the Asia side of the city to the European side while drinking tea (read: spilling tea) and watching the sun rise as I had most days before. But instead of going to deal with project organizers, models, or vintage clothiers, I lost myself with two other artists in the back streets of the Grand Bazaar. Istanbul has a pulse, a life, and it was important for me to capture that. 

So we shopped. We haggled and bargained our way into 4 kilos of Turkish spices apiece, leaving the young man at the market smiling but scratching his head at how we got such a deal and how we would get it home. We ran our fingers through silks and cashmeres, inspected handmade bowls in hues that mirror the light inside the Hagia Sophia. Spices assaulted our senses. I sat on the steps of the city center mosque with my eyes closed and listened to the rhythm of Istanbul. The light smell of roasted corn on the cob wafted from every direction, and I could feel the hems of ladies long burkas brush the ancient stone steps as they went to pray. In a way, I prayed too, a small and soaring prayer of thanks to the city of Istanbul and its people. 

Photos by Monika Rizovska where noted

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

Monika Rizovska

German Travel Friend

One of my partners in crime while in the remote Turkish village of Olympos was this German, Julian. He was a member of our spontaneous group of friends that emerged over 4 days on the Mediterranean. There is something so special about the friends you make while traveling; you know in your hearts that you will never see one another again, but that simply serves to make the present all the more sweet. 

I love his beach style and attention to detail with his jewelry; the leather thong necklace, and his lip and eyebrow rings say something definitive about who he is without being ostentatious. 

I also photographed his girlfriend Fiona quite extensively; I can't wait to share those photos with you. 

Istanbul Graffiti

As some of you know, I have always been really inspired by street art and graffiti. While living in Barcelona I documented a huge amount all over the city, and my photographer friend Nick Soriano made this video that features a lot of it. 

Here are some of the small stencil pieces that grabbed by attention in Istanbul. Most are from the neighborhood Galata, which is home to many art galleries and creatives. I welcome any translates in the comments, please excuse any if they are offensive. I think it's really interesting to be drawn to something visually without understanding its full meaning. 


{Defend the Village}: Olympos, Turkey

After finishing the experimental art festival in Istanbul, Kelsea and I traveled with one of our Turkish friends to a remote village on the southern Mediterranean coast, called Olympos. We flew into Antalya, and then took a dolmuş (a minibus van, always with a crazy driver who leaves the side door open) an hour south along the coast. The scenery was incredible (photos coming), so I'll save the rest of our journey story for later. 

Olympos is a secluded city of ruins. Built in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC, it was attacked by pirates so frequently that they finally gave up rebuilding and left the city to rot. But rot it did not, by and large; it lay quietly forgotten for hundreds of years until it was rediscovered by the general public within the last 50 years. Now, the only things there are the ruins and nondescript treehouse bungalows where adventurous travelers stay. 

When we got sick of laying on the beach, cliff jumping, and having general shenanigans with our new friends from Australia, Germany, and the UK, we wandered off to get lost in the ruins for the afternoon. It feel like a different world in the ruins; the air is thick with the smell of the bay leaves that crunch underfoot, and the silence brings an intimacy to spaces filled with an ancient sense of grandeur. 

Here is the first series of photos from one of our ruin walks. They feature performance artist Kelsea Burch, who is performing her piece entitled "Defend the Village" in two of the photos. 

Failed to mention this little trip...

Oh, did I fail to mention that I received a grant to go shoot in Turkey for a couple of weeks this coming September?

I'M VERY EXCITED! I'm shooting an amazing, very public project that I can't wait to tell you about...but I'm on my way out to the Capital Fringe Festival on the back of a motorcycle (wearing vintage DVF, ahh so fab!) so it will have to wait. 

Here are two of the locations I will be shooting in Istanbul. So beautiful!!

Photo sources unknown, not mine this time though. 

Turkish Delights

include....fiesty mascot-fighting dogs

nose hoses

drag queens

the world's largest carpet


the Hagia Sophia

cubic cats

Firat the James-Franco Turkish guide

colorful decorations

poor puppies in boxes

presents i should have bought storm

the wildness of taksim square

trendy stencils in byoglu

Firat getting down with his bad self

Crazy terrace-leading stairs to rooftop clubs

old Jewish, Greek neighborhoods...

Turkish chillums

little soldier Turks

sweet graffiti in the trendy neighborhoods of Istanbul


fishermen men men

many marvelous mosques and such

smoke-blowing out codgers who secretly know photography really well

fighting like cats and dogs


fatherson dynamic

nargile hoses

fighty friends? nope, just rowdy


reading the tea-leaves

turkish wedding reception that we attended accidentally!

As our guide and friend Firat packed us into cabs at the end of our journey through Istanbul, he whispered to us very seriously the Secrets of Istanbul. He withheld several upon our promises to return foraminimumoftendays!! in July. These photos make it easy to see why the city is gray and melancholy to its natives, but I've never met such friendly and passionate people. And it's true: they don't have squirrels, only poor cats.