"When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!"
"My name is Alice, so please Your Majesty," said Alice very politely.
"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have to them to be otherwise."
"Alice said nothing: she had never been so much contradicted in all her life before."
"Tied round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with the words "DRINK ME," beautifully printed on it."
"Alice began looking at everything about her to pass the time"
"She would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright with many a strange tale, perhaps even with a dream of Wonderland of long ago... remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days."
I am loathe to write masses about this post, as I feel that the quotes (all credited to Lewis Caroll's ever wonderful 'Alice in Wonderland') and photos speak for themselves. However, you know me - lengthy posts are my forte!
As you have probably guessed, this is my latest behind-the-camera and styling venture, with a new model - my gorgeous friend Caitlin. The premise for the shoot was 'Alice through the Ages' - how Alice might appear in each decade, from fifties to eighties. I had to improvise slightly, but I hope you can get a feel for each 'look' I tried to create.
I know that Alice in Wonderland has been a very popular source of inspiration ever since the Tim Burton film came out (which I finally saw recently), but it's been one of my favourite stories since childhood. Surely after seeing three different film adaptations, listening to it on repeat as an audio book and reading both 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Alice through the Looking Glass', the next logical step was an Alice inspired photo project? And I think this inspiration source is far from used up - you can draw ideas again and again from Caroll's surreal story, like one can draw treacle from a treacle-well. (Well, according to the doormouse at the tea-party.) Reading through the book for suitable quotes filled me with the desire to complete an even bigger and more ambitious Alice shoot. (Are you up for Alice pt 2 Caitlin?)
I especially loved the concluding few pages of the book (see the last quote) which gives a wonderfully evocative description of all that is golden about childhood - of imagination, fairytales and the ability to believe the most fantastical things. That's the kind of aesthetic I humbly hope I might capture a little of with my photography...
The idea with this project was mainly to focus on the Alice dresses, so only a few props were included (such as the 'drink me' bottle and tea set). We used the area surrounding Caitlin's house (she lives even more rurally than me!) as the setting, and had a day full of running around, dressing up and climbing trees.
I had such trouble whittling down the photos to only two per outfit - I have so many more shots I would love to share... I don't know how professional photographers and magazine editors manage to select only the one! Maybe they just have that innate ability - I can personally imagine Anna Wintour nonchanantly looking at a row of photos, pointing her perfectly manicured finger and saying "that one" before striding off, high heels tapping on the polished floor. However, I think my trouble is that I take pictures of the same outfit in several different locations, making the editing process so much harder for myself.
'Fifties Alice' is made up of a favourite blue dress from Beyond Retro, an apron my mum bought from a charity shop, a vintage necklace inherited from one of my grandma's and a watch that used to be my mum's.
'Sixties Alice' is wearing a blue vintage dress I bought on ebay, a clock necklace also bought on ebay, various vintage watches from different sources and a silk ribbon that came with a charity shopped vintage shirt.
'Seventies Alice's ensemble is comprised of a vintage floral dress I bought in a Bristol vintage shop, a vintage white belt that used to belong to my grandma (look at Caitlin's teeny waist!) and a necklace from a charity shop.
'Eighties Alice' has been put in a vintage charity shopped silk shirt (the one the ribbon came with - Caitlin wanted to steal this from me!), an electric blue leather pencil skirt from Beyond Retro and necklaces inherited from family members.
Shoes - model's own. On that note, thank you Caitlin for being such a willing subject and for a very enjoyable shoot!
I also made a four page moodboard for this project, but forgot to scan it in...
Thank you for the wonderful response to my Sunday Times feature, and a special thank you also to the ever-lovely Citizen Rosebud, who not only gave me a blog award, but also always leaves such sweet, eloquent comments!