Sunday, 15 August 2010

Alice Through the Ages

"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!"

"Burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after the white rabbit, and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole."

"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!

Edit: And just to clarify, none of these photos are altered/edited on the computer. I try to keep them in the original format, apart from the occasional crop...


Style Goddesses said...

These pictures are beautiful! I love how natural they look, and at the same time I'm wondering what they would look like with a little more editing?
Anyway, I think I'm going to have to follow you now! :)
Love Sanchia xxx

Closet Fashionista said...

This is so fun!!! I love it!

November Grey said...

Gorgeous photos! Love how you incorporated the storyline. The clothes are fab, as always.


❤Cate❤ said...

Really love these shots and you do get a feel for Alice through the ages with the different styling xoxo

Ellie jane said...

I adore these shots, I think you capture the look perfectly. I've loved Alice in wonderland since I was small, I love the idea that you can escape into a completely different world filled with smiling cats and queens that play croquet with flamingos.

Emily said...

Great idea for a photoshoot - I loved how it came out!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work. I really can't wait to see how your creativity unravels throughout the years to come. :)

The Lady Nerd said...

These are absolutely lovely Roz! You are really growing in your photography. (The lighting in the first photograph is quite mesmerizing). I can't wait to see more of the them (And is there a part 2 I hear?)

It's undeniably hard to choose photographs on an editing table. From what I've observed, alot of times, they actually combine photos! They may like the face from one photo, but the background from another and attempt to stitch it together. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But all in all, it is quite hard to choose!

BattyNora said...

Oh wow! I haven't looked at your blog in a while, and this Alice shoot is just stunning-somehow i always associate 'whimsical storytelling photoshoots' with your blog, and obviously Alice in Wonderland epitomises this! I love the added concept of 'Alice through the Ages', my favourite alice is probably 60's alice,though i do love 70's alice's skirt :D. The photo with all the stacked teapots is very eye-catching,i like the glinting metal and her candid expression. Setting is gorgeous, (espesially the backdrop of fields)and it's fresh how you used clothes in electric blue colours, instead of delicate Tim Burton/style pale blues-i think it works better against the green and makes the character seem stronger. Love it!

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Goodness. I ADORE Alice In Wonderland-inspired shoots (indeed, the Alice In Wonderland shoot with Natalia Vodianova in Vogue, Dec. 2003 was one of my absolutely favorite editorials ever!) and the styling behind this one is genius - such a great twist. My favorite photo has to be the fifth one down (60s Alice) - the straightforward composition with the amazing background is just incredible. My favorite outfit, however is definitely 70's Alice - what a beautiful dress! The sleeves are so pretty.

- Halie

Kate said...

I love the through the ages idea, it's really clever. I especially love the first outfit- I think it captures Alice perfectly! Thank you for commenting on my blog.

alainatastic said...

This is so chic! Your friend is so gorgeous!
I love how you kept it simple, relatively speaking, with similar shades of that gorgeous blue in all of the outfits!
xx, Alaina.

Hal said...

So cute, you have a lovely face. xo


Lady Moriarty said...

Thanks for your sweet comment !
I love the last outfit, amazing shades of blue.

By the way, your french is not bad at all.
But as a girl, you must say "anglaise" with a "e" at the end (je suis anglaise). "anglais" is for a boy !

See U !

Regan said...

Awww, these are so adorable!! I love the "drin m" one. :) xoxo

Miu said...

I especially like the 'Fifites' and the 'Seventies' Alice.
The 'Fifties' apron is sweet and the ' Seventies' dress just beautiful.
Will you share the moodboard with us?

Amelia said...

wonderful photos! such an amazing idea and different from the usual alice in wonderland shoots.

love from amelia of la ville inconnue and the snail and the pigeon

Carly said...

This shoot is incredible, you really are progressing so fast with your styling and photography. I adore the shot by the rabbit hole, I'm just daring her to fall down it and start her adventure.
I really look forward to you doing an Alice part 2 to the shoot.

Thanks for another lovely comment, you always make really interesting points and I love hearing from you.

p.s. I was reminded the other day of some films I used to watch with my grandparents when I was younger, you might like them, 'Three Little Girls in Blue' 1946 and 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' 1954. I really do recommend them.

Ruby Jo Cloud said...

I adore the second outfit although the first is also amazing.

Well done, you seem to put outfits together really well.


mirror said...

how fun! I think it's interesting that Alice in Wonderland is almost a fashion icon...there are so many fashion shoots that use her.

t said...

Cool pics!

annabelle said...

i've never seen the like. absolutely adore this idea! your friend is a classic beauty too! xxx

All Things Nice said...

Beautiful photographs.
And what a wonderful idea!
Your friend looks lovely.

Jen said...

You have no idea how much I adore this post. You and your friend did a fantastic job with this shoot. I love it so much! I am a huge AIW fan and would love to see some more photos!

daisymay aka Chantele said...

This is a great set of photos, love how you interpreted the different fashions through the ages. 50's is def my favourite! that dress of yours is stunning. I am going to Beyond Retro in a few weeks for the first time, and can't wait! Daisy Dayz Home

Gracie said...

love these photos, they're gorgeous!

The Lady Nerd said...

Aye, it does feel very much like a cheat! (I don't like it myself. Like you said, I think it's much better for the photographer and all the creatives involved to capture that 'moment'. It doesn't feel true otherwise)I had that edit happen with a couple of my modeling photos. I didn't even know anything had been altered except that I hadn't remembered doing that exact pose...

Sadly, this seems to happen alot (along with an asinine amount of Photoshopping of models) to be to produce a particular look to the photograph. There's a recent statistic out that as much as 80% of advertising photos are photoshopped. It happens so much because most people would be none the wiser looking at it.

This is a rather article on the subject (at the very bottom you'll see an example of the photo splicing I mentioned above) ---->

Lemondrop Marie said...

So gorgeous! Love the first blue dress and tress shots, amazing.
Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge
August giveaway

GALA said...

Wooow!!!I love Alice's theme,too.Visit my blog to see my Alice's theme.

Pearl Westwood said...

I am speachless, simply wonderful Roz xx

Tania said...

Although I'm not sure Alice would have had a plastic bottle, I love this! The way you changed each one, I had fun guessing the eras ^^

Thank you so much for paying a visit, and the compliments :) (they're going to go to my head now :S). Thank you also for taking the time to look back, I don't like doing so as the older ones... embarass me :P
In answer, yes I would like to be a designer, and maybe one day own a shop or two. And, on a good day (a really good day) I'd say a sketch takes an hour, but I rarely do them in one sitting.
I would love to see your sketches, do you have any in your previous posts? Feel free to email me, I always love to find new artists!

cheese said...

I found you last week in the Sunday Times and was immediately inspired! I instantly went onto this blog and read the whole thing, from 2009 to the recent ones. It's amazing how you find such gorgeous clothes!
I've always wanted to wear vintage clothes but never did, but this has kick started me. I recently went shopping and bought 2 vintage dresses and a shirt! Thankyouu :-D

amzii said...

I found you last week in the Sunday Times and was immediately inspired! I instantly went onto this blog and read the whole thing, from 2009 to the recent ones. It's amazing how you find such gorgeous clothes!
I've always wanted to wear vintage clothes but never did, but this has kick started me. I recently went shopping and bought 2 vintage dresses and a shirt! Thankyouu :-D

Diana said...

I love it. Great idea!
Please check out my blog. It would make me happy ;)

Nerissa The Dreamer said...

These photos and your inspiration and styling behind the picture are just beautiful. Love your blog.

Maddie M. said...

What an interesting concept! I really love how you did this. I've always wanted to do an Alice shoot but never really got around to it. I did try and create Alice esque vibes with my underwater shoot I did awhile back, but never above water. :-)

Thank you for your comment! Fall is the best season, I agree! Its so unbearably hot here, unbelievable. I can't wait for cooler temperatures so I can shoot more. Isn't that airplane fantastic? Its actually my little brother's, and I saw it and knew a photoshoot was in order.
xoxo, Maddie.

sagalina said...

This is my first time visiting your blog and i have to say i LOVE IT!
you should visit my blog you wount regret it:)
peace & love,

Anonymous said...

A favour please! Loving your style!

I'm getting married in December, my dress is this from Noa Noa.

My question is about shoes... white ballet pumps... white brogues... something colourful to match flowers too? Converse....? I'm lost and in need of direction!

Any suggestions welcome! Thanks.

Miss Molly said...

your photos are always beautiful.. you look great


Darling L said...

Your friend Caitlin should change her name to Alice, she really is an Alice in Wonderland! Great pictures with such a magical touch. My favourite one is the Fifties one, but I guess that's just because that's my favourite era... :)

veronika, tick tock vintage. said...

such a neat idea, love the way you've styled everything.

EmmaKingscott. said...

i absolutely love this and i think your photos are amazing! (:

Haylie Jo Gregory said...


Mirror said...

hey, I tagged you for a blog tag/award thing, if you want to do it :)

polka dot said...

Wow, Roz, amazing post. My first thoughts were very Lewis Caroll: along the lines of 'hang on, that doesn't look like Roz.. something tells me we're not in Kansas anymore'. Okay, Wizard of Oz ; )

These are gorgeous shots. I can really relate to what you're talking about. The more I love a series of shots, the harder it is for me to post: I get paralysed with indecision. That's why your post took me FOREVER. I just loved every single shot. I still haven't sent you some of the ones I love - no one's seen them yet. I thought I got the best but it becomes to hard to decide.

Of the various looks on Caitlin - who is a lovely model - I think I'm going to have to go with your favourite dress, the Fifties Alice. What a great idea.

Oops running out of power. I finally got a chance to properly read your lovely email after we got back to the UK: I was without ability to send a proper email for a month and could only post sporadically. Which is the best kind of holiday to have. I'll write soon and we'll figure out a way we can all get together. Best to your mom (& dad, AND brother). Enjoy every minute of this summer, Roz: you look like you are. xo

devilishlypleasurable said...

stunning and phantastical!

Katie Beth said...

love these shots! the first and last ones are my favorites, so pretty! :)

the Citizen Rosebud said...

curiouser & curiouser.

wonderful photo set.

and i smile at your mention. so glad i found your blog, oh so long ago.

mad respect, Bella Q

elisha said...

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