I have always loved Alice in Wonderland. Something creepy about this story attracted me for a while. Whether it is the fact a little girl is stuck in an imaginary world difficult to escape only to wonder if it was really imaginary in the 1st place or the dangerous parallels attempted between Alice’s adventures underground and Alice Liddell’s life.
Stephanie Van Rijn contacted me a while after I responded to a Facebook message. She was looking for photographers to do a dark princess series. Although Alice does not quite qualify as a princess (there are no prince or kingdom involved here..), the proposition was well received. All there was left was finding a location and get busy. We picked the Morgan Arboretum in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. We needed a forest scene and that is what it is. Also, I scouted the place the week before the shoot and found a quiet spot about 2 minutes from the parking lot; perfect for situation where you don’t have an assistant to haul your gears.
The whole shoot was done with simple lighting in mind. One AlienBee 1600 and one 60 inches umbrella; that’s it. My shoulders were already full with everything, so were the models’ hands and the makeup artist. I also needed to keep in mind we were on a very tight schedule. The less gear to repack meant more time to shoot. This is an important factor when you shoot concepts and want to keep a storyline. You skip one image and the whole series loses its meaning.
We shot on a Saturday morning in mosquitoland. Well, the mosquitos did not worry me as much as the poison ivy. Last shoot I had in the woods a few weeks before left me with 2 weeks of itchy legs… The spot we were in was relatively clean of it. Once we got there, Genevieve started the makeup on Stephanie while I setup the light and tested it on Jerome. Once the makeup ready, we started to shoot. The whole thing was inspired by Shinedown’s “Her name is Alice” song which opens on a quote of the Alice in Wonderland story.
If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t.
To me, this is the path to insanity.
Venturing in Wonderland
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