Doors in the Forest: A Through the Looking Glass Tale
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Lewis Carroll
Disclaimer: Some of these images may not be suitable for young viewers, perhaps an explanation of the difference between real-life and make-believe would suffice prior to viewing. I leave that entirely up to you.
Last September we took to the woods for the first of our Alice in Wonderland collaborations. Considering the time restraints we had to work with that day, we did an incredible job...but after the shoot I felt like the story was incomplete, and we should do a part two.
I sat down with Elle Nightingale and local crafter Danny Wicked and hashed out ideas. Originally, we had considered doing a concept featuring mirrors, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to take the vision away from the purely traditional.
This time around it would feature doors instead of mirrors, and it would be a little darker than the last one. Where the first one was saccharine sweet, this would be gritty and red.
Like painted roses.
I put out a request on Facebook and in Buy Nothing Salem for some old doors. People had to have those lying around right?
I was able to source three doors. One went to Deanna of Shady Tree Maker. One went to Danny Wicked, and one went to me. I had full confidence in their abilities to create a magical portal to Wonderland, and no confidence in my own. But I knew it was going to be an adventure worth having.
Here are some of the in progress shots from the door crafting.
This shoot was a collaboration through and through, and it was only possible due to the dedication and immense creative talent of every person involved. A lot of people ask me why I do shoots on this scale, and the truth is that it is a showcase. These works are the perfect exhibition of the skills, artistry, and unique talent of everyone involved – and my dream is to create a world where everybody has the ability to create the kind of work that makes them feel fulfilled. I would also like to change the professional landscape of Boston and the surrounding areas to where images like these can be created for certain purposes, specifically in regards to out of the box creative marketing, but I'll get into more of that later.
For now, let me introduce to you the cast of characters and show you the magic we made together.
Click here to view the photos in Hi-Res, also to buy them and support the artists involved.
Doors in the Forest
The White Queen
Muse: Elle Nightingale
Costuming: Elle and Carly Dwyer Naik
Makeup and Hair: Hair by Ashley Christine
The inspiration for Elle's costuming came from the Shades of Magic series written by V.E. Schwab. In the series there are four alternate overlapping kingdoms, one of which is purely white and ruled by a set of cruel twins. The queen, Astrid, has skin like porcelain, and at one point she is turned to stone, her skin cracking as it hardens.
**I will also say the shoot was equally counseled by Marissa Meyer's new novel Heartless – which is the Queen of Hearts's backstory – and Melissa Albert's novel The Hazel Wood. Both are gritty and full of teeth, just like this shoot.**
We had some difficulty finding a makeup artist who would be available for the shoot...but the night before, my incredible Hair Stylist Ashley mentioned that she had a fascination with special effects makeup and would be able to help us out.
She turned out to be a wizard.
The White King
Muse: Oliver Prato
Makeup: Danny Wicked
The White King has always been a mysterious figure in Wonderland lore. Who is he? What is he like? What does he stand for?
When Oliver and I spoke about it, we both decided that he was a bit of a sourpuss. The White King had to constantly deal with the vapid whims of his queen, who was mercurial and given over to her hatred of the red queen. The white king was glamorous, sensible, and a little fed up with the woman he love.
But in chess, the White King just has to let the White Queen do and go where she wants, that's just his lot. He's learning not to mind.
The Mad Hatter
Muse: Deanna Jacome of Shady Tree Maker
Costume and Makeup: Deanna
Hair: Hair by Ashley Christine
"There's a pleasure sure in being mad that none but madmen know." - Miguel De Cervantes
Not only did Deanna create a door and design and make her entire outfit, she also took time out of one of the most important days of her life to be a part of this adventure, an act for which I'm endlessly grateful.
Muse: Rachel Stigers
Costuming: Rachel and Joey Phoenix
Makeup: Ashley Christine
"How about we cover your horn in blood, like you just stabbed someone with it?"
"Can we do a shot where I'm rampaging?
"Shouldn't the Mad Hatter be riding the unicorn?"
Rachel injects so much LIFE into every set she steps on to, and this one was no exception. She also brought in a much needed infusion of glitter.
Muse: Kimberly Embers
Costuming and Makeup: Kimberley
When we started discussing this shoot several months ago, and it started to take a turn for the dark, Kimberley immediately stepped forward with her American McGee inspired costume idea. It couldn't have been a more perfect fit.
She just looks so sweet with her knife.
Muse: Sean Hayes
Poor Tweedle Dee became Tweedle Don't after the Red Queen cut off the head of his brother Tweedle Dum. He went mad, like everyone tends to in Wonderland, carting around the head of his long dead brother.
What a poor little darling.
The Red Queen
Muse: Carly Naik
Costuming and Makeup: Carly
Gaping chest wound: Dylan of At My Inkstaind Fingertips
When it comes to playing croquet with the heads of your enemies, you want this queen on your team. To find out what else she's up to, check out Intramersive, where she creates worlds.
She's one of the most impressive humans I've ever known.
Muse: Dylan Dosch of At My Inkstaind Fingertips
Costume and Makeup: Dylan
Dylan came to me with her ideas, and in typical fashion, they were perfect...perfectly haunting that is. You see, the rook betrayed the Red Queen by seeing a letter Tweedle Dum delivered to the Unicorn, and said nothing. Tweedle Dee lost his head, the rook lost her eyes.
What was the letter? The letter R, of course.
The White Rabbit
These photos were taken by the unicorn, Rachel Stigers
There was so much magic to this day, and it turned out exactly the way that I imagined. I am so grateful to everyone involved, but would also like to give a special thank you to Deanna's special friend Dan Barry for carting around doors and just being generally helpful, to Saul Image for coming to take some behind the scenes photos, and always, to Chimæric for going along with my mad visions.
I think now I can lay Wonderland to rest, for a little while anyways.
But really, who am I kidding?
Behind the Scenes
Photos by Images by Saul
Photos by Chimæric
© 2018 Joey Phoenix
Did you know that you can hire Joey and her team of creative misfits to design a shoot for you, your band, or your business? Contact her today to set up a consultation.