From Soup to Nuts- First image from WONDERLAND
I have been getting some questions lately on the whole process of this wonderland thing and I thought it might be interesting to talk a little bit about that. We have completed the first image, which is Alice falling down the rabbit hole, and I think the team is pretty satisfied with the results. We started with the initial concept of the mood and look of the piece. I needed a model who was going to be able to have the look I was after (A young, dark haired model who was great at creating appropriate facial expressions- I didn’t want a blonde as I thought that had already been done before). I decided on Meghan Gardner, who fit the bill perfectly. Next up was costume. When it comes to wardrobe I have a general idea of what I want it to look like, but more often than not it’s simply just a guideline and I expect whomever is doing the wardrobe to take my idea and run with it. As usual, Ali Pace didn’t dissapoint and came up with a fantastic looking outfit for Meghan! One of my biggest worries was that if we went with something store bought the whole feel of the series would look manufactured and cheap, so having something produced was critical.
Next up was the overall impression of the series. We decided that the series should have a dark sense to it, something kinda creepy. In order to portray that, we needed to start with the lighting. The initial setup consisted of a large softbox suspended from a boom arm about 15′ in the air. This mimicked the angle of sunlight and added some really nice shadows to Meghan as she psuedo fell down the rabbit hole. To further add to the look, I used an amber gel to create a nice golden light. We had Meghan lay on an old folding table and then had her act like she was falling. Meanwhile my makeup artist Shana held a fan below her to add some motion to her hair. The effect was very convincing.
Next up was to creat the background. I thought the idea of having the hole made out of old books could be real interesting, so I raided my local library to find some books that fit the mold. I stacked them to look like they were a vertical tunnel of sorts and then I lit them in the same way we lit Meghan. I ended up taking two exposures and combining them to give the height I was looking for.
In order to anchor Meghan to the scene and to add a sense of surrealism to the whole thing, I needed to add another falling element. I figured that playing cards would be appropriate and easy to do since they were small. Again, we photographed them using the same setup- we just switched up the angles a bit to add to the variety. After all the necessary components were photographed, I began the composite process. I like to use the pen tool when I punch out my subjects from the background, it really is the most accurate way to do it. Once everything was in place and I was happy with the composition, I added a texture layer over top of everything to give it a “fairy tale” vintage look. The color palate was also toned down at this point to add to the mood.
After this was all done, we sent the file out for print. In keeping with the whole fairy tale look, I decided that the final series would be done on canvas. The canvas adds that special storybook feel to it and once I got it back from the printer I was really happy with the results. I added a ruler in the below picture just so everybody can see the scale of print, it measures 20″x 24″. Now on to the next in the series!