“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
~ Lewis Carroll
Words and Photos by Joey Phoenix
What is it about tea parties that is so engaging? We, as humans, just deeply love the idea of large tea pots, scones and clotted cream, putting jam on our pocket watches. But really, we are completely caught up with one tea party in particular. Well, at least I am.
And it’s all a bit mad.
This shoot came about as a result of a collaboration between myself and a group of immensely talented people. Our goal was to bash gender norms, grinding them completely into the dirt of wonderland, and then eat a lot of delicious pastries.
And oh yes, create some magical photographs.
Designing the Shoot
Setting up an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party in the woods was no simple feat. Each of the cast members had to create their own costumes – many of which were crafted by hand or compiled from the mismatched offerings of thrift store sale bins. We also had to come up with a bountiful table full of wonderland-esque props and edible treats.
One of my favorite pieces was the white rabbit’s card collar, which snapped in 2 on the way to the shoot, so Meaghan had to hot glue it back together a half hour before we were set to begin. The fact that it survived, and looked as good as it did, was something to marvel at.
Another of my favorites was the ears worn by the March Hare and the Dormouse, which was made by Megan Afon (who played the Dormouse). Megan is a multi-talented individual whose artistic abilities never fail to impress me.
In addition to this costumed loveliness, Elle Nightingale spent 3 days prior to the shoot baking everything on the table, including candying the edible flowers and making fondant for the three tiered cake. So much was created that didn’t even end up in the final photos. However, I will point out that although the fondant on the three tiered cake in the center of the table is edible, the cake itself is not, because instead of a cake, Elle used hat boxes.
Because Elle is a genius.
In addition to what the cast themselves created and provided, we also had the benefit of some outside creative magicians who contributed a great deal to the shoot.
The first was the Mad Hatter’s Hat, which was designed and created by Linda Mullen of Grace & Diggs. Linda draws inspiration from the world around her, using recycled and found materials to fabricate all new creations. She took our idea of the Hatter and made into something extraordinary. Everything she does is wonderful.
The second was the Cheshire Cat’s body paint, which was done offsite by the talented Adam Canvas. Ember LaFuze worked closely with Adam to come up with a design that would fit the spirit of the cat – including the twisted smile and vibrant colors. The final result was perfection.
The third was the White Rabbit’s face, which was designed and brought into being by Margot Tate of Intramersive, LLC. Margot played a huge role in my last series – Pleasure in the Pathless Woods – and did her own costuming and body paint. The woman is a wizard.
And lastly, Alice’s hair and makeup were done by Sarah Mann, whose stage-centric abilities are the stuff of dreams.
The Day of the Shoot
It took us 2 hours to set up the display in the woods. The mosquitos were thick and the light was fading fast. Originally we had planned to do this during the day, but scheduling conflicts made that impossible.
Fortunately, Retonica was on site to help with lighting and save the day. We set up faerie lights on the table itself and a spotlight over the table to imitate the angled light of sunshine. Where originally I had planned on light pastels and airy colors, the images took on bold hues and heavy contrasts. They may not have been what I had planned, but they ended up looking like something out of another world.
The latest creative and cultural happenings in and around Salem MA.
Salem Scene – Notch OktoberfestSeptember 18, 2017
Oktoberfest celebrations in Salem kicked off this past weekend with an overwhelmingly successful event at Notch Brewing. Giant tents, delicious cuisine, communal tables, games, traditional music and merriment were all in abundance as a new tradition in Salem has come to life on the South Harbor.
The Trustees to Present first East Coast Production of TigerLion Art’s Acclaimed Outdoor Walking Play NatureSeptember 15, 2017
Boston and Concord, MA – August 2017 – The Trustees announces that it will present TigerLion Arts’ critically acclaimed outdoor walking play Nature at the Old Manse in Concord this fall.
Road Trip Photos – Bread and Puppet TheatreSeptember 11, 2017
The Bread and Puppet Theater was founded in 1963 by Peter Schumann on New York City’s Lower East Side. Besides rod-puppet and hand puppet shows for children, the concerns of the first productions were rents, rats, police, and other problems of the neighborhood.
We’re All Mad Here – A Photo Series by Joey PhoenixSeptember 6, 2017
Creative Photo Series by Joey Phoenix Media creates a wonderful and magical take on Alice in Wonderland.
Mayor Kim Driscoll live from Notch BrewingSeptember 18, 2017
Mayor Kim Driscoll and Chris Lohring tap the cask at the inaugural edition of Oktoberfest at Notch Brewing in Salem MA. For more information on all the great events in Salem make sure and visit our events calendar.
Creative Salem HistoryCast Ep.2 – Now Age Travel and Healing – Spiritualism in SalemSeptember 11, 2017
In this episode, Robyn interviews Melissa Nierman, Founder of NOW Age Travel in Salem. Melissa leads NOW Age Walking Tours: Ghosts of Buildings Past, History of Spiritualism, and Witches: 1692-Today.
Salem Scene – Winter Island Drive In August Edition!September 10, 2017
Over the summer Creative Salem partnered with the City of Salem, Salem Parks and Recreation and Retonica Event Lighting to host a series of "pop up" drive ins on the old Coast Guard Hangar at Winter Island in Salem MA. Here are a few highlights of the final August event in which we showed Raiders of the Lost Ark!