Set on the island of Östra Lagnö in the Stockholm archipelago over five days, Love From Alice tells a magical photo story of student Alice Charity Goddard. The second in a series of collaborations initially inspired by an individual postcard; photographer Clare Shilland, stylist Beth Fenton and graphic designers Suzy Wood and Martin McGrath worked together to create this beguiling B5, sewn publication launched in bStore this week. “Part character portrait, part fashion story, part documentary,” explains Wood McGrath, Love From Alice eclectically blends the five personalities involved into one beautiful moment in time. Here we speak to its creators about their collaborative process, initial ideas and inspirations behind the book.
Dazed Digital: How did the idea for the shoot come about?
Beth Fenton: We had already done the original Love From in association with Clare's photography show at The House of Propellors last year; it was based on an 80s postcard I had, featuring close-ups of a girl in her underwear at different tourist attractions. We decided back then to publish it ourselves and do it as part of Clare's show, as a fanzine to accompany her work. We all started discussing the idea of following that up with another chapter in the series and agreed that this time it was about finding an interesting character to base it around. Clare suggested Alice.
DD: What made you cast Alice Charity Goddard?
Clare Shilland: When I first saw Alice she blew me away. I met her at a party in December 2008 and started talking to her. She was lovely and interesting. I asked if I could take some pictures of her, and that's where our relationship started. When we cast Alice we asked her where she would like to go – she suggested Scandinavia, and I was reminded of Östra Lagnö
DD: Why did you decide to create a book out of the images and what dictated its overall look?
Wood McGrath: Out of many possible directions, a simple, bound book felt like the most appropriate way to compile this story without overwhelming the images. The format itself is very classic and calm, but with hints of pop and quirkiness in the production details, such as the heavy emboss covers and bright binding threads. Using a tipped-on postcard for the front cover image references the origins of the Love From series concept.
Beth Fenton: The book format also felt more enduring because it isn't confined by seasonal fashion and we had complete creative and collaborative control over it.
DD: Describe what look you were channeling through the styling of this shoot?
Beth Fenton: I was really into the idea of a young girl experimenting with the way she looks, depending on her mood, the environment or occasion: changing her make-up, dying her hair. So it shifts between playful, formal, informal, hard. My references for the clothes came from all over: from Swedish Thrash Metal, 90s surf boys to handcrafted raw elements but ultimately it had to be things that were peculiar to Alice.
DD: You use a lot of natural night and there is a candid feel to the images – did you want these photos to have a certain directness to them?
Clare Shilland: I wanted it to be as natural as possible. We wanted to go on a trip so we could take time and be relaxed and form a bond. Hopefully this comes across.
DD: If you could sum this publication up in one line what would it be?
Clare Shilland: It’s a moment in time.
Beth Fenton: It’s a consummation of ideas and a reflection of youth.
Wood McGrath: Part character portrait, part fashion story, part documentary.