Monday, 6 July 2009

Jo Cecil. Queen of Hearts.

My gorgeous friend Jo developed this set of photography for her final year exhibition when studying Performance Art at Central School of Speech and Drama. As well as developing the concept, she's also the model. Her work is inspired by Anna Gaskall - who I'd never heard of before, but her photography concentrates a lot on Alice in Wonderland, beautifully whimsical yet laced with a hint of sinister. I think photography like this is really special - because you have to have the talent to tell that story through a static image (but arguably all photography is trying to tell a story of some form).
Jo's work centres on The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. A character that wikipedia tells me is a "foul-tempered monarch" (look at Jo's eyes of venom in the second photo). The verdant, earthy toned landscape contrasts superbly against her bold monochrome form, like plucking the character from a cartoon and landing her in a forest. The hints of red against the blacks and whites are just so gorgeously feminine, but it’s still maintained that there is anger bellowing through (again, reference to the second image).
The element that I am most in love with is something I find hard to put into words. I felt it the first time I watched The Virgin Suicides, and I feel it with this – it’s a freshness that is mixed with something nostalgic and old. I think the lighting has a lot to do with it. I wish I knew how to describe it! I think these photographs are absolutely stunning.

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