Photo: Hawaii, Magdalena Frackowiak, Aloha from Alice, film still © 2017 Alice Hawkins.
Like the perfect drink, the best fashion photography casts you under a spell, one that instantly eases your troubles. All thoughts and concerns melt away as you gaze upon a timeless moment of style and grace. You can feel it wash over you so that you are quick to forget that it might be selling something: a dream, a gown, or an idea. Instead, you simply nod your head. Another one, please!
If there were two words to sum up the ethos of Alice’s Adventures by Alice Hawkins (Thames & Hudson, May 2) they would be: “Drink Me.” And you would happily oblige—and through the looking glass you would go, ready to check out the other side. Here a mesmerizing world of fashion and fantasy await, a world of wonder filled with personality, beauty, and charm, with individuality, culture, and élan.
Hawkins, a British photographer, has been creating her own style of fashion photographs for publications like Vogue, Arena Homme+, SHOWstudio, and Harper’s Bazaar for the past 15 years, resulting in a singular body of work. Hawkins takes people exactly as they are and allow them to shine, letting their inner beauty radiate from the inside out. It is here, in this glow that you simply forget yourself.
“Character is paramount in my work, and I’m attracted to people from all walks of life. I want to capture an element of truth in my subjects and their personal environments,” Hawkins writes in the preface. “I like to travel to far-fling places that I’ve never been to. Like most people, I find that my consciousness is heightened and I come alive in a way that I never was at home.”
Alice’s Adventures includes chapters of work made in Texas, Cuba, Italy, India, Hawaii, Jamaica, Russia, Nairobi, and the artist’s native Great Britain. Along with her sumptuous photos, Hawkins includes a selection of shots of her sketchbooks and working Polaroids. She mixes celebrities, models, designers, and regular people to flawless effect revealing that fashion is not merely something to be purchased; it is one of the many elements of style. It shapes one’s sense of presence, both material and spiritual, creating a sense of being at home in the world.
As Crave fave Nick Knight writes in the book, “Throughout her career, Alice has charmed, aroused, seduced, and won over her audience with a mixture of talent and audacity, intellect and playfulness. Her enthusiasm for life, coupled with her inventiveness, is a real pleasure to see and shines through in all her work.”
Indeed, you sense the woman behind the camera in her photographs and hope that one day you might be so lucky to cross her path. “I love making friends with strangers,” Hawkins writes. “While most of my photographs are within the realm of fashion and art, I also see them as a personal record of chance encounters with people from other worlds and other ways of life. Sometimes I make a friend, and a photograph follows; other times I take a photograph and make a friend.”
Either way, the effect is the same: pure love.
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, Whitewall, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Jocks and Nerds, and L’Oeil de la Photographie. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.