As a child I had a very vivid imagination, and a penchant for the theatrical.
Nowadays, the things I dream up I want to be able to make a reality. In pixels anyway. My idea was to re-create Lewis Caroll’s Mad Hatter’s tea party, but to capture the mayhem just after the characters had fled the scene.
With the assistance of talented food stylist, Jaime Reyes, bringing the magic to the table by creating toadstools with cupcakes, burger-sized cucumber sandwiches, instead of black birds, the tongue-in-cheek ceramic duck trio, emerging from the pie, wobbling jellies, a mouse in a tea cup and goldfish in wine glasses completed the magical transformation of my mad tea by firefly light.
So after a very long pre-production phase, which involved the help of my production guru, Sarah and countless phone calls, borrowing props, rummaging through second hand stores and antique stores and what seemed like endless shopping, the day had finally arrived to put it all together. And so down the rabbit hole we dove.
Jaime appeared early in the morning arms ladened with masses of amounts of food, props and cooking equipment, just short of the kitchen sink. The weather however decided to conspire against us. So what was going to be a shoot in the beautiful tree lined green belt near my home, ended up being moved to my back deck, much to Jaime’s relief, as I think the logistics of him prepping and setting the table so far from the kitchen would make things quite challenging.
After my two trips to the antique store on the opposite side of Brisbane and signing my life away on very large deposits for very expensive antiques, all the furniture and props were in the 4wd and on their way to my back deck in the pouring rain.
The preparation lasted all day, and by night fall we were ready to shoot. With the table finally set, the lighting in place and the rain easing to a quieter patter, I started the long exposures. With the complicated combination of flash, tungsten lighting, including hundreds of tiny fairy lights and my Fotix light brush, each exposure took up to 5 minutes, where I very carefully and in total darkness made my way around the table and brushed light into every object I imagined a firefly passing by or resting on, like painting, but with light.
Due to the soggy weather, I brought the enchanted forest to my deck with a little help from photoshop and the journey from my imagination to a reality was now complete.
Enjoy and Bon appé -tea!