“Beauty is a form of Genius—is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation.” The quote is cut from Oscar Wilde’s novel, A Picture Of Dorian Grey, which inspired London based fashion photographer Alice Luker‘s first story for Ben Trovato, The Opium Den. “In the novel, Dorian (represented by Rory from Elite) sells his soul to the devil to remain eternally youthful and beautiful. Alexis and Alexandria (Both Models 1) represent the temptation which Dorian faces as the story simultaneously unveils Dorian’s self obsession and uncontrollable vanity. ‘The Opium Den’ is a story of overt decadence, temptation and lust; all elements relevant to the fashion industry in it’s entirety,” Alice explains.
Research and inspiration play a vital role in any of Alice Luker’s shoots, but with The Opium Den the process was longer than usual due to her affection for the concept and urge to create a story that would live up to her ambitions and inspirations. “The aesthetic of painting also played an important role in the way that I visualized and directed light; most specifically influenced by the work of Caravaggio and his use of ‘Chiaroscuro’- the relationship between light and shadow to evoke an atmosphere,” Alice tells us.
At fashionable Blakes Hotel in London Alice gathered a team she felt could bring something new and exciting to the concept and help lift it to another level. “It was the first time I had worked with the majority of the team on this occasion. I would work with the whole team again in a flash and am currently in the early stages of planning my next editorial shoot in between shooting lookbook and advertorial commissions.”
Stylist Lauren Miller says her styling was heavily inspired by the darkness in the story of Dorian Grey. “I wanted to highlight the male character to be very dapper and beautiful as described in the story whilst keeping the girls seductive yet not overtly sexual. I used rich colors such as reds, black, navy, silver and gold with a combination of textures for a luxurious, decadent feel.”
Take a minute to check out The Notebook Magazine‘s behind the scenes film from the shoot, which includes a short introduction by Alice herself.
Photography & Art Direction by Alice Luker
Styling by Lauren Miller
Hair by Jay Zhang using Bumble & Bumble
Hair Assistant - Mary-Ann Buck
Makeup by Anna Priadka using Ellis Faas
Nail Technician - Jeanette Vuong
Rory Torrens @ Elite
Alexia Palmer @ Models 1
Anastasia Portna @ Models 1
Retoucher - Mdf Retouching
Blakes Hotel in London
The Notebook Magazine