"Tripping Down the Rabbithole" With Photographer Elizabeth Wirija
Tripping down the rabbit hole doesn’t exactly sound like all that much fun… or does it?
This week, we’ve teamed up with one of our favorite NYC-based photographers, Elizabeth Wirija, to debut her newest photo project titled “Tripping Down the Rabbit Hole.” A short photo series that explores a juxtaposition between masculinity and femininity with a whimsical air, Wirija’s work straddles the fence between fashion editorials and art. Be sure to check out the photo story above, and read on to get a glimpse into Wirija’s creative process, her inspirations, and what it was like to shoot the series.
When/how did you fall in love with photography?
I fell in love with the art of making photographs ever since I was little. I was fascinated when my dad brought along film cameras on family trips and I would be extremely excited to see it get developed. This whole process introduced the beauty of transforming the intangible into a tangible experience. At around 15, I wanted to get a camera of my own and eventually received a used digital camera. From there on, I learned how to experiment and play around with ideas. I always had a wild imagination from the beginning since I grew up on the internet and also religiously consuming anime and manga so I am a avid believer in shocking people with beauty and meaning.
What inspires you as a photographer?
Everything inspires me as a human being. All things have a deeper connection to everything and I find inspiration from all living forms. The wonderful aspect of an artist is being able to translate what you absorb into your medium of choice. Also to realize my responsibility as an artist is to inform the times including the issues that some of us face and incorporate my truth into my art and hopefully others will feel connected to it and learn empathy for certain situations. That’s the powerful facet of art is how it gets under your skin and plants a seed of understanding in your own subconsciously and eventually it will bloom to compassion.
What was the process like while shooting “Tripping Down the Rabbithole”?
It was all based on spontaneity and that feeling of excitement. Like finding yourself riding a rollercoaster into the entrance of another planet for the first time. I gathered pieces from my wardrobe and assembled them together with my mother’s vintage bags. My mother has an extensive collection of vintage designer bags, she proudly tells about how old each of them are to me. Some are even my age (23 years old) or even older. She takes care of them and sews them back together when they fall apart. Repurposing items is also one of my niches, I cut up a Calvin Klein belt I bought from a factory outlet and styled him in it as a necktie. I wanted Christian to embody a character from a children’s book or even as a host welcoming you to the new world.
Are there any other exciting projects you’ll be doing in the rest of 2018?
I often ideate and execute on the spot so I do have a lot of concepts simmering that involve a fantasy or sci-fi twist. It all feels like it can come true but at the same harbor that dream-like effect to them. Expect beautiful worthwhile photographs from me this year. Also aiming to work on other visuals like music videos and short films. On another note, I have a chopped and screwed streetwear brand Another Worlde (@anotherworlde) that I’m working on designing the next F/W 2018 collection.
Stay tuned to Milk for more photo series from photographers we love.