Karen Elson by Alasdair McLellan for Self Service Magazine, Spring/Summer 2018
Posted Apr 11, 2018
Karen Elson seeks to find the jagged mind to take her back in hallowed time by Alasdair McLellan for Self Service Magazine, S/S 2018. She’s set free on the streets of New York City. This story plays with the idea of innocence versus excess. Pictures present a sense of symbiosis. A hit of 60’s nostalgia a dash of 40’s flare and a dose of 70’s decadence is sure to get you there. Scenic imagery provides a mix of melodic moods. Venturing through the valley of the avant-garde dolls, art defines this moment, as we venture forth on a ride marked by vivacity and strength.
Alasdair takes the time to expand the mind, letting the inside process lead the projection course. His work is an amalgamation of understated elegance and overstated excess. Creativity combines to form a fusion of exuberance, injecting a sense of symmetry with common ground. This story steps inside the world of high art. It’s rare when a photographer rides both sides of the space/time continuum. He opens up the avenues of invention by giving us the ability to rise above the obvious. Everything about this editorial reads authentic. Both passive & pretentious, Elson makes all the stops on the way to the top. Even in the most contrived jungles you never what to interrupt the creative process. As we travel through realness we can reach raw emotion. The fluid waters of the mind can only flow free when they aren’t hindered. That means, to allow art to move becomes paramount.
Benjamin Bruno causes a clash of chaotic with couture that demands the center stage. These looks are anything but average. Every high fashion statement deserves a chance to shine, as strong fabrics stand the test of time. Patterns play up the passion, with stripes backed by tin foil to stars set off by a strand of long pearls. There are no quiet styles in this story. They exude presence of mind. Leather is locked in step with solid sheathes… as beauty moves beauty breathes.
Unafraid to explore the cavernous reaches of her deep features, Lynsey Alexander uses makeup as a means of change. Shadows suspend our disbelief, allowing us to see beyond just the beauty. Karen’s brows bring forth an illusion of tattoos, as three vertical lines break through the avant-garde boundary. Black lips convey a state of play, with a full mouth that speaks in sounds of chic. Coming into color we experience her face in a new way. Scarlet shadow rides over her lids as a blast of red blush slides down her skin. Color cascades over the features, landing with a silky shade on her formidable lips. Brows transforms her… with the thinness of Clara Bow, the sharpness of Marlene Dietrich and the freedom of Twiggy… daring to capture the best parts of the 20th Century.
Karen compels us with contradictions, composed to make the obvious seem elusive. Sitting in the shadows of the city, a giant picture of King Kong looms overhead. Anthony Turner does her blonde dew right, turning her into a version of Vivien Leigh. One part vintage mixed with a hint of decadent design. Haute couture has never been so pure as power is parlayed through the page. Elson plays a drama queen with such devout deliciousness, one can’t help but be pulled into the madness of her moment. Here she moves beyond the page, with imagery that invites a kind of unique commitment from the audience. It asks that we find a way into the fantasy. Imagination isn’t merely an invention of denial, it unlocks a deeper door.