‘Are you content now?’ said the Caterpillar.
‘Well, I should like to be a little larger, sir, if you wouldn’t mind,’ said Alice: ‘three inches is such a wretched height to be.’
‘It is a very good height indeed!’ said the Caterpillar angrily, rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).
‘But I’m not used to it!’ pleaded poor Alice in a piteous tone. And she thought of herself, ‘I wish the creatures wouldn’t be so easily offended!’
‘You’ll get used to it in time,’ said the Caterpillar; and it put the hookah into its mouth and began smoking again.
This time Alice waited patiently until it chose to speak again. In a minute or two the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and yawned once or twice, and shook itself. Then it got down off the mushroom, and crawled away in the grass, merely remarking as it went, ‘One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter.’
‘One side of what? The other side of what?’ thought Alice to herself.
‘Of the mushroom,’ said the Caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud; and in another moment it was out of sight.
– Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
After the rain poured the previous evening, the dewy humidity caused mushrooms to sprout from my dampened lawn. After rousing from a deep sleep, I stared out the front window as per usual, noticing this unordinary plant. Still, in my pajamas, I grabbed my camera and went out into the muggy morning to capture the common phenomenon.
I snapped a couple of photos, sticking wet dirt to my knees and arms when I crouched down to capture this shot. It was a surreal five minutes, five minutes that has a deeper meaning for me.
On the rainy evening, before these mushrooms grew, I rewatched the 1999 Movie TV version of Alice in Wonderland. If it had been any other movie referencing fungi, I would have seen it as a coincidence, but Alice in Wonderland? I think not. Its fantastical and bizarre world is just as random as waking up to capture this subject.
Alice in Wonderland is my absolute favourite story of all time and will forever be an inspiration for my art and lifestyle. Its colourful images and nonsensical story are deemed hallucinogenic by many, yet its protagonist is presented with unmeasurable dilemmas that lead to realistic morals.
When you simplify the outlandish story, you’re left with a universally relatable narrative about someone trying to find their way through the world’s chaos and complexity. Alice is notorious for her naivety as she becomes desperate to (literally) fit into a world with estranged individuals and their irrational lifestyles.
Ever since I watched Disney’s animated version of Alice in Wonderland at a very young age, I felt a connection to this character, not to mention my love for the movie’s vibrant colours. After reading the book at age nine, I realized there was a lot more to the story than Walt Disney suggested.
Alice is a curious girl that explores Wonderland on her own terms, refusing to get sucked into the disorder she encounters. She proves that the path to finding yourself is not always coherent, but you will challenge yourself, question the world, and learn as a result.
These are the same behaviours I confront in writing and photography, making Alice in Wonderland and my inspired art very dear to my journey. There are dozens of ways to interpret the story of Alice in Wonderland, and many people find this story too strange for understanding. Even when you don’t like a certain work of art, art always speaks to us; our like or dislike is a product of our interpretations.
It was so long since she had been anything near the right size, that it felt quite strange at first; but she got used to it in a few minutes, and began talking to herself, as usual. ‘Come, there’s half my plan done now! How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another! However, I’ve got back to my right size: the next thing is, to get into that beautiful garden — how is that to be done, I wonder?’
– Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Photo of the Week is a weekly series that showcases and elaborates on my photography, photography from my fellow creatives, and famous photographs.