Alisa Calypso is a fashion photographer based in Moscow, Russia. Together with stylist Anna Braude and in collaboration with a vintage store Pempo Moga, featuring garments from the 50s and 90s, the story child-time was created.
Space is filled with old, almost archaic as it seems today pieces, old carpets, TV-set, clocks, prints on the wall, cassette deck, compact cassettes, and multiple lamps with different shapes from a different decades hang from the ceiling. The characters explore this space while playing with physical objects contemplating time and the past.
The story is about finding an inner kid, remembering the feeling, the ability to create presence with imagination, and mostly reliving the nostalgic moments that eventually define personality.
THE SECOND SCENE IS A THEATRICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE MAIN THEME THAT ALLOWS THROUGH IMPROVISATION BY THE CHARACTERS AND EXAGGERATION OF THE DECOR TO EXPLORE THE GLOOMIER PARTS OF THE CONSCIENCE BRINGING OUT DIFFERENT TRAITS.
‘IT'S ABOUT DAYDREAMING, THE MAGIC REALISM, THE ABSENCE OF A SENSE OF TIME, CURIOSITY AND PLAYFULNESS.’
What is child-time for you?
Alisa: I gave the name to this shooting “child-time” as opposed to "childhood" because I wanted to separate a beautiful period of life from a childish state of mind. Life is just too hard :) and this fact inspires me as much as my childhood. The purpose is to save a kid inside me.
So... I'm going to try to describe the feeling of child-time... it's about daydreaming, the magic realism, the absence of a sense of time, curiosity and playfulness.
The stylist from this shooting Anna has been in a more nostalgic mood, and she has given us a particular description of child-time.
Anna: Child-time is a hot dusty board on the upper floor of grandparents’ dacha, and I play chess hidden from the sun behind an old iron bed. It is a kiosk, where they're selling powder, chocolates, cologne, and eyeshadows Ruby Rose. It is dolls made of twigs and dandelions. It is a Mickey Mouse sweater and running shoes with lights. It is all illustrations by Ogorodnikov and all poems by Marshak, the song about the lost passport by Arkadiy Ukupnik, the cabaret-duo Academy, and of course the sketch-comedy series Calambur.
‘CHILD-TIME IS A HOT DUSTY BOARD ON THE UPPER FLOOR OF GRANDPARENTS’ DACHA, AND I PLAY CHESS HIDDEN FROM THE SUN BEHIND AN OLD IRON BED.’
Tell about one of the locations for this set, the apartment with old TV-sets and furniture and decor as carpets and lamps from the past century.
Alisa: This place called Retro Tovar, it's a 350m2 filled with different Soviet stuff and garments. The collection is really huge and impressive. Anna works there and one day during a conversation we decided to organize a small space with a feeling of an attic at a dacha and to shoot a theme - hello from the past.
Taya is a musician, and she adores the sound of cassette tapes. The lamps just follow Anna and me from one shooting to another - we want to bring more light to this empty cruel place :) also we brought a lot of non-working clocks just to remind about the uselessness of time in ordinary perception (the exhausted alarm clock stopped time).
Let’s discuss some of the elements you chose to incorporate in the shooting as the red led lighting the face through a mask, huge shadows that fill the frame being an additional character and the camera you chose to get this particular color.
Alisa: The red lighting is an old filter of a diafilm projector or lens. It was there and I was just playing with my Dedolight and this filter. So this fact was the starting point of developing the shooting in a more surreal way than just a kind of hello from kids from the past. Then we moved with the story to the dacha's attic :) and started to put different old fabrics and play with shadows. Evening... an improvised theater, candles, and kids performing. Everything is alive in the story, exactly like in childhood (the floor is lava, etc.) and there are many more characters than just two soulmates.
I used Fujifilm Xt2, but I like to play with the quality of the photo (to break it). I like the nostalgic taste and sense of paper, so I made prints and scanned it after.
‘EVENING... AN IMPROVISED THEATER, CANDLES, AND KIDS PERFORMING.’
How do you approach casting and choosing the talent for the shooting to help in making the idea come to life?
Alisa: Particularly in this shooting, it was just a real energetic funnel!
We all know Anna but didn't know each other and came to her working place at the same time! It was a sign that we have to suggest guys to work with us, and in two weeks we were celebrating the power of the idea and improvisation.