Lissy Elle – Teacups & Tutus

by Melissa Fox

We posted a series of photographs by Lissy Elle a few months ago. Those were stunning, confusing and utterly captivating images, in and of themselves. Enough to make me think, Man, I need to get to know this girl, even if on a purely aesthetic basis. I was struck by the haunting quality of her images, as much as the subjects girl’s escaping their fairy tale realities. How the hell did she do it? It was one of the questions I was dying to ask. But – afraid the answer would cause those  images to lose that inherent mystical quality – I didn’t.

I did find out quite a bit about the pint-sized, self-taught tog though. Like, that she fell in love with photography quite by accident, although exactly the same way most people fall in love with the lens (but for entirely different reasons).

Frankly, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be surprised and thrilled by the scope of this girl’s talent, and the passion that drives the creation of each image. She’s not just capturing moments in time here, she’s creating stories dramatic tableau’s if you will that are more dark, whimsical art than snapshots.

How did you get started in photography?

I started in the most embarrassing way. Taking self-portraits to use as display pictures on the website Myspace. It quickly became the only thing I used Myspace for, posting my pictures and checking out others. Late one night I found the website Flickr, and was up all night perusing and signing up and posting and favoriting and commenting and joining groups and everything the site had to offer. I bought an SLR camera that month, started a 365, and here I am.

How long have you been behind the lens?

I’ve been behind my SLR for two and a half years, but if you want to include my Point & Shoot and Myspace years, then about four.

The best part of being a photographer is…

Carrying around four cameras at once and still not feeling like a tourist.

Favourite thing to shoot?

Pale blondes, Victorian houses and big tutus.

Equipment

Nikon D90, most commonly paired with a 50mm. Any old tripod, and The Greatest Time Saver Of All, a remote for taking self-portraits.

Favourite shoot experience?

Too many! My favourites are generally when I get to work with models; on sets I’ve built myself. Having creative control like that is my ultimate pleasure.

Worst shoot experience?

At the beginning of my 365 I was doing this Superstitions series, I was portraying the superstition that it was unlucky to look at yourself in a mirror by candle light. I had turned the lights off and walked over to my camera when I tripped. One of the candles blew out so I went to turn on a lamp, which flickered and then died. As I turned back around my tripod fell over, with my lens and neck strap falling right onto the second candle. Thankfully only my neck strap was injured, but I did not continue that series.

What’s your process?

First I’ll decide on a concept, then I’ll scout out a location, fill it with a model, a prop, after about one hour of shooting I’ll spend two to seven more in post-processing.

Inspiration?

Tim Walker, Tim Burton, old movies, Disney Princesses, extravagant tea cups, Alice in Wonderland, surrealist art, ballerinas, children under ten, people over 80, vintage cameras, abandoned places.

What is the perfect picture?

Something you’ve thought about over and over in your mind, and then made real. For me, the model has blue eyes, there’s a lot of depth of field, and there’s more than one teapot involved.

Who do you most want to photograph and why?

Emma Watson. Because she is stunning, she has amazing taste, and I just all around would like to meet her.

What do you want your images to tell people?

Don’t be so quick to grow up.

In five years I’ll be… 22

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