Visual Essay 06 by Alice Gao

We’ve invited Alice Gao for the 6th iteration of our Visual Essay Series. Our Visual Essay series is designed to engage and connect with creatives all over the world – giving them free reign to interpret Mud’s designs through their unique creative lens. Alice Gao is a NYC-based still life, interiors and travel photographer, see more of Gao’s work here. The stylist behind this shoot was Linden Elstran.

“The concept for this shoot evolved a few times over the course of the past few months, as personal shoots often do! I love working with Linden because she has grand ideas, and then it’s fun to riff off them as we get chatting. Eventually we landed on “picnic” themes, roughly. So there is a slight nod to picnics in each scene, but in a more irreverent and playful way. I think stacking is very “in” right now and though I do see it a lot, it’s still so fun and brings me back to childhood and those kinds of games.”

“Overall, my photography is driven by light. There is nothing worse to me than boring or flat light. It truly pains me when I don’t have control over that! And of course, balance in composition. It’s hard to explain exactly when an image is “done” but there is an instinctual and gut feeling that I’ve developed over the years that tells me when something is right. The Mud pieces are a dream to shoot because of their matte finish. They really take on light well and easily show dimension, which I love.”

“Linden and I like things a bit imperfect and more real, but still with that surreal element. It’s a little strange to explain. We were originally going to collect trash/treasures on the streets of NYC as more of a quarantine-walk themed shoot, so I think some of that still stuck in our heads for this shoot. A crumbled coke can perfectly fit that (huge kudos to Linden who spent an hour trying to balance it just right). The mushroom and fiddlehead scene is more of an ode to foraging. A spilled pool of cream in an otherwise clean and perfect shot, because life is messy and we like some bit of tension in photos.”