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Vicki King On Expressing Vyrao

Vicki King On Expressing Vyrao

Young British fashion photographer Vicki King’s beautiful, introspective images explore the blurred boundaries between reality, dreams and memories. With work for Kenzo, De Beers, Nike and Vogue under her belt, King's otherworldly aesthetic has gained a global audience. Vicki’s latest project sees her expressing Vyrao’s five high vibration fragrances. The extensive layering of various elements in her images creates a surreal landscape of visuals, a filmic poetry for each scent. Here, Vicki King shares the inspiration and process behind her work for us with Melanie Rickey.

Vicki King for Vyrao

Melanie Rickey: The overall sense I get from your work, is emotion, feelings, intimacy. Is this true? What is your intention as a photographer?

Vicki King: For me photography has never been about simply documenting what’s in front of me, it’s more about creating a world that’s heightened, broken away from reality. I want my pictures to be ruled by emotional experience, colour, texture, the senses. 

MR: The images you’ve created for Vyrao are otherworldly, monumental and intimate in equal measure. How have these elements made their way into your work? 

VK: I think smell is something so intrinsically linked to memory, places and people you can’t quite place.. When someone walks past you that smells of someone from your past, it hits you, there’s an inherent emotional and dream like quality to it. It's interesting to push those experiences into the visual realm, you can work in a very non-linear and intuitive way. 

MR: Has it always been this way?

VK: My natural way of making work is very much like this, although it’s not something you get to engage with so fully usually. I loved working on this project because I was given the scents and got to spend some time with just them and my imagination.

Vickie King for Vyrao

MR: Can you talk us through how you approached the work with Vyrao? 

VK: Before I started taking pictures, I made notes of ideas and visuals that came, almost like word association. From the way they smelled and what that evoked for me, and also my initial reaction to the colours and design of the bottles.

I am Verdant: green eyes, mythology, dew drops, folklore, forest floors, something much older than us.
Witchy Woo: The city at night, oil in water, lightning strikes, that weird place when you're half awake.
Magnetic: seaglass crushed on skin, rock streaked with gold, waterfall spray, honey.

From there I started experimenting, creating new images and working with some from my archive.

MR: What did you want to put across for each scent?

VK: Free 00 holds Liberation and Sensuality; the merging of sky and earth, light breaking through.

Vickie King for Vyrao

VK: I am Verdant is connected to nature, rolling around naked in the earth.

Vickie King for Vyrao

VK: Witchy Woo brings out Courage and Creativity. Giving yourself over to something inexplicable. 

Vickie King for Vyrao

VK: Magnetic 70 for Attraction and Protection.Precious metals on skin, treasuring all parts of yourself.

Vickie King for Vyrao

VK: Georgette instills Self Love. It's an exploration of secrets, touch and the haziness of memories.

Vickie King for Vyrao

MR: You mixed in imagery from your personal archive too, can you explain what attracted you to the images you chose to go with the scent images and why.

VK: I chose this image for Magnetic 70 from a personal project when my friend and I went to Scotland for my birthday. We found this incredible flint mountain that was shot through with fools gold. Everything was wet and hard and ancient. I love this picture!

Vickie King for Vyrao

VK: For Georgette I chose the two bodies - this one was taken from a personal project.

Vickie King for Vyrao

VK: The image for Witchy Woo is from a trip to tornado ally in Oklahoma. I’m a bit of a weather geek so it was a goal of mine to go and photograph the storms out there.

Vickie King for Vyrao

MR: It looks like you have layered and collaged various elements together to achieve the dreamy result. Is this true?

VK: My work is generally a mixture of analogue and digital. So for Vyrao, they’re mostly made up of prints of archived work that I made collages and backgrounds from and re-photographed the result. Some of them are put together digitally. Its whatever works best for the image I want to make, I’m not tied to a particular process.

MR: Can you tell us about your influences,  both long-term themes, and more recent blasts of creative inspiration?

VK: Everything… my life, light, my body. I try and put myself in the way of experiences that I’ll find interesting or altering in some way. I love artists that create a whole world to drag you into, where its multi-layered, complicated and sometimes confusing. I went to see Helen Frankenthaler’s show recently and was blown away. 

MR: What's next on your agenda?

I’m planning some fun editorials, working on finally putting out a publication I’ve been working on forever!

Thank you Vicki King.

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