Self portrait of Vicki King.

Vicki King – Self Portrait

As part of our series when we ask our friends and collaborators about personal rituals that improve their life energy levels and work we talk to British photographer Vicki King, who recently created a campaign expressing each of Vyrao five scents about how she protects her creativity in advance of of working on a big project.  Here, we showcase Vicki’s work with our fragrance I am Verdant. 

Melanie Rickey: What’s your personal definition of wellness?

Vicki King It’s a complicated question! I think being ‘well’ is different for everybody, it isn’t something that can be set as a standard or achieved through accumulating things… For me its a work in progress and every day practice to maintain. In essence, to be well is to be able to show up for yourself and be fully present in the things you are wanting to do.

MR: How do you start your day?

VK: Years ago I never thought I’d say it, but I am a fan of mornings. I sleep with the curtains open so the light wakes me up. I drink a lot of coffee, feed my cat. There’s really nice light that comes in here in the morning and bounces light around on all the reflective and glass objects I have on my desk, it brings in a sense of hopefulness.

The Vyrao fragrance, Free 00, shot by Vicki King.

MR: How do you feed your creativity?

VK: Photography puts you in that lucky position of physically having to go out and be curious about the world, look at things hard and study them. I can’t think of anything much better that can drag you out of your head and straight into life. I think being someone that’s sensitive to my surroundings naturally makes me of the inclination that I’m emotional to all elements of life. So being creative is something that comes when I’m in a good space. 

MR: How do you build in time for that in your life?

VK: I’m sure it’s the same with a lot of creative people, in that it is a part of your everyday being, there’s not much space between life and creative life. It all bleeds into each other. 

MR: Where do you draw inspiration from outside photography?

VK: The sky. Light. Natural elements. Complicated feelings. Something I missed so much over covid, is places where you can collectively experience things; live music, raves, summer solstice.. being naked outside in nature with friends. I’m drawn to experiences that take you outside of yourself and your usual state of being. 

An image of the outdoors by Vicki King.
The Vyrao fragrance, Witchy Woo, shot by Vicki King.

MR: How do you nourish your emotional/spiritual wellness? 

VK: I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s work around creativity and the self, she talks about creativity as something spiritual, that lives outside of you and visits, as opposed to an egocentric western ideal of ‘artistic genius’ being held in the individual. You have to show up and be open and present and work to be in a good headspace and if you’re lucky it comes by.. I like to think about emotion in the same way, as something non-permanent that visits for a while but doesn’t make up the whole of your being. 

MR: Are you a bit Witchy Woo? Tell us everything!

VK: Haa well I have to say Witchy Woo is the Vyrao scent I was most drawn to. Also when I was 12 me and my friend decided we were witches, dyed our hair purple and started practicing ‘spells’… I also put some serious years in when I was a teenager looking very much like a quintessential witch (ok goth) .. so I guess that qualifies me?!

An image of the outdoors by Vicki King.

MR: How do you nurture and protect your creativity in advance of a shoot you need tight focus for?

VK: Routines:
I’m a pretty spontaneous person, but before shoots I plannnn. Not necessarily all of the shots as I like to be open to what happens in front of me. But all the logistics have to be locked down. I have to have a real good sleep beforehand. I make notes and draw bad sketches of stick people for shot ideas. 

Activities:
Generally I am more proactive and creative when I’m busy, I don’t do well with downtime! So I like to keep active. Walk in nature everyday. Lists. 

Rituals:
I have a jar of scraps of paper with things I cherish about myself written on them – that I pick one from every day. I have a never-ending playlist that I’ve been adding to for the past 6 years of music that inspires me. So I put that on shuffle..

Crystals:
I’m a big collector of shiny natural elements, so there’s a lot of crystals, shells, rocks around me. I can’t say I use them for energy but I like the way they look in the light and always find it interesting how naturals formations sit alongside the body, their similarities and differences.

The Vyrao fragrance, I am Verdant, shot by Vicki King.
An image of a hand touching wood by Vicki King.

MR: How do you make space for what you need for your creative process to work?

VK: A lot of practice

MR: How do you deal with potential overwhelm?

VK: Lie in the dark with the sound of storms on repeat

MR: What regular or more unusual hobbies chill you out?

VK: Surrounding myself with supportive and interesting people. Spending time with animals. Dancing in my room.