A Study of Carroll's Alice Through Film and Photography
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In a study of the Charles Dodgson photographs and stories, and the host of films, media, art and scholarly writings that grew out of his body of work, there are key elements that made the Alice character and story one of the most filmed themes of all time. Dodgson was a portrait photographer, a tutor, a mathematician, an author, and also a complex and troubled soul. Alice was a real person Alice Liddell, who was both photographed by Dodgson in formal Victorian portraits and then fantasized about, by him in the Alice children's stories. The internal conflict between Dodgson as photographer of the Victorian era and his own fascination with illusion relates to the creation of cinema, a medium, which plays with visual perception. More than 100 films have been made with clear retellings of the Alice narrative, and countless others have reiterated the same themes. The fascination with the girl / woman Alice and the spinning of her perception through a fantastical world of altered time and imagined characters is painted, repainted, told and retold through a long list of male filmmakers including the famous interpretations by Walt Disney, Woody Allen, Tim Burton, and the less known. The perspective of Alice is often from the male's point of view and the stories are told about her instead of by her. This is a theme that permeates the large body of art that surround Alice. The transformation of Alice from a 2-dimensional Victorian portrait to the heroine of a fantasized journey with her down a rabbit hole or through a looking glass and through altered time is a perfect metaphor for the beginning of cinema. With a long history of a male dominated media, the icon of Alice has been a medium in itself for a rather long history of a voyeuristic image of young women through a male lens.