Annie Collinge, 32, describes her work as “childlike, but slightly dark.” So it’s surprising that celebrity portraiture started her career, even before she graduated from Central Saint Martins and the University of Brighton. “I started assisting when I was 17,” she says, “so it seemed very exciting meeting famous people.” She marveled at David Blaine getting shouted at by hotel security, a seamless backdrop falling on Richard Branson, and accidentally getting stuck in a revolving door with Goldie Hawn. “Inevitably, I didn’t want to do [that],” she says, after sharing her glamour-filled memories, so she struck out on her own, mostly to photograph people in colorfully floral costumes. “People always put me in the quirky bracket,” she explains, “but [others] feel my work is refreshing, because they [usually] see a lot of the same things.”
After pitching a few post-collegiate ideas to Tank, she landed that magazine as her first client, moved to New York in 2008, and has gone on to shoot regularly for The Independent, Vice, and The Sunday Times Magazine. These assignments include a fair bit of celebrity — Usher, Chloe Moretz, and Malcolm Gladwell were recent subjects — but she uses those contracts to finance her own projects. She’s currently self-publishing a book based on Margaret Atwood’s 5 Poems for Dolls, which involves buying dolls at flea markets and dressing humans to match them. Essentially, she says, it’s about “the idea that I’m translating this doll that is a vision of life back into life.” Click through our slideshow to see more of Collinge’s work, and to hear the thought process behind her pictures.