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Photographer & Adopted Daughter Bond In Collaborative Cosplay Series

By Hanssie on January 21st 2015

10-year-old Alice Lewis loves sharing her life story. After all, having 6 mother figures before the age of seven, and then finally finding her forever home is a really big deal. Alice was adopted by photographer Kelly Lewis and her husband at the age of seven and hopes to inspire people to consider adopting an older child.

Not having the typical mother-daughter bonding that occurs at birth or even as a young child adopted into a family, Kelly and Alice found another way to share that mother-daughter link. Through Kelly’s love of photography and Alice’s love of dress up, the two have collaborated on a series of beautiful cosplay portraits.



Alice decided to change her name after her adoption to the beloved Lewis Carroll character because {in an Alice voice}, “She’s curious and clumsy. I like when Alice is asking herself questions while she’s falling down the rabbit hole.” To celebrate her 8th birthday and to showoff her namesake, the pair planned and shot in various locations an Alice in Wonderland themed photo shoot. One scene was shot in the courthouse where her adoption was finalized.

Malice_of_Alice_cosplay_4 Malice_of_Alice_cosplay-2


The idea for the series began one day when Alice and Kelly saw a dress while shopping about two weeks after Alice moved in with the Lewis family. She commented on how it looked like a “Dorothy” (Wizard of Oz) dress. The two decided to do a photo shoot and Alice “immediately got into character and threw off little poses left and right without having to be prompted. She didn’t care that it was cold or super windy. She just became Dorothy.” And thus an awesome photo series was born.

The pair decided to continue to do more cosplay photo shoots and the planning and executing of these shoots have brought mother and daughter closer than ever. Some shoots are impromptu and others take some time to plan out, as did the Joan of Arc shoot. Alice and Kelly spent weeks preparing. From researching the character to handcrafting costumes and props, setting the scenes and finding locations, Alice and Kelly covered Joan of Arc’s story from beginning to end.

Malice_of_Alice_Cosplay_5 Malice_of_Alice_Cosplay_6 Malice_of_Alice_Cosplay_7 Malice_of_Alice_Cosplay_8 Malice_of_Alice_Cosplay_9

 Alice is a very imaginative child. Playing make-believe is how she’s coped with all of the negative things she’s lived through. It’s just a natural part of her being now and cosplaying gives her a creative outlet to express herself and be whoever she wants to be. It’s her dream to become an actress.

Alice and Kelly have created numerous other portraits such as Wonder Woman, Corraline, Carrie, Wednesday, Hit Girl and more. You can see them all and keep up with Alice’s newest photos on her website, Malice of Alice and follow her and Kelly on their social media sites:

Alice’s Social Media Sites:
Alice’s Website: www.maliceofalice.com
Alice’s Facebook: www.facebook.com/maliceofalice
Instagram: instagram.com/themaliceofalice
Twitter: twitter.com/malice_of_alice
Tumblr: www.kellyisnice.tumblr.com (This is our family blog, Malice of Alice, where you can learn more details about Alice’s life and adoption.)

Kelly Lewis/Kelly Is Nice Photography

Website: www.kellyisnice.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kellyisnicephotography
Instagram: instagram.com/kellyisnice
Twitter: twitter.com/kellyisnice
Tumblr: www.kellyisnicephotography.tumblr.com

The Lewis Family on adoption day

The Lewis Family on adoption day

Here are a few more images from this adorable series:

Alice as Red Riding Hood

Alice as Red Riding Hood

Alice as Marie Antoinette

Alice as Marie Antoinette

Alice as Edward Scissorhands

Alice as Edward Scissorhands

Alice as Little Miss Muffet

Alice as Little Miss Muffet

Alice as Carrie (Kelly tells us that The Carrie cosplay was shot in our living room one night because we were bored and Alice wanted me to take her picture. I know a Stephen King character seems like an outrageous thing for your 9 year old daughter to be familiar with, but it's because you don't know her history. Alice watched a lot of horror movies with her birth family. She's seen more scary movies than I have, and she loves them. It's part of her past and reminds her of the people that were in it. There were a lot of behaviors Alice had to relearn once she was in foster care. Stopping her from watching creepy movies that don't scare her was not important enough in the grand scheme of things to make that list. It's something she did with her birth family that she misses.

Alice as Carrie
(Kelly tells us that “Alice watched a lot of horror movies with her birth family and she loves them. It’s part of her past and reminds her of the people that were in it.”)

[Via So Bad So Good]


Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com and www.fittedmagazine.com. Follow her on Instagram. Email her at:

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Graham Curran

    How wonderful to have such a cooperative and photogenic child as a model.

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  3. Murray Severn

    Really wonderful story to read!

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  4. Tosh Cuellar

    This is really fantastic! what an awesome way to bond. My 5 year old daughter loves to dress up and this is not only a touching article, but inspiring too, I would love to take photos of my daughter in all her different dress up outfits. Great idea!

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  5. Diane Colquhoun

    This is just stunning, I have an adopted sister and it was hard to think of her as a sister for a long time. We finally bonded with the love of animals and hiking. So this story is really heart touching for me.

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  6. Austin Swenson

    I love all the images, I am however concerned about a kid that young watching horror movies? Oh the nightmares, I remember watching scary movies at that age and it didn’t sit well with me.

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    Great family and I love the picture they have …..simply wonderful

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  8. Brandon Dewey

    Great images

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  9. Lex Arias


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  10. Aaron Cheney

    This is so awesome!! I love it

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  11. Peter Nord

    I’ve got granddaughters like that. Let them put something on and poses come out of the woodwork. They must be born with them. Some adopted some not can’t tell the difference.

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  12. Greg Silver

    Some great shots. I’m all for kids dressing up but not really fond of having children pose in gory shots. Let them keep their innocence.

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  13. robert garfinkle

    Willing to bet she will turn out to be a model and go to Broadway. Gonna be a star!

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  14. Ashton Pal

    Wonderful pictures and a great article showing that adopting a child doesn’t mean parents can’t bond with their adopted child. This family has done that through photography and allowing what most girls her age love to do.

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  15. Basit Zargar

    Awesome !

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  16. Daniel Thullen

    Bravo to Ms. Lewis! As the father of two adopted boys (although my were at birth) I applaud her! In reviewing the pictures she is also a very talented photographer. Alice appears to be a budding actress/model. She certainly is able to get into the characters.

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