My inspirations: Wonderland – Kirsty Mitchell Photography
I love this time of the morning, it’s quiet, still, my surroundings still heavy with slumber and it feels like the right time to let you into a magical place that inspires me, one of fairy-tales without words.
When I was a much younger version of myself I always enjoyed curling up with my Nan as she read from colourful pages of traditional fairy-tales, my imagination a riot of colour and fantasy, only to let loose and run round her garden winding through the fruit trees, behind the shed to the veggie patch, picking berries and playing with the fairy folk… Ever since I can remember and even in to my adult life, I still love any opportunity to escape into worlds and realms where possibilities are endless and the rule book for life as we know it, is thrown out of the window (of a bramble covered castle, high up on a hill and eaten by a creature with fiery breath…).
So when I first saw the image above “The Fade of Fallen Memories” from the Wonderland Series I was instantly whisked back to those safe childhood memories, captivated by its secret garden atmosphere, the details, the woodland setting and that door. I always have an overwhelming desire to open doors that look like they have been locked for eternity, my curious mind wants to know what they guard and protect.
My admiration for Kirsty’s work goes way beyond loosing myself in the tiny details of the final photographs we see, for behind every single shot there is a scene in a story, a tragic story, of her own personal loss that drove this series. Before finding solace behind her lens Kirsty studied and worked as a costume for performance and fashion designer (McQueen, Chalayan), each exquisite costume, wig, piece of fabric, flower, stitch and found objects were all begged, borrowed or made by Kirsty herself to create the visions in her head along with a little help from generous and talented friends.
In 2011 Kirsty gave up her job to commit to finishing the project that, as she will tell you herself, allowed escape from pain in the real world. This entire series has taken years of dedication, often waiting an entire 12 months for a season to come around again, finding the right location, waiting for the right light to capture the mood for the shot, standing on ladders in forests or knee deep in snow and lakes.
After 5 years the final shot has only recently been released bringing Wonderland to a close, the beautiful tiny hidden detail I will leave for you to find, you’ll need to look REALLY closely! (A beautiful moment of nature captured by the lens).
However I don’t feel it’s my place to tell Kirsty’s story, this is her own personal journey in which she expresses herself through her lens after the loss of her Mother, herself an English teacher, starting with painful awakenings, healing and now finally coming up for air; release. Of course they are all beautiful images, yet it’s not until you discover the meaning behind them that their true beauty is revealed, so allow Kirsty to tell the story behind Wonderland.
I’m only just starting out on my own journey and seeing someone else who I admire succeed, after risking everything financially and emotionally, is inspirational.
Now, take a moment to curl up and lose yourself, escape, in the videos of the shoots. Besides cataloging her voyage in Wonderland these were made to show exactly how each shot was put together. There is so much work that goes into any creative project, we often judge the end piece as a whole, without examining the details and composition, without taking the time to look beyond what we see as the final object, for not everything is all that it seems…
All artwork and videos displayed in this post are the work and copyright of Kirsty Mitchell Photography.