I’ve been following Kristy Mitchell for a year now and I’ve been utterly in love with her Wonderland series, they are like she stepped inside my head and turned my dreams into stories through magical photographs. I’ve been going through her blog and reading some of her early posts in this series, she started the series after experiencing the loss of her mother.
Kristy’s late mother Maureen was an English teacher who loved teaching her students through the telling of imaginative stories and plays. Following her death in 2008 Kristy channeled her overwhelming grief into her passion for photography.
Real life became overwhelming and she found herself retreating deeper into wonderland through the portal of her camera. The escape to this alternative existence grew into the concept of an unexplained storybook portrayed through photography, dedicated to her mother, the works echo the wonderful stories that she was read as a child.
Kristy has a background in fashion and costume design which is evident in this series, she collaborated with hair and make-up artist Elbie Van Eeden for this entire series, they met after talking online and this series would probably not be the same without her contribution. At the start of this series they were both working full-time jobs and spent their evenings and weekends making props, wigs and sets on a shoe string budget. Their resourcefulness is incredible, one shot in this series which you can see below they used the internet to gain access to a bunch of previously owned encyclopedia’s, these also make an appearance later in the series as a chair made of books.
Through out the series you see various props and costumes make re-appearances in different altered states, for example the books above combined with the lavender chair from another photo in the series are combined in the photo below to make a fabulous chair filled with stories from faraway lands.
Kristy developed a deep bond with the different locations featured through out her series, she wanted to share and remind people of the forgotten magic and beauty in our world. She became deeply fascinated with pockets of wildflowers like blue bells which only appear a few weeks out of the year and would wait up to a year so she could shoot their vibrant colours.
All of the characters featured in Wonderland came to Kristy in dreams and she was delighted when they came to life before her eyes,‘after all, it’s not often you get to stand beside an eight foot princess in the rain, or witness the dawn with a dancing circus girl on stilts!’ (HIRSCHMILLER, S, May 2012, dailymail.co.uk)
Most assumed her images were created in Photoshop because of how amazingly real they appeared to be and many thought that she traveled the world to create these incredible images when in fact they were all taken in locations near her home in Surrey, England.
I’ve been reading her blog over the last couple of days and haven’t even made a dent in it but I love reading about how each part of the series came together and seeing the behind the scenes of how the props, sets and costumes were made.
There are so many magical images in this series it was so hard to choose which ones to include in this entry because there just all so wonderful. I love how each and every one delves further into an imaginative wonderland filled with over the top characters and elaborate sets and costumes. I’m very excited to see her bring a book out towards the end of this year filled with all these magical characters and wonderful images.
It’s artist like this that fill my head with so many wonderful ideas and inspire me to bring my own dreams to life through my art. For those that know me they know I had a passion for photography for many years, never having had much self-confidence when interacting with people just like Kristy Mitchell once I get behind the camera something magical happens and I suddenly have this confidence I don’t usually have. I hope that one day I can follow in her footsteps and share magical worlds through vivid photographic images.