" My early memories were always of the stories read to me by my mother as a child..."
..."She instilled in me the most precious gift a mother could, her imagination and a belief in beauty..."
These are the words spoken by photographer, Kirsty Mitchell. This wonderful artist has dedicated the past five years working on a beautiful and moving project, the ultimate expression of her love; a tribute to her mother Maureen.
Kirsty Mitchell was born in the English County of Kent, also known as "the garden of England", in 1976. She pursued a passion for art; studying fine arts, art history, photography, fashion and costume design. Both her internships with Alexander Mc Queen and Hussein Chalayan were to influence her future work tremendously.
Kirsty Mitchell really started focusing on photography in 2007... again, in her words..."I used to say I had never 'looked' until it was through a lens... life was different, more beautiful, more sad, and extreme in every sense of the word."
The heartbreaking passing of Maureen in 2008 triggered her full escape into photography and the desire to create a project in memory of her mother.
"I found myself producing pieces that echoed the memories of her stories, and the belief in wonder I have always felt since a child."
From then on, her vision became an extraordinary labour of love. Everything was hand and home made. Her creative energy, professional experience and knowledge in fashion and art, produced a very personal fairytale. A storybook without words echoing the tender ritual of her mothers' storytelling.
What began in 2009 as a summer project involving a few shoots, became a turning point in both her life and her career.
In association with Elbie Van Eeden, a formidable makeup and hair artist, sharing the same vision, and with the help of friends on given projects and donations of people's unwanted treasures, Kirsty Mitchell created props, costumes and wigs bringing to life the marvelous and the mysterious which so vividly serve our childhood imagination.
Kirsty's project became so intense with such a huge amount of work involved ( especially since there were no other stylists, designers, professional support teams, sponsors etc... other than herself...) that she stopped her 10 year career as a fashion designer in 2011 to focus entirely on this emotional photographic journey; WONDERLAND.
Today, this series of photographs is almost finished (in March 2014, there were 72 pieces in the collection with a final 5 on the way). WONDERLAND, once completed, should give birth to a book and an exhibition.
The International Press has taken noice of her work in the past few years, and Kirsty Mitchell has been given high professional praise by the likes of Harper's Bazaar, the BBC News, The Daily Mail, Vogue, without forgetting professional photographic magazines etc...
This really isn't meant to be a 'serious' post but I REALLY have a COUP DE COEUR for this photographer, for her work, her sense of aesthetics and the beautiful story behind the art. So, because a picture speaks a thousand words and because I've been rambling on a little... you now definitely deserve what follows....
|Kirsty waited a year for these wild english bluebells to bloom again so she had time to come fully prepared for the shoot she had imagined.|
|Somewhere between a Russian Doll and a Geisha... Love this picture...|
|Where's Sir Lancelot?|
|See those stilts? Very Tim Burtonish...|
|Isn't this wild...?|
|Books and Butterflies...|
|This one may have been photoshopped a little... love it all the same...|
|Real everything, real snow, real cold... brrrr...|
|Over 1000 real rhododendron flowers there...|
|Silk flowers and so gorgeous...|
|Magic in the making...|
As I said, everything is hand made, and all props are life size. Flowers are natural (or silk as on some clothing pieces). If photoshop is used, it is only for sharpness and definition in the finished picture and not in the actual creation process.
Kirsty Mitchell gives us a remarkable lesson when it comes to Coping and Conquering... she coped with her grief by creating a masterpiece of refined beauty, poetry and grace, and in the process conquered new friendships and a sense of great accomplishment. I can't wait for her book and look forward to entering the magic world she recreated through love and devotion. I look forward to entering the world of WONDERLAND and getting lost in childhood dreams.
Maureen must be very proud...
Please do go onto Kirsty's website: www.kirstymitchellphotography.com
You will find more wonderful pictures (bigger size too obviously and of greater quality), fun videos and insights on the 'making of' WONDERLAND. It's a magical journey worth embarking on...
credits:- all photos via www.kirstymitchellphotography.com