Fine art photographer Kirsty Mitchell created a series of conceptual portraits she titled “Wonderland” to honor her mother. The award-winning photo series will soon be available in tangible form as a book of the same name, funded by a Kickstarter project.
The Wonderland series started out as a small project in 2009 when the artist thought of conceptualizing childhood stories her mother told. Kirsty’s mother was an English teacher who passed away because of cancer a few years earlier.
The photographer started off with a few shots, featuring models dressed up in costumes straight out of fantasy books and fairy tales, set against natural backgrounds like the forest in order to further showcase an ethereal environment.
Kirsty recalls that her mother’s “life’s great passion was literature and storytelling. After I lost her I struggled greatly, I was unable to remember her without being haunted by the memories of the hospital.”
She went through and tracked down original editions of some of the unusual books her mother used to collect for her, triggering an idea to create “an unexplained storybook without words dedicated to her… It felt like the perfect way to celebrate who she was as a person and the legacy she left behind.”
Earlier this year, Kirsty even had a solo show in London that displayed some of her art for Wonderland, at the Mead Carney Gallery last June:
The storybook images slowly became a huge project, sometimes needing as much as almost half a year to prep for a shoot, with costumes and props being created all by hand. Eventually, a collection of 74 photos have been turned into the Wonderland book, funded via Kickstarter, reaching more than twice the original £70,000 goal.
Here are just some of the amazing images, detailed to the extreme yet ambiguous enough for us to create our own stories with, the same way the artist’s mother used to enjoy:
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Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at one of the shoots:
You can view Kirsty Mitchell’s other photos and read the essay about the photo series on her website. While the Kickstarter project is already completely funded, you can still pre-order the book or some special goodies while they last on the project page. You can also like her page on Facebook.
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