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Kirsty Mitchell’s “Wonderland”

Posted on 10/10/2012

After reading about Kirsty Mitchell’s “Wonderland” series online, I rushed to the SW1 Gallery in Victoria to catch the last day of her exhibition and was lucky enough to talk to Kirsty herself. I can honestly say I have never been so moved by an exhibition in my whole life.

“The Ghost Swift”

On display were a selection of Kirsty’s breathtakingly beautiful images and some of the original costumes used in the creation of the photographs. The images and costumes are part of a much larger project which began in 2009 and contains over 60 images. “Wonderland” is inspired by and dedicated to Kirsty’s Mother, Maureen, who sadly passed away in November 2008. Maureen was an English teacher for 30 years and Kirsty began to create “an unexplained storybook without words, dedicated to her.”

For me “Wonderland” brings together some of the best and most beautiful things in life, the natural beauty of the world around us, the hidden magic in the pages of poetry and fairy tales and the romance of the Pre Raphaelites. As Kirsty describes it, it was “the result of many things, book illustrations, poems, memories of paintings mixed with blurred recollections of fairytale queens.”

“The White Queen”

Even more inspiring is the fact that “Wonderland” was created on shoestring budget, in evenings and weekends whilst Kirsty and make up artist Elbie Van Eeden both worked full time jobs. Nothing you see in these images has been created in Photoshop, which meant that some of these images took months to set up. Trying to achieve the perfect light and waiting for the desired wild flowers to be in bloom again.

“Gammelyn’s Daughter, A Waking Dream”

In Dec 2011 Kirsty left her 10 year career behind her to dedicate her time fully to the “Wonderland” series, to plan the exhibition and the book to accompany it. In 2013 Kirsty hopes to bring everything together; all the images from the project, behind the scenes photographs and the costumes, with an accompanying book to complete the story of her journey. I can’t wait!

“The Distant Pull of Remembrance”

If you can’t wait until next year to see Kirsty’s work, a selection of images from the “Wonderland” series is currently on display at Quaglino’s in London until November 14th.

Photography: Kirsty Mitchell, Make up: Elbie Van Eeden.