Kirsty Mitchell’s photography is an ethereal wonderland of lush fairy tales and historical dress, set in beautiful woodlands and inspired by her memories of her mother reading aloud to her. She has worked with Alexander McQueen’s studio and studied costume design at the London College of Fashion.
After her mother’s death, Kirsty immersed herself in photography to deal with the trauma of grief. Starting with everyday shots taken on the street or subway, her creations morphed into large detailed imaginative tableaus taken from her dreams. Involving much more than just clicking a shutter button, she hand made and painted everything - from the costumes to the sets. In the woodlands around her home, she constructed elaborate scenes akin to a miniature movie set, complete with lighting, assistants and models.
“Photography became my only escape when I could no longer talk about how I felt. I lost myself in street portraiture, focusing on those who reflected my own sadness and loss. I later turned the camera inward and began photographing myself throughout the hardest years of my life. It became an utter fantasy that blocked out the real world and a place where I could return to my memories of her, far away from those hospital walls…
I found myself producing pieces that echoed the memories of her stories and the belief in wonder I have always felt inside…. since embarking on this new path life has become a very different place, a second chance is maybe the best way to describe it, and for that I am grateful… Because of my camera I have walked on snow covered in flowers, stood in lakes at sunset, painted trees, set fire to chairs, made smoking umbrellas and giant wigs from stolen flowers. I have laughed, been overwhelmed and left in awe of all the things I has previously passed unnoticed until now. My eyes are finally opened no matter how sad the origin of it all was… I will always cherish the fact that this small and very precious awakening has happened…”
For information on her limited edition book, Wonderland, click here.