For many years, fine art photographer Kirsty Mitchell captivated us with her enchanting series titled Wonderland. The 74-image collection is beyond stunning. To create it, Mitchell used her education and career in costume and fashion design to produce fantastical scenes of intricate, hand-built outfits worn by models in idyllic landscapes. Each photograph is a moment of a story frozen in time that invites the viewer to fill in the blanks.
Wonderland, is born out of personal tragedy. It began in summer 2009—seven months after Mitchell’s mother passed away from cancer. As Mitchell tells it, “My world fell apart. Photography became my only escape when I could no longer talk about how I felt.”
With her mother gone, Mitchell began to create images in her honor. A former English teacher with a passion for stories, Mitchell’s mother collected unusual books which the photographer then tracked down the original editions of books she had grown up being exposed to. “It was the faded fragments of the book’s illustrations, mixed up with dreams and my experiences through the grief that eventually formed the narrative of the series,” Mitchell explains. “Ultimately it became a strange and beautiful place to remember and forget, both in the same bittersweet moment.”
Since completing the Wonderland images, Mitchell has continued to share it with others. She took two years to compile the collection into a huge volume of over 640 photographs aptly called The Wonderland Book, published in 2015. More recently, the series has become an immersive installation at Fotografiska in Stockholm. Calling it “a three-dimensional experience of the whole series,” Mitchell incorporated elements of darkness and sound to shed new light on Wonderland.
Wonderland ends there on March 3, 2019, but it will be on view in London and New York in the future.