I spotted this image some time ago, and I was instantly struck by it’s magical beauty and the irony within it – glorious colours and fresh blooms set agains the cold of the snow. My never-ending curiosity lead me to the author of this beautiful photograph – Kirsty Mitchell, an inspiring photographer born in 1976 in the English county of Kent. I had a snoop around her site and I was completely mesmerised by the magic of her Wonderland series, some of which I am sharing with you today.

 

 

Aren’t they simply divine? So hauntingly beautiful and almost sad. Once I read Kirsty’s story, it all started to make a bit more sense.

“My earliest memories were always of the stories read to me by my mother as a child… how it felt to be curled into her side, listening to the rush of her breath as she paused for effect, before launching into yet another characters voice. She was an English teacher, and read to me almost everyday, to an age I could no longer admit to my friends. She instilled in me the most precious gift a mother could, her imagination and a belief in beauty… it became my root, and the place I constantly try to return to in my work, and my dreams.”

 

 

Kirsty went to study art and photography, and then she trained in ‘costume for film and theatre’ at the London College of Fashion. She eventually completed her degree in fashion design in the summer of 2001, after which she commenced working as a fashion designer for a global designer brand. In 2007, a personal illness brought a sudden change and led her to pick up her camera. She fell in love with the faces of strangers, and photography gave her a new purpose.

In March 2008, Kirsty’s mother was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and her world fell apart. Photography became her only escape and the only way she was able to express her feeling. She lost herself in the world of street portraiture in which she reflected her own sadness and despair. After her mother’s tragic death later that same year, Kirsty became engulfed by photography.

 

 

“I found myself producing pieces that echoed the memories of her stories, and the belief in wonder I have always felt since a child. By combining my various backgrounds, I now create images where everything has been designed and produced by myself, and a small team. The costumes, the props, the sets and accessories, are all part of the process that is finally recorded in the finished product of the photograph. It is driven by the need to produce tangible pieces of my dreams, and make it possible to step into the scenes for real. This physical creation is my favourite part, and has taken me to places I would have otherwise never known.”

 

 

“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 had previously passed unnoticed until now…”

 

 

“Life has become a different place, ‘a second chance’ is maybe the only way to describe it, and for that I am so grateful. I have had my eyes opened, and no matter how sad the origin of it all was… I will always cherish the fact this small and precious awakening has happened…”

Dear Kirsty, I applaud you for having the strength to create and capture such beauty, magic and emotion in your images, and for turning this enormous personal loss into a huge gain for all of those who admire what you do every day. You are a true inspiration.

x dana


[Discovered via the fab Design for Mankind.]

 

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Editor In Chief
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Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Nick Hughes, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Interior Design, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places.

8 Responses

  1. Kate

    Wow, these are beautiful and so haunting, brought back memories of seeing Sally potters ‘Orlando’ with Tilda Swinton.

    Reply

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