Good morning, Wonderists!
Today I want to share with you the work of Kirsty Mitchell, a UK photographer, who spent the last 4 years memorializing her mother in a photography series called “Wonderland.” I first read about her in this Daily Mail article last week and have been fawning over her luscious photos since. Mitchell’s mother was an English teacher who inspired many with her gift for storytelling, but who lost her battle with cancer in 2008. Lost inside her grief after her mother’s death, Mitchell retreated behind her lens and into a world of fantasy. What began as just a few photos is now 75 – a complete journey through the four seasons and the fragments of fairytales her mother read to her as a child. There were no stylists, designers, and no professional support; Mitchell created every costume, sourced every prop, and found every location on her own – she “begged and borrowed the rest.”
The photos are so otherworldly that she’s posted several behind-the scenes videos and diaries to prove they weren’t photoshopped. In some cases, she waited an entire year for pockets of wildflowers to bloom and months for a character to come to her in her dreams. Many have assumed that she traveled all over the world to exotic locations for the series, but all were shot within driving distance of her home in Surrey. She chose to shoot locally to remind people that “Wonderland is real…and all around us.”
Of her experience creating the Wonderland series, Mitchell says, “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 ……”
I share a few more of my favorite photos from the series below, but I encourage you to take a walk through Wonderland yourself – see the complete series here and read the emotional story straight from Kirsty Mitchell here. It’s truly breathtaking. And what a beautiful way to remember a storyteller and a mother.