English version | Wonderland

17 May 2022
By Joana Rodrigues Stumpo

This is the name of Kirsty Mitchell's photographic project, which brings to life the fantasy settings that we only find in the most magical dreams.

This is the name of Kirsty Mitchell's photographic project, which brings to life the fantasy settings that we only find in the most magical dreams.

In a land far away, where no cars or airplanes arrive, where there are no buildings and the roads are mere paths through the woods, life is simpler. In the fantasy world, you live in harmony in harmony with the trees, the flowers, and the water, an idyllic idyllic setting straight out of a dream or a magical fairy tale. It is from these stories of fairies and princesses that Kirsty Mitchell draws inspiration from these fairy and princess stories to bring her cinematographic images to reality. "With fairy tales everything is possible and so the imagination can really fly, it is simply a license to create the wildest dreams." In Wonderland, a project that eventually became a book, the inspiration tends to veer towards "the darker origins" of these stories, "where there are consequences and mystery." The photographer explains, "Many fairy tales have been rewritten over the years to have less troubled plots, resulting in sugary Disney versions that are not a true reflection of how powerful these stories used to be." And that is the essence she seeks to recover in her work, filled with "evil forests that pop up overnight, snow queens who can freeze your heart and characters who risk their lives. who risk their lives." Rather than drinking from masters of enchanting stories, such as Hans Christian Andersen and Laurence Housman (whom she confesses to being the author of one of her favorite books, Moonlight and Fairyland), to this fantasy world, Mitchell starts from her own relationship with nature and the way it has been changing. In a reality where "most people use their phones, computers or screens to escape, whether it's social networking movies, or games", an extreme has been reached "where nature has been forgotten, especially by the younger generations." The photographer explains that Wonderland "has endlessly opened up my spirit and my appreciation for [all things natural]." "My eyes have opened since the creation of this series, life has become a very different place, a second chance is perhaps the best way to describe it." It was during the production process that Mitchell felt the magic of nature: "Whether it was the blooming of wildflowers, cold mud slipping through my toes or snow blowing through my hair, I felt alive again." Wonderland goes back to the summer of 2009, when she was born the fruit of an attempt to "escape a terrible reality and to block out a lot of pain." At that time, she says, she was still a Fashion designer: "I never expected I never expected to leave my job and become an artist, so I think that was one of the most authentic parts of this work."

There was no clear purpose or intention behind the creation behind the creation of these fairy-tale worlds, she assures. "It was not a project created for anyone else but me, it was a deeply personal therapy that saved me from a very difficult period of my life. In the winter of the previous year, Mitchell's mother passed away after a fight against a brain tumor, and in the months that followed, the photographer says she was "haunted by the memories of the hospital, and I found myself I found myself going back to the 'safe' memories of us reading together as a way of escape." And the destination where the memories took her was the fantasy world she recreated in Wonderland. According to Mitchell, "the great passion of my mother's life was literature, storytelling and beautiful books," so it is only logical that she grew up "with a fascination for illustrations, that later became intertwined with the memories of the love and comfort I felt in the arms of my mother." Inspired by the enchanting stories and the warm memories of a childhood filled with tales, this is how the pieces that make up the series, which "are best described as meditations about memories mixed with my adult grief - a blur between two very different emotional times in my life." Now, more than a decade after the biggest turning point of her life, the artist looks back in retrospect: "Losing my mother was the worst and biggest thing that ever happened to me, it truly changed my life and the way I see the world." What would her mother think about the world of magic created by her daughter? Kirsty would like her to "cry with happiness. She dedicated years of years of her life to support me as a child, and so I can certainly offer the same in return. I cannot express how much I wish I could show her this book."

Translated from the original on The Fairytale Issue, from Vogue Portugal, published May/June 2022.Full stories and credits on the print issue.

Joana Rodrigues Stumpo By Joana Rodrigues Stumpo

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