Growing up nurtured by fairytales and instilled with a belief in imagination and beauty, Kirsty Mitchell passes on these inspirations within each piece of her work. Her mother opened Kirsty’s eyes to a world that would stay with her forever, stirring a love for creativity that shaped her future path. Growing up, Kirsty knew art was her one true love. With devotion she has excelled in and out of education: She went on to study the History of Art, Photography and Fine Art before training in ‘Costume for Performance’ at the London College for Fashion. After a brief spell working in the industry, she returned to education and came out with a 1st BA (Hons) in Fashion Design at Ravensbourne College of Art in London. Kirsty Mitchell worked hard to develop her experience and knowledge, even completing two internships at the design studios of Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan during this time; All of this has clearly inspired some of the wardrobes fashioned for her photography and helped to create the unique style of fantasy and splendour that makes Mitchell’s work so mesmerising.
Interestingly, it was only later on in life that Kirsty picked up a camera. During a bout of illness during 2007, a new urge overtook which lead to her seeing the world in a whole new light; the world behind the lens. This interest lead to an all-consuming love which developed her creation into the work displayed today. Perhaps more importantly, it helped her to get through a dark period after her mother was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Photography became both her saviour and her high walls as she focussed on street photography before turning to self portraits. It allowed Kirsty to deal with emotions that could not be put into words, but at the same time allowing her to recluse into a world of fantasy and memories.
After the death of her mother Kirsty’s world took another turn as melancholy mixed with the sweet memories of a fantastical childhood. This was to be the beginning of the Wonderland series. Overtaken by the need to connect to her lost mother she became the inspiration for one of the most beautiful, ongoing series of photography in the 21st century. Using her background of fashion and costume making, Kirsty kept true to realism with every prop and scenery being there for the model to touch. The outcomes are not only breathtaking but the result of up to five months of careful planning and meticulous, hand-made creations by Kirsty herself. For a look at the behind the scenes of Kirsty’s work, click here.
Almost six years later the Wonderland series is still being added to. Wonderland documents a journey, and Kirsty’s design is currently only two photographs away from completing the full series of seventy-eight. One of her most recent photographs, The Last Dance of the Flowers (direct below) included 1,000 fresh purple flowers picked hours before the shoot; a credit to her dedication and imagination. With every prop and costume being made by Kirsty’s hands alone, each photograph has a piece of Kirsty within, with only a make-up artist and a few select individuals supporting each piece to come to life. With the end of the series so near, fans wait with bated breath to see where she will take audiences – and herself – within the last few photographs. In the meantime, Kirsty has documented much of her journey over the last few years within the making of Wonderland which allows a gentle insight into the processes and thoughts behind each picture. For more information on Kirsty and a full exploration of her work, check out her website.