Working as senior designer at a global fashion brand until 2007, personal illness brought on a sudden inexplicable need to pick up a camera for Kirsty Mitchell. Kirsty believes she never truly saw until the moment she looked through a lens. Whilst falling in newly found love with the faces, places and spaces that surrounded her, tragically her mother was diagnosed with a brain tumour in March 2008. After losing her to the disease in November of the same year, Kirsty used her photography to retreat from the real world.
The ‘Wonderland’ series (2009-2013) is the stunning project that emerged out of this period. Incredibly intricate and imaginative, Wonderland’s photographs draw upon Kirsty’s background in art, fashion and design, with all scenes created in her home county of Kent, known to many as ‘the garden of England’. Inspired by the stories her mother once told her, Kirsty left her formal fashion career behind her to pursue the Wonderland series and photography full time in 2011.
Having studied Costume for Performance at London College of Fashion and interned with designers such as Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan, the theatrical element of fashion is ever present in her photographs. All props, costumes, accessories and concepts are still designed and created by the photographer. The physical creation of each scene eventually became her favourite part, bringing together weeks and sometimes months of work in order to capture the perfect image. The talent and hard work required to do so is evident in everything she creates.
Producing tangible pieces of her own dreams, Kirsty has now rekindled her passion for life, having laughed, been overwhelmed and left in awe of all the things which had previously been left unseen. Having embarked on so many magical scenarios in order to capture her fantasy, her own reality has given her something to be truly grateful for.
For more information, please visit the Kirsty Mitchell website.
Words by Olivia Cooley. Images courtesy of Kirsty Mitchell.