Wonderland at Mead Carney Gallery
We all have our favourite artists and photographers whose work we adore and revisit their creations time and time again in books and online catalogues; but it’s quite another to get the chance to see their work in real life, so I was naturally incredibly excited when I learned that my favourite photographer was going to be exhibiting in London.
I’ve been following Kirsty Mitchell’s photography from more or less the beginning of her breathtaking ‘Wonderland’ series five years ago. I was lucky enough to view her work for the second time, this time at the Mead Carney gallery in Mayfair.
It’s not just the visual extravagance, the sumptuous compositions, exquisite costumes or the vivid colours that burst through the images that make Mitchell’s work so striking and special. For me, it’s the poignancy and sentimentality that strikes a chord and is the soul of her photographs.
‘Wonderland’ was born as a creative outlet for Kirsty Mitchell after the tragic death of her mother in 2008. As a child, Kirsty was always immersed in stories read to her by her mother; she protects and preserves the special connection that they shared through these stories by creating the world that was read to her through a combination of fairy tales, art history, myths and folklore.
As with any art or photography exhibition, different pieces will resonate with others and everyone will form their own favourites. For me personally, the two that connect with me are the hauntingly beautiful ‘Ghost Swift’ and ‘Gammelyn’s Daughter.’
Each of scenes is highly detailed and can be likened to a film set in that an entire alternate world has been created. The soft lighting and lack of gravity, reflected through props such as crafted ships and books, play with our sense of reality and contribute to the surreal atmosphere implicit throughout the series. More incredibly, the sets and costumes have not been given a helping Photoshop hand, which makes the photographs all the more magical.
Having interned at the studios of Alexander McQueen and been a senior designer at Karen Millen for ten years, Kirsty’s designs all the tailor-made intricate costumes. The elaborate designs and impact of the evocative costumes convey the sentiment within each photograph and lend an element of high fashion to the fantasy.
‘Wonderland’ draws you into a whimsical world that promises magic and is full of fairy tales. Bursting with fantasy and dreams, the striking images have the power to transport you from the everyday into another land – the ‘Wonderland’.
Since the series was completed in November 2014, ‘Wonderland’ immediately won two international awards and has been featured in numerous publications such as Vogue Italia, Harper’s Bazaar and The Guardian to name a few.
After the exhibition in London, the series will travel to Mead Carney’s second gallery in Porto Montenegro where it will be on display from 5th July – 20th September 2015
Images reproduced with prior permission and courtesy of the Mead Carney Gallery.