KIRSTY MITCHELL was born in 1976 and raised in the English county of Kent. Growing up art became her sole passion. She studied until she was 25, taking courses in the history of art, photography, fine art, and then on to train in ‘costume for film and theatre’ at the London College of Fashion. She have worked full time as a fashion designer for a global designer brand, until in 2007 when personal illness brought a sudden change in her life, and led her to pick up a camera.
The Wonderland Project began in the summer of 2009 and has now been running for almost 3 years. The project was inspired of a memory of her mother Maureen, an English teacher, who died 7 months before in November 2008.
In her website, she explain the story behind Wonderland Project :
In the months that followed real life became a difficult place to deal with, and I found myself retreating further into an alternative existence through the portal of my camera. This escapism grew into the concept of creating an unexplained storybook without words, dedicated to her, that would echo the fragments of the fairytales she read to me constantly as a child. Originally it began as a small idea in the form of just a few shoots that would span the summer, but nothing prepared me for the emotional journey it became.
The series was the first time in my life I had found a vehicle to incorporate all aspects of my creative training into one form. It became a melting pot of my backgrounds in fashion design and costume making, as well as my passion for art history, film, and the English countryside. I chose my local landscape as our setting, and searched for areas of natural wonder, which could convey my feeling that despite its theatrical inhabitants, Wonderland was in fact real…. and all around us. Overtime I had developed a deep bond and respect for the locations in which I worked, and hoped that through my pictures I could remind others of their forgotten magic and beauty.
It has been a roller coaster of emotion, and an enormous amount of effort, but now (finally) Wonderland is in it final stages, with its completion planned for the end of the summer 2012. There is still a great deal to be done, but for the first time in 3 years the end is almost in sight. At the point of writing this I still don’t know what the future holds, I just know that the day I see my mother’s name printed on the inside cover of the Wonderland book, it will feel like I have finally fulfilled my promise to myself…. and her precious memory.