Kirsty Mitchell

كيرستي ميتشل
柯丝蒂米切尔
קירסטי מיטשל
カースティ·ミッチェル
КИРСТИ МИТЧЕЛЛ

Wonderland series

Kirsty Mitchell  Wonderland series

source: ufunknet

« Wonderland« , une série fascinante de la photographe anglaise Kirsty Mitchell qui nous entraine tel Alice au Pays des merveilles dans un univers coloré et onirique, à la fois poétique et surréaliste. Un monde fantastique magnifique qui rend hommage aux contes de son enfance, mêlant nature et mode dans des compositions imaginées avec finesse et délicatesse…
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source: enkilorg

Kirsty Mitchell nació y se crió en el condado de Kent, UK, también conocido como “El jardín de Inglaterra”. Sus primeros recuerdos son siempre las historias que le leía su madre cuando era niña. Ella era su profesora de inglés y le leía casi todos los días. Ella fue quien le inculcó el regalo más precioso que una madre puede ofrecer, su imaginación y su creencia en la belleza. Al crecer, el arte se convirtió en su única pasión. Estudió hasta que cumplió los 25, realizando cursos de historia del arte, fotografía, bellas artes, y luego entrenando en “vestuario” para cine y teatro en el London College of Fashion.

Después de graduarse trabajó por un corto periodo de tiempo en la industria, decidiendo continuar con su educación y volviendo a la universidad donde completará un grado de primera clase con honores en diseño de moda en Ravensbourne en el verano del 2001. Durante ese tiempo realiza dos prácticas en los estudios de diseño de Alexander McQueen y Hussein Chalayan, que tendrán un gran efecto en ella. Desde entonces ha trabajado a tiempo completo como diseñadora de moda para una marca de diseño global, hasta que en 2007, cuando una enfermedad personal trajo un repentino cambio en su persona, decidió coger una cámara.

Descubrir el trabajo de Kirsty Mitchell ha sido sin duda un grato placer. Sus retratos, autorretratos y lugares que encontramos en sus distintas galerías ya nos transmiten fuertes emociones, aunque sin duda es su serie Wonderland la que nos hará rendirnos a la creatividad, el talento y la belleza que consigue transmitirnos la artista, una serie que empezaría en el 2009 y que todavía no ha dado por finalizada, ni queremos que lo haga, pues cada nueva aportación es un suma y sigue a todo ese “país de las maravillas” que con tan buen criterio sabe crear para deleite del espectador. A Kirsty Mitchell también la podemos seguir en Flickr y en su página de Facebook.

Wonderland es una galería con formato de cuento de hadas. Como ella misma dice, sería “el lugar donde cualquier cosa puede pasar” Con trajes de elaboración propia y colores expresivos, Kirsty hace todo lo posible para lograr el aspecto y la escena apropiada. Algunas escenas pueden llegar a requerir una espera de meses para captar las flores que florecen en temporadas concretas y que solo duran un par de semanas. Los personajes que crea son imaginarios aunque el entorno es real. Esta búsqueda de la perfección la conduce a una obra impresionante a la que está totalmente sometida, trabajando 7 días a la semana y dejándola agotada. Kirsty busca siempre la iluminación natural con reflectores, y uno de sus herramientas principales de trabajo es una escalera. La escenografía y el vestuario, como ya hemos dicho, son piezas claves en sus creaciones.

Wonderland se originó como un concepto más pequeño del que ha acabado siendo. Inicialmente pensada para realizar durante un verano, se acabó transformando en un ciclo que abarcara las 4 estaciones y cubriera todos los colores del arco iris. Con sesiones de hasta tres meses de duración, la serie continúa en proceso, aunque se acerca a su fin. La belleza de las imágenes de Kirsty compensa la triste y melancólica biografía de la propia artista. Sin duda todo un ejemplo de superación y de fe en sus pasiones y sus sueños. “La determinación es la clave -dice Kirsty- No te compares con los demás y trata de encontrar tu propia identidad y tu pasión. Si la puedes visualizar, vas a llegar a ella, de alguna forma. Basta con empujar sus límites y no rendirse nunca”

“No me puedo explicar como sucedió esto -cuenta Kirsty-, pero nació una nueva necesidad, profunda y genuina. Podría decir que nunca había tenido realmente una “visión”, hasta que utilicé una lente… la vida era diferente, más bella, más triste, y extrema en muchos sentidos de la palabra. La gente importaba, como se sentaban, como dormían, como se veían cuando pensaban que a nadie más le importaba. Me enamoré de las caras de los extraños, y la fotografía me dió un nuevo propósito… es decir, Hasta marzo del 2008.”

“Por desgracia mi madre fue diagnosticada con un tumor cerebral, y mi mundo se vino abajo. La fotografía se convirtió en mi única salida cuando ya no podía hablar de como me sentía. Me perdí en los retratos callejeros, centrándome en aquellos que reflejaban mi propia tristeza y pérdida. Más tarde la cámara se volvió hacia mi interior, y comencé a fotografiarme a mi misma durante el año más difícil de mi vida. Se convirtió en una fantasía absoluta que bloqueaba el mundo real, y un lugar donde yo podía regresar a mis recuerdos de ella, lejos de las paredes de los hospitales.”

“Murió en noviembre del 2008 y fue entonces cuando me envolvió la fotografía, convirtiéndose en una pasión arrolladora que yo no podía parar. Me encontré produciendo piezas que se hacían eco de los recuerdos de sus historias, y la creencia en el milagro que siempre había creído desde niña. Combinando mis variados orígenes, ahora creaba imágenes donde todo estaba diseñado y producido por mi misma, y a veces con la ayuda de algunos amigos. Los trajes, accesorios, conjuntos, son una parte vital del proceso que finalmente se plasma en el producto terminado de la fotografía. Es impulsado por la necesidad de producir piezas del material de mis sueños, y hacer posible el paso a las escenas de verdad.”

“Esta creación física es mi parte favorita, y me ha llevado a lugares que nunca habría conocido. He caminado sobre la nieve cubierta de flores, he estado en lagos a la puesta del sol, he pintado árboles, prendido fuego a sillas, sombrillas fumadoras y gigantescas pelucas de flores robadas. Me he reído, me han abrumado y he dejado el temor a todas las cosas que me habían pasado previamente. La vida se ha convertido en un lugar diferente, “una segunda oportunidad” es tal vez la única manera de describirlo, y por eso estoy muy agradecida. He hecho que mis ojos se abran, y no importa lo triste que sea el origen de todo esto. Siempre recordaré el hecho de que este despertar pequeño y precioso ha sucedido”
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source: telegraph

There is nothing as comforting as a childhood bedtime story but with my mother it was a little different. She didn’t always wait until bedtime.
The moment I came through the door after school she would call me over to where she was sitting with a pile of books and say: “Look at what I’ve found! This is amazing.”
Then she would start reading aloud. I would put down my bag and sit and listen to her, slowly falling under the spell of the story.

She used to collect beautifully illustrated old editions of unusual tales from European folklore. Often the tales were dark and mysterious – not your typical “happily ever after” stories. Books such as Moonlight and Fairyland, eerily illustrated by Brighton artist Pauline Martin and The Kingdom Under the Sea illustrated by the Polish draughtsman Jan Pienkowski fascinated me and lodged firmly in my mind.
It wasn’t just me who heard my mother read aloud. She was an English teacher for more than 30 years, adored by everyone. Kids would fight to be in her class. Her gift to me – and to the generations of children she taught – was the joy and beauty of story-telling. That was her legacy.

Seven years ago, in 2008, my mum died in France to where she had only recently retired. She had called me to say she was seeing double, then the doctors found a brain tumour. After that she declined terrifyingly quickly. There wasn’t even time to bring her home for treatment.
Her funeral was tiny. There were just 15 people there, mostly family and a few friends.
If it had been in the UK she would have had all those generations of children whose lives she had touched. It would have been a wonderful celebration of an inspiring person. Instead it was a dreadful, quiet, shocked goodbye in a small village in France.

Returning to England, I struggled greatly. We had been incredibly close. I felt like a kite cut from its string.
To blot out the memory of her days in hospital, I found myself thinking back to the time when she used to read to me – that brilliant, warm connection – and started to trace copies of those childhood books.
When they arrived, they always seemed so much smaller than I remember but the illustrations were as vivid as ever. When a favourite edition of The Snow Queen, illustrated by Errol Le Cain, arrived in the post it struck me that the illustrations were works of art in their own right. Looking at the pages was like a going through a portal back to being with her.
That was where it all began.
I wanted to do something to celebrate what she had most cared about – telling a story through words and art.

At the time I was working as a fashion designer, but photography was my hobby. I wanted to try to capture the essence of some of the stories we had shared. I’d describe my pieces as hybrids of memories, book illustrations and dreams set in real locations. The series came to be called “Wonderland”.
I would find myself waking up with a “vision”: a completely finished, perfect idea in my head. I’ve never struggled to invent scenes or stories. The difficult part is recreating that first inspiration as faithfully as I possibly can.
In the early days, it was cathartic and life-changing to block out my grief and go to the woods and create a beautiful, magic world miles away from anyone.
Because mum died in another country and was cremated, there was no gravestone to visit. There wasn’t even the house where I’d grown up in Kent because my parents had sold it when they moved to France. There was nowhere I could go and feel close to her.
But in the woodlands and hills, on a shoot, often it would feel like she was there with us.

The English weather has no respect for gorgeous costumes. There are photographs where it was meant to be sunny, but it had chucked with rain all day.
Whatever the weather, I never cancel a shoot. It’ll be pounding with rain and I’ll look at the sky and joke: ‘Thanks a lot Mum!’
And then you get home and look at the picture and it’s perfect.
When I first started sharing the photos online, it was a real battle to convince people they were real. Everyone thought they’d been faked with a computer. They all cried: ‘Photoshop!’
They didn’t think anyone could be stupid enough to spend 5 months on each photograph as I often do.
Sometimes it takes longer even than that.
I once stumbled on the most jaw-dropping location – a bluebell wood. But of course bluebells disappear in two weeks. We waited an entire year to go back.
At first I could only really afford to devote a month to each photograph. I was still working in fashion and only had time for photography in the evenings and at weekend. But as I became more and more immersed in the project, I realised that this was what I wanted to do. I never felt the same rush of adrenaline and excitement sitting at my desk as I felt in the woods.
I can’t quite believe it looking back, but I walked away from my highly-paid fashion design job in 2011 in the middle of the recession. I’d worked for major labels and now here I was selling my clothes on eBay to pay for paint and props.

My photographs – all 74 of them in the Wonderland series – have all been put together on a shoestring. I’ll traipse around looking for props and bargain with people. I make the costumes, the wigs, everything.
I’ve taught myself how to make icicles from resin and set up a scene among a thousand wild rhododendrons.
I am obsessive, perfectionist, even to the point of insanity.
You want people to fall into the image, to utterly believe it.
Some critics have said my models are “weird” or “strange” or complained that they’re not conventionally pretty. I’m not interested in that.
As the series became more successful – we now have more than 300,000 fans on Facebook and the photographs have been exhibited in Milan, Amsterdam, London and South Korea – I was approached by major modelling agencies from Paris. But I always felt that if someone looked at one of my photographs and said “that’s a nice, pretty picture of a girl with flowers,” I would feel I had failed.
And these aren’t fashion shoots. The girls have to be prepared to go through hell and high water.
I always sit them down and say: “Are you prepared for this? For standing for five hours on a block, with your hair wired to a tree, weighed down with an enormous dress, with nothing to eat and no loo break?”
Then they get through it and say they want to do more.

The most difficult shoot I have ever done was for a photograph called The Queen’s Armada. One of my great childhood heroines was Elizabeth I and I wanted to create an image that drew on imagery from Elizabethan England and from The Kingdom Under the Sea.
I wanted to shoot on water and so we had to build a hidden, under-water platform for the model to stand on. Every single part of her elaborate costume and ruff were hand-made, including the dress, which was assembled from 240 Chinese wooden fans.

But it was the Armada of boats that proved most daunting.
The eight boats were made from laser-cut steel. It took five months to perfect the prototype and twenty-four hours to program the machines in the workshop.
The machinists all knew my mum had been the inspiration for the project and one of the men operating the machinery told me that he too had just lost his mother. As the steel-cutting machines whirred, a tiny cut-out of a mermaid fell from the ship. He picked it up and handed it to me.
It was perhaps the most poignant moment of that exhausting, wonderful shoot. I was 33 at the time, yet here was a tangible piece of a memory of my mum from when I was perhaps just six-years-old, sitting and listening to her read one of her magical, transporting stories.
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source: artliteratureandfairytales

Kirsty Mitchell é uma talentosa fotógrafa britânica de 38 anos que produziu ‘wonderland‘, um ensaio fotográfico inspirado nas histórias que sua mãe – professora e contadora de histórias – narrava!

Kirsty perdeu sua mãe em 2008 que lutava contra um tumor cerebral. Para manter sua memória sempre viva, a fotógrafa resolveu trazer para a realidade – através de suas fotos – o mundo narrado por ela.

Kirsty já trabalhou como designer senior para marcas como Alexander McQueen e Hussein Chalayan! Após a morte de sua mãe, dedicou-se inteiramente à confecção de fantasias e asas para a produção de ‘Wonderland’ que vocês terão o prazer de ver agora!

My aim was to portray time passing, an unsaid journey through four seasons, incorporating every colour in the rainbow.
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source: livemasterru

Английский фантастический фотограф Кирсти Митчелл (Kirsty Mitchell) родилась и выросла в графстве Кент, известный многим как «Сад Англии». Ее мать была преподавателем английского языка и страстным рассказчиком и читала сказки маленькой Кирсти почти каждый день. Любимой сказкой матери Митчелл была «Алиса в Стране Чудес». Поэтому воображение и вера в красоту стала у Кирсти Митчелл стержнем в её творчестве, и местом, где она постоянно пытаются черпать вдохновение. Образование она получила в Университете Лондона по направлению история искусства, фотография, изобразительное искусство, костюм для кино и театра, моды и дизайна. Искусство стало ее единственной страстью. Когда ее мать заболела и умерла в ноябре 2008 года, она бросилась в с головой в мир фотографии и начала делать фотографические произведения искусства, которые ей напоминали об историях, которые ей читала мать, когда она была ребенком.
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source: artcoremagazinegr

Ένας μαγικός κόσμος. Θαυμαστοί χαρακτήρες βγαλμένοι από τη φαντασία. Μάγισσες, βασιλιάδες και νεράιδες. Και η Κίρστυ, που ήθελε να λέει παραμύθια. Κι εμείς, που θέλουμε να μαγευτούμε.
εικόνα εξωφύλλου άρθρου (article’s cover image)
«Μια φορά κι έναν καιρό, στο μακρινό Κεντ της Αγγλίας, ένα μέρος με απέραντα δάση και πολύχρωμα λουλούδια, ζούσε μια δασκάλα, η Μορίν. Κάθε μέρα στο σχολείο μάγευε τους μαθητές της με ιστορίες για ανθρώπους, που έζησαν πριν πολλά πολλά χρόνια. Το βράδυ, όταν κοίμιζε την κόρη της, την Κίρστυ, μέσα από τα βιβλία της ζωντάνευαν κάθε λογής πλάσματα και τόποι μυθικοί. Η μικρή Κίρστυ αποκοιμόταν και στον ύπνο της ταξίδευε στους μαγικούς αυτούς τόπους που έμαθε από τη μαμά της.

Τα χρόνια πέρασαν και η Κίρστυ μεγάλωσε. Αφού σπούδασε κι έμαθε πολλά για τις τέχνες, αποφάσισε να φτιάχνει κάθε λογής ρούχα και κοστούμια βγαλμένα από τη φαντασία της, που τόσο την είχε καλλιεργήσει με τις ιστορίες της μαμάς της. Μια μέρα όμως, η μαμά της σταμάτησε να λέει ιστορίες. Η Κίρστυ υπέφερε πολύ από το χαμό της και δεν ήξερε πώς θα μπορούσε να συνεχίσει τη ζωή της, χωρίς τους μαγικούς τόπους που έφτιαχναν μαζί. Έτσι λοιπόν άρχισε να περιπλανιέται στα δάση του Κεντ, ψάχνοντας να βρει από κάπου να πιαστεί, ώστε να αποκτήσει ξανά νόημα η ύπαρξή της.

Στο μυαλό της τριγύριζαν βασιλιάδες και μάγισσες από άλλους τόπους και προσπαθούσε να βρει έναν τρόπο να τους φέρει εδώ, στον δικό μας κόσμο. Άρχισε λοιπόν να φτιάχνει φορέματα, θρόνους, τεράστια καπέλα και στέμματα και με τη βοήθεια των φίλων της, δημιουργούσε έναν έναν, τους αυτούς περίεργους κόσμους και μετά τους φωτογράφιζε. Η δημιουργία καθενός της έπαιρνε μήνες, αλλά η Κίρστυ ήταν υπομονετική, γιατί ήξερε, ότι μόνο έτσι θα μπορούσε να κάνει το παραμύθι πραγματικότητα.

Έτσι ήρθαν στη ζωή η Λευκή Βασίλισσα, η Λευκή Μάγισσα, ο Gammelyn και η κόρη του, η Γαία κι ένα σωρό άλλοι χαρακτήρες, όλοι φερμένοι από τους μαγικούς κόσμους της Κίρστυ. Η κοπέλα συνεχίζει την δημιουργία των φανταστικών αυτών κόσμων και τους αφιέρωνει όλους στην αγαπημένη της μητέρα. Και ζήσαν αυτοί καλά κι εμείς καλύτερα…»
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source: sandroespositowordpress

Kirsty Mitchell ci regala altre stupende immagini che ci portano nel paese delle meraviglie, per gli appassionati di fantasy e non, c’è anche qualche scatto del dietro le quinte dello shooting.
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source: mymodernmet

The last time we wrote about Kirsty Mitchell, she was giving us a rare, behind-the-scenes look at her ongoing series Wonderland. When asked what we could expect from her next she said, “Goodies, baddies, no color, lots of color, props that get bigger and bigger, and bigger along with the costumes, and a magical end.”

After being introduced to the White Queen, the series continues as we presented with a slew of new photos that are, indeed, even more incredible than we could have ever imagined. Kirsty has always maintained that Wonderland is a “storybook without words.” She not only asks us to follow her beautifully woven tale but, more importantly, she wants us to see ourselves in her complicated characters.

“In these new pictures my muse Katie returns (the pale young woman who constantly appears in different forms) – she essentially represents the viewer ‘us’ and her journey through wonderland is our guide to the mood of what is to come next. You can see by the progression of the colours that the mood is darkening, Katie appears asleep, hollow, empty, and the life story of King Gammelyn ends in tragedy. Once again the new characters own a small ship, and just as the King is left broken and miserable, the Queen arrives for a second time in the mist holding out her key. Wonderland has grown dark, and is a far cry from the sunny days and bright garish colours it used to be, and the Queen appears to be having an effect on everyone around her…”

You can read all about each image and the painstaking process it took to create each one on her blog (or what she refers to as her “diary”). The parts I love the most, of course, are when Kirsty really opens up about her life – telling the viewer what each image, personally, means to her.

For example, here’s one my favorite quotes that pertains to the first image, above.

“Anyway, I have been sitting on this shot since August 2011, and finally releasing it now feels like a pressure valve being slowly undone. You see this picture marks the beginning of the end….. it represents Katie’s journey towards the final scenes of the Wonderland, and will very soon lead you (the viewer), to a very beautiful shoot I have been waiting to share for over a year now. Reaching that point will mean I am finally up to date and can at long last create the final 4 big scenes.

“The symbolism in this picture is quite a coincidence because it was intended to lead us away from the darkness of the more recent pictures, by representing Katie’s journey into the light, and yet at the same time ironically mirrors my current situation in real life. For the first time in almost 3 years the end of the series is in sight… my life has changed dramatically after leaving my career in fashion behind, and now for the first time since the project began I am meeting with people to discuss how the series will be brought out of the computer and into real life.

“So many things have been happening, and as scared as I’ve been, the reaction of people towards the pictures has been overwhelming.”

Now, directly from Kirsty herself, enjoy this new set of Wonderland photos along with some great behind-the-scenes shots.