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Kirsty Mitchell is a British fine art photographer and multi-faceted artist who draws on her past careers in fashion design and costume making, to produce images of beguiling dream-like worlds. Her work is entirely real, taking months to meticulously hand make the costumes, props and sets.

Kirsty began her higher education at the age of 16 studying fine art, photography and history of art. At 19 she specialised in ‘Costume for Performance’ at the London College of Fashion, gaining a Higher National Diploma with Distinction. Kirsty went on to train at Ravensbourne College of Art for a further 3 years achieving a First Class Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours in fashion design and textiles . During this time she interned at the studios of the British avant garde designers Alexander McQueen (1999 – 2000) and Hussein Chalayan (2000-2001), she graduated in 2001 at the age of 25.

Kirsty spent the next decade working as a fashion designer, specialising in surface decoration and fabric manipulation, learning in depth the crafts of beading and embroidery whilst spending time in India and China. During this period at the age of 32, Kirsty rediscovered her passion for photography and began a new and deeply emotional connection with the medium throughout the treatment of her mother’s terminal cancer in 2008.

Following the tragic loss of her mother, Kirsty immersed herself deeper into photography to help deal with her overwhelming grief, and in the summer of 2009 embarked on her now revered 5 year series entitled ‘Wonderland’.

Kirsty describes the project as a therapy, an alternative existence filled with fantasy, sadness and longing; inspired by the faded memories of the books her mother Maureen had read to her as a child, imbued with the pain of her adult grief. Over time it evolved into an autobiographical journey, where the protagonist Katie mirrored Kirsty’s emotional state in the real world. The scenes are entirely real, true scale and took months for Kirsty to hand make all the costumes and props, which were then assembled out in the English landscape.

inspired by the faded memories of the books her mother Maureen had read to her as a child, imbued with the pain of her adult grief.

Following the tragic loss of her mother, Kirsty immersed herself deeper into photography to help deal with her overwhelming grief, and in the summer of 2009 embarked on her now revered 5 year series entitled ‘Wonderland’.

Kirsty describes the project as a therapy, an alternative existence filled with fantasy, sadness and longing; inspired by the faded memories of the books her mother Maureen had read to her as a child, imbued with the pain of her adult grief. Over time it evolved into an autobiographical journey, where the protagonist Katie mirrored Kirsty’s emotional state in the real world. The scenes are entirely real, true scale and took months for Kirsty to hand make all the costumes and props, which were then assembled out in the English landscape.

As the series grew, it developed a global fan base of over 450,000 followers online, resulting in the photographs achieving a viral status and extensive international media coverage. The acclaim for her work and escalating demands of the project led Kirsty to finally leave her fashion career behind at the end of 2011, to commit her future to the completion of the collection and producing the Wonderland book.

As the series grew, it developed a global fan base of over 450,000 followers online, resulting in the photographs achieving a viral status and extensive international media coverage. The acclaim for her work and escalating demands of the project led Kirsty to finally leave her fashion career behind at the end of 2011, to commit her future to the completion of the collection and producing the Wonderland book.

In 2015 despite a number of offers from publishers, Kirsty decided to launch her own Kickstarter campaign to self publish the Wonderland book in collaboration with renowned British book designer Stuart Smith.

The project was launched on September 9th, 2015 and has since become the most funded photobook campaign in crowdfunding history, a title it still holds to this day. It closed at almost 500% funded – a total of £334k, with backers from all over the world supporting the book.

As the series grew, it developed a global fan base of over 450,000 followers online, resulting in the photographs achieving a viral status and extensive international media coverage. The acclaim for her work and escalating demands of the project led Kirsty to finally leave her fashion career behind at the end of 2011, to commit her future to the completion of the collection and producing the Wonderland book.

In 2015 despite a number of offers from publishers, Kirsty decided to launch her own Kickstarter campaign to self publish the Wonderland book in collaboration with renowned British book designer Stuart Smith.

The project was launched on September 9th, 2015 and has since become the most funded photobook campaign in crowdfunding history, a title it still holds to this day. It closed at almost 500% funded – a total of £334k, with backers from all over the world supporting the book.

The success of the campaign enabled Kirsty to create the book she had always dreamt of for her mother, made from the highest quality materials, printed in Italy at one of the most best book factories in the world. The resulting huge volume contained over 640 photographs, featuring all 74 pieces in the Wonderland collection, as well as extensive behind the scenes imagery from the shoots and costume galleries of the pieces made by Kirsty. Most importantly for her, alongside the photographs, the book contained the deeply personal journal written by Kirsty throughout the duration of Wonderland, which documents the creation and meaning of the works, as well as her emotional journey through grief.

The success of the campaign enabled Kirsty to create the book she had always dreamt of for her mother, made from the highest quality materials, printed in Italy at one of the most best book factories in the world. The resulting huge volume contained over 640 photographs, featuring all 74 pieces in the Wonderland collection, as well as extensive behind the scenes imagery from the shoots and costume galleries of the pieces made by Kirsty. Most importantly for her, alongside the photographs, the book contained the deeply personal journal written by Kirsty throughout the duration of Wonderland, which documents the creation and meaning of the works, as well as her emotional journey through grief.

The First Edition sold out almost immediately in January 2016 and so, due to overwhelming public demand a Second Edition of the Wonderland book was published in December 2016 with a new elaborate cover designed by Kirsty. The Limited Edition boxed set of the First Edition was also awarded an honourable mention in the Professional Fine Art Book category at the 2016 annual International Photography Awards. The competition is judged by some of the most important gallerists and art critics in contemporary photography today.

The book has since continued its extraordinary success with the Third Edition released in December 2021. This edition has most recently won Silver for the ‘Fine Art Book – Professional category’ at Budapest International Foto Awards 2022.

The First Edition sold out almost immediately in January 2016 and so, due to overwhelming public demand a Second Edition of the Wonderland book was published in December 2016 with a new elaborate cover designed by Kirsty. The Limited Edition boxed set of the First Edition was also awarded an honourable mention in the Professional Fine Art Book category at the 2016 annual International Photography Awards. The competition is judged by some of the most important gallerists and art critics in contemporary photography today.

The book has since continued its extraordinary success with the Third Edition released in December 2021. This edition has most recently won Silver for the ‘Fine Art Book – Professional category’ at Budapest International Foto Awards 2022.

Making the New Series: ‘Quiescence’

inspired by her pregnancy, the creation of life in the womb, birth and then abruptly switches to the darker subject of mortality, cancer and finally her recovery

Making the New Series: ‘Quiescence’

inspired by her pregnancy, the creation of life in the womb, birth and then abruptly switches to the darker subject of mortality, cancer and finally her recovery

In 2019 after a year of planning, Kirsty began shooting her ambitious new series ‘Quiescence’ which is based on the events in her personal life between 2015 – 2017; during which time she gave birth to her only child Finch, and 8 months later was diagnosed with breast cancer. It will be split into 3 chapters, inspired by her pregnancy, the creation of life in the womb, birth and then abruptly switches to the darker subject of mortality, cancer and finally her recovery in the wild garden of her new home in the countryside. Just like Wonderland, it will be translated into a fantastical tale, but based on some very painful real life events.

Kirsty describes the project as an even greater undertaking than Wonderland, as the photographs will also be accompanied by fine art films of each scene. The production level is far beyond her earlier work, with some of the sets having taken an entire year to make. It is expected to be several years in its creation, with the first pieces due to be previewed at a large scale in June 2024 in Sweden.

Kirsty is now thankfully 7 years clear of her breast cancer and after 5 years struggling with her hormone therapy, she is at last off all treatment. She lives and works in the Surrey countryside with her husband Matthew and their young son Finch. In recent years Matthew’s role has evolved greatly into becoming the producer of ‘Quiescence’ with Kirsty as its director. Together they now work as a husband and wife team, building the sets together and work tightly in unison to capture the images on location.

In 2019 after a year of planning, Kirsty began shooting her ambitious new series ‘Quiescence’ which is based on the events in her personal life between 2015 – 2017; during which time she gave birth to her only child Finch, and 8 months later was diagnosed with breast cancer. It will be split into 3 chapters, inspired by her pregnancy, the creation of life in the womb, birth and then abruptly switches to the darker subject of mortality, cancer and finally her recovery in the wild garden of her new home in the countryside. Just like Wonderland, it will be translated into a fantastical tale, but based on some very painful real life events.

Kirsty describes the project as an even greater undertaking than Wonderland, as the photographs will also be accompanied by fine art films of each scene. The production level is far beyond her earlier work, with some of the sets having taken an entire year to make. It is expected to be several years in its creation, with the first pieces due to be previewed at a large scale in June 2024 in Sweden.

Kirsty is now thankfully 7 years clear of her breast cancer and after 5 years struggling with her hormone therapy, she is at last off all treatment. She lives and works in the Surrey countryside with her husband Matthew and their young son Finch. In recent years Matthew’s role has evolved greatly into becoming the producer of ‘Quiescence’ with Kirsty as its director. Together they now work as a husband and wife team, building the sets together and work tightly in unison to capture the images on location.

Kirsty’s new series Quiescence began in 2019, and is due for release in 2024

Artist Interviews

As featured in…

Awards & Accolades

Budapest International Foto Awards – Silver for the Fine Art Book Award – Professional category 2022
ND Photography Awards – ‘Wonderland’ – 3rd Place in Professional Fine Art: Conceptual category 2022
ND Photography Awards – ‘Minna’ – Honourable Mention : Professional Portraiture category 2022
International Photography Awards -‘Honourable Mention’ Fine Art Book Category 2016
Nikon UK Ambassador for Fine Art 2013 – 2016
Kickstarter Most Funded Photobook / Photography campaign ever – the Wonderland Book raised £334k in 28 days – 2015
Grand Prize Winner of the Visual Storytelling, Fictional Narrative Award – LensCulture 2014
London International Creative Competition 2014 – Award Winning Finalist – Professional Photography category
International Photography Awards 2014 – ‘Honorable Mention’ Fine Art Portraiture Category
International Photography Awards 2013 -‘Honorable Mention’ Fine Art Category
Winner of Best Conceptual Photographer 2012 – Framed Awards
London International Creative Competition 2012 – ‘Honourable Mention’ Photography – Professional category
Winner of Regent Street Queens Jubilee award June 2012
Finalist for Exposure photography award Jan 2012
Finalist for One Life Photography award Oct 2011
Finalist for One Life Photography award Jan 2011

Galleries

UpOnWalls
Långgatan 2
54430 Hjo
Sweden
+46703757787
www.uponwalls.com

Tres Hombres Art
Tylöhusvägen 28
302 73 Halmstad
Sweden
+46 (0)733-60 06 69
www.treshombresart.com

Picture This Gallery
St.Paulsgatan 29
118 48 Stockholm
Sweden
+46 (0)736549272
www.picturethis.art

Coe and Co Gallery
217 Royal Poinciana Way
Palm Beach, Florida
US
508-680-4143
www.coeandcogallery.com

UpOnWalls
Långgatan 2
54430 Hjo
Sweden
+46703757787
www.uponwalls.com

Tres Hombres Art
Tylöhusvägen 28
302 73 Halmstad
Sweden
+46 (0)733-60 06 69
www.treshombresart.com

Picture This Gallery
St.Paulsgatan 29
118 48 Stockholm
Sweden
+46 (0)736549272
www.picturethis.art

Coe and Co Gallery
217 Royal Poinciana Way
Palm Beach, Florida
US
508-680-4143
www.coeandcogallery.com