“…for some of the front row at this packed show, it was a joke. One gentleman spent the entire show laughing and hiding his face from the photo pit with his line sheet, while others exchanged barbs privately and cackled audibly. Even four different people were overheard talking about how poorly the women walked because they were bigger women on high heels.”
by Stephanie Hirschmiller
Kirsty Mitchell’s late mother Maureen was an English teacher who spent her life inspiring generations of children with imaginative stories and plays. Following Maureen’s death from a brain tumour in 2008, Kirsty channelled her grief into her passion for photography.
She retreated behind the lens of her camera and created Wonderland, an ethereal fantasy world. The photographic series began as a small summer project but grew into an inspirational creative journey.
‘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,’ said the artist.
‘This escapism grew into the concept of creating an unexplained storybook without words, dedicated to her [my mother], that would echo the fragments of the fairytales she read to me constantly as a child.’
Kirsty, 36, who has a background in fashion and costume design, collaborated with hair and make-up artist Elbie Van Eeden.
Both were in full time jobs so they spent evenings and weekends creating props, wigs, and sets on a shoestring budget and shot in the woodlands surrounding Kirsty’s home in Surrey.
Kirsty developed a deep bond and respect for the locations in which she was working and strove, through her pictures, to ‘remind others of their forgotten magic and beauty’.
She became fascinated with pockets of wild flowers such as the bluebells that would appear for only a few brief weeks of the year. In some cases, she would wait a full 12 months so she could shoot costumes matched to the vivid colours of nature.
‘All the characters came to me in my dreams,’ she explained, but she delighted in the chance to step into the scenes for real: ‘after all, it’s not often you get to stand beside an eight foot princess in the rain, or witness the dawn with a dancing circus girl on stilts!’
The resulting images looked so hyper-real that it was assumed that they were created in Photoshop. Many people believed the photographs were shot all around the world, when in reality they were taken in locations within short drives of her Surrey home.
So Kirsty began to write diary accounts and blog behind-the-scenes shots about the creation of each photograph. ‘My aim was to portray time passing, an unsaid journey through four seasons, incorporating every colour in the rainbow.
As things progressed, her costumes became more elaborate with the props and new characters often taking up to five months to create. ‘The project blossomed into our own private playground,’ she said.
Her three year labour of love is now almost complete and there are plans for an exhibition and accompanying book: ‘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.’
Click here for the article and more of these awesome photos! :D
“I drew this for the illustration-magazine last year.
The concept in the book is “transvestism”.
“Six girls who had disguised themselves as a man” was requested to me by the publisher.
From left to right:suit,street,school,plugugly,garcon,rocker.
Which do you like?:)”
Isn’t is funny how girls can wear boys’ clothes and it’s considered normal and not even transvestism, but change it to boys wearing girls’ clothes? HMM. :/
The clothier H&M is in the news this week and Craita, Ann C., and Marjukka O. all sent in links to the story. It turns out that they are using a mannequin to display their clothes. Nothing new here. Except that the mannequins are appearing on their website (instead of their brick-and-mortar stores) and they are photoshopping heads of real models onto the figure and changing the skin color, giving it the illusion of being a real person.
This is actually just…appalling. That they are getting away with this.
The photographs of celebrities and models in fashion advertisements and magazines are routinely buffed with a helping of digital polish. The retouching can be slight — colors brightened, a stray hair put in place, a pimple healed. Or it can be drastic — shedding 10 or 20 pounds, adding a few inches in height and erasing all wrinkles and blemishes, done using Adobe’s Photoshop software, the photo retoucher’s magic wand.
“Fix one thing, then another and pretty soon you end up with Barbie,” said Hany Farid, a professor of computer science and a digital forensics expert at Dartmouth.
And that is a problem, feminist legislators in France, Britain and Norway say, and they want digitally altered photos to be labeled. In June, the American Medical Association adopted a policy on body image and advertising that urged advertisers and others to “discourage the altering of photographs in a manner that could promote unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image.”
Dr. Farid said he became intrigued by the problem after reading about the photo-labeling proposals in Europe. Categorizing photos as either altered or not altered seemed too blunt an approach, he said.
Dr. Farid and Eric Kee, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Dartmouth, are proposing a software tool for measuring how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered, a 1-to-5 scale that distinguishes the infinitesimal from the fantastic. Their research is being published this week in a scholarly journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Their work is intended as a technological step to address concerns about the prevalence of highly idealized and digitally edited images in advertising and fashion magazines. Such images, research suggests, contribute to eating disorders and anxiety about body types, especially among young women.
The Dartmouth research, said Seth Matlins, a former talent agent and marketing executive, could be “hugely important” as a tool for objectively measuring the degree to which photos have been altered. He and his wife, Eva Matlins, the founders of a women’s online magazine, Off Our Chests, are trying to gain support for legislation in America. Their proposal, the Self-Esteem Act, would require photos that have been “meaningfully changed” to be labeled.
As a former graphic design major, I concur that this or other proactive steps need to be taken. Retouching has gotten absolutely out of control and is actually harming our youth. I’m not having it.