Fallen Princesses Photo Series Paints a Bleak Picture of ‘Happily Ever After’


What happens when “and then they lived happily ever after” is replaced with something more akin to “and then reality reared its ugly head?” That’s the question photographer Dina Goldstein asked in her award-winning photo series Fallen Princesses.

Fallen Princesses does away with the standard dreamy fairytale ending by placing the heroines of childhood tales in real-life scenarios that “articulate her conflict.” In other words, the most tragically realistic and appropriate scenario for that particular princess.

Goldstein was inspired to shoot the series back in 2008. As a new mother, she had plenty of opportunities to witness young girls’ fascination with the Disney Princess ideal. But even though the Disney versions of the fairy tales ran a predictable course to “…happily ever after” a little research revealed that the original Brothers Grimm tales were often closer to “dark and sometimes gruesome.”

“I began to imagine Disney’s perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues,” writes Goldstein. “With limited funds, I began to assemble my series.”

Here’s what turned out:










Some of the photos are a harder to stomach than others, and a few pieces have led to a bit of controversy since the series first debuted. For her part, Goldstein says that she “welcome[s] any interpretation of the work even though I disagree with much of it.”

To find out more about the series, the awards it has won and the photographer behind it, head over to the Fallen Princesses website by following this link.

Image credits: Photographs by Dina Goldstein and used with permission.

  • JRG

    Hideous HDR.

  • Todd Gardiner

    I don’t believe any of these images are actually HDR images. The effect is done by lighting and contract/saturation control in photoshop, not HDR processing.

  • VisionDeluxe

    Done before, and done much better. Terrible post work.

  • CrackerJacker

    Paul McCarthy did a much more disturbing version of this at the Park Avenue Armory this summer. Do an image search on McCarthy WS.

  • Guest

    very amateur – terrible post production.

  • megapickels

    This is so old

  • Rudy Bega

    I’d have put Pocohantas in a casino, but whatever.

  • scoobydoo

    old and tired.

  • Leonardo Abreu

    lol… HDR? Where?

  • Byron Mason

    Hideous interpretation

  • Libby Stack

    Some costumes and some crappy photoshop along with lighting mismatches. Really PetaP?

  • David Somerset

    This is so 5 years ago…

  • Rabi Abonour

    What’s the point of posting a 5 year old mediocre series? Even if the concept was original five years ago (which I don’t know that it was), the execution is inexcusably sloppy.

  • Oh well

    I know, it’s weird this site can be so current yet so behind some times. ?

  • Vin Weathermon

    They are creative and easy to remember, which is why we are all saying they are five years old….not new, but maybe new to Petapixel…

  • JRG

    I meant tone mapping and/or very pushed shadows/highlights.

  • Jack

    Waaaaah not original waaaaaah HDR waaaaaah terrible post. Brilliant, insightful comments from leading experts though. It’s something! :)

  • Adam

    God-awful, plasticy processing. Award-winning, really?

  • Sethjj1975

    Glad to see the internet elite turned out to put PetaPixel in it’s place. Maybe next you could all visit an orphanage and piss on their crayon drawings of the families I’m sure you’ll point out that they’ll most likely never have.

  • David

    While these might be partially ok ideas, it’s just terrible photography.
    Please, petapixel, keep up the quality in your posts.