BTS with Kirsty Mitchell as She Begins the Final Chapter of Her Wonderland Series

We first shared the jaw-dropping fairytale photographs that make up Kirsty Mitchell‘s Wonderland series in May of 2012, some three years after she began her journey and just as her work was going so viral online that her reply to our request to feature her work was a “yes” followed by a “thank goodness I upgraded my servers!”

Now, four and a half years after she began Wonderland as a tribute to her mother who had recently passed away, she has officially embarked on what she is calling the final chapter in her Wonderland series.

Although the series hasn’t ended, the photograph you see her taking in the above video — which was put together by FX Media — is the “beginning of the end” so to speak. Appropriately, it is titled “Gaia, The Birth Of An End.”

We share this with you for two reasons: first, if you’ve never seen the Wonderland series you are in for a photographic treat that is ridiculously hard (if not impossible) to beat. And second, this is the first we’ve had an opportunity to take you behind the scenes of one of Kirsty’s Shoots.

Here’s a look at the final shot:


Truth be told we could we could wax eloquent for paragraphs on end about how amazing Mitchell’s work is and how intricate and all around stunning this particular piece is. But there’s no need, as she has already done it for us. In a detailed BTS blog post that went live with this video she explains the meaning behind the photo:

I named this first portrait ‘Gaia, The Birth of An End’, as it’s about the last seen character ‘Gaia’s’ transition from a mortal to her true goddess form. I named her after the Greek equivalent of our Mother Earth, and this picture represents her incarnation, (birth) surrounded by an explosion of vibrating, shimmering energy.

Her character affects everything … as she changes so too will the landscape, creating a butterfly effect that sets in motion the end of the story. It was heavily influenced by how I see the human spirit; after losing my mother people often ask me what I imagine comes afterwards, and my only answer is my belief in an endless energy, the circle I feel we are all a part of.

My mother is with me always, she is the earth … the rain, the wind in my hair as I walk to work. The body may cease, but I feel the vibrations of people continue, like ripples from a stone cast in a lake, and it was this power of spirit that I have tried to express within the picture.

To dive into detail regarding the handmade headdress, the inspiration behind many of the different aspects of the photo, and what this first step towards “the end” of Wonderland means for her, we highly recommend you check out her full behind the scenes blog post by clicking here.

And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to visit our previous coverage and marvel at the beauty of some of Mitchell’s other Wonderland creations.

(via DIY Photography)

Image credits: Photograph by Kirsty Mitchell

  • Anh Tu Nguyen

    Kirsty is simply awesome! This is one of the reason why i got into photography in the first place.

  • gene

    These are amazing! was the final image shot with strobes or constant light?

  • WKYA_Radio

    im so jealous (a little). ill keep on working hard to get a studio so i can have the place and time to create things like this.

  • Alexander Petricca

    I have just been blown away.

  • Pete Ferling

    An awesome and inspiring work.

  • Pete Ferling

    You don’t need a studio, any size able room in your house will do, (although 10′ ceilings will help). If you notice her behind the scenes photos, you’ll see some of that.

    You don’t expensive kit either. Lots of robust, studio quality gear can be found on ebay. While I’ve used Bowen kit. I still use my Balcar Jet packs (very expensive when new and the Company tanked), but used stuff can be found in working condition for a fraction of the cost. A second would Speedotron. I know some pros whom still use them, they won’t impress clients like Bowens, but good enough for personal and creative works.

    So, don’t let simple logistics stand the the way of inspiration. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth the challenge, correct?

  • WKYA_Radio

    Totally agree. I spent the summer getting a decent small studio gear set up. Since I have a day job that’s not photography, its been tough trying to partner up with other creatives.

    So for me now its getting the personel – models, lights, props..that’s the hurdle to dodge. Learning lighting is brutal but awesome. But ill do it, because I must.

  • Adi Marwan

    LED constant lights, 1 lower right, 1 upper right. U can see the positioning of the lights in the video. =)

  • Leif Sikorski

    Beautiful work, except the make-up, nails and skin retouching. In my humble opinion this doesn’t fit the ancient style of the dress at all.

  • Jeffrey Klaum

    Very inspiring and awesome. Time for me to get to work ;)

  • Rick Popham

    I’ve been following this series via the PetaPixel posts and I’ve been floored by Kirsty’s vision, attention to detail and perseverance in bringing her vision to completion.

    I’ve found the whole process fascinating, but as a gearhead, I’m a little confused about the timeline of this “last” photo. Kirsty mentions in her blog that this shoot was the first time she used the Nikon D800E – or any Nikon, for that matter. Yet the video of Gaia, posted months ago, clearly shows her using the Nikon, and I saw her using it (and the 24/f1.4, I believe) on another earlier video. Maybe the the timeiine has more to do with the completion of post processing to finish the photo rather than the actual shoot?