Kirsty Mitchell Bids a Fond Farewell to Wonderland with Her Most Spectacular Photograph Yet

Five years and 74 truly stunning (not the click-bait type) photographs later, photographer Kirsty Mitchell and the heroine of her story, Katie, are both bidding a fond farewell to Wonderland and everything it has meant to them over the past half-decade.

And while this isn’t the final photograph in the series (two smaller pieces will close out the 5-year labor of love and unmatched artistry) Mitchell describes this photo, dubbed ‘The Fade of Fallen Memories…’, as “the mountaintop I have spent 5 years clawing my way towards.”


It’s appropriate that Katie, the heroine of Mitchell’s Wonderland series through whom the talented photographer has bared so much of her soul over the years, would be the one to close out the adventure. And, as usual, Mitchell’s description far surpasses our ability to paraphrase it.

Here is how she describes the scene in her behind-the-scenes blog post/diary entry about this particular photograph:

“The Fade Of Fallen Memories” is a goodbye, both in the Wonderland story but also within the real world, in my own life. Their parallels intertwined in such a way that it gives me chills, it brings me both happiness and sadness all at once, but above all this photograph is about release…

In Katie’s world, it is the end of her time in Wonderland, the door being the final piece of the puzzle that fits the queen’s key she has carried close to her heart throughout her journey. In my world, it is the metaphor for letting go of the years of grief I have carried with me and taking that final step back towards reality.


The challenges faced in creating this image were huge, perhaps the most daunting Mitchell has yet faced. The door Katie is stepping towards had to be worthy of both Wonderland and Mitchell’s goodbye to it, and Mitchell and her team had to somehow photograph winter and spring in one photo.

The amount of intricate detail captured in this single frame truly boggles the mind, and feels like a fitting crescendo that Mitchell has been working towards for five years. In the video below she gives you a glimpse at the work that went into creating the door that was as important to the scene as Katie herself:

On her blog, Mitchell goes into an immense amount of detail regarding the creation of this piece and, far more importantly, everything that it meant to her.

But if you don’t have the time to read that right now, just watch the behind the scenes video at the top, and pay special attention to the moment about three minutes and thirty-five seconds in when Mitchell hands Katie the key.

“For that brief moment we were connected through our grasp of the key, it was like I was finally meeting her, and letting her go in real life all at once,” writes Mitchell, describing the moment she watched again and again when she saw the video for the first time.

“The key would unlock her next step in life, set her free, just as creating this series has saved me from grief… and now all that was left, was for us to both face our doors and move forward one, last, time…”

(via Fstoppers)

Image credits: Photographs by Kirsty Mitchell

  • BB

    Some people have more time than they have sense.

  • Adam Cross

    yeah, because creating art is completely nonsensical…….

  • Rolling stone

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  • whoopn

    And many more money than sense. These are pretty sweet though so well worth the effort. You realize that Ansel Adams would sometimes spend months on a single image right?

  • Mike

    And your comment is the proof of that.

  • Kynikos

    …”the 5-year labor of love and unmatched artistry”…

    Unmatched artistry? Thanks for saving me the time from taking a trip to any gallery, ever.

  • Eden Wong

    It’s a very nice photograph, but there was nothing unique in terms of props, dressing, SFX, wardrobe, hair/make-up, lighting, etc. This is normal prep and crew support for any nice high-end photo.

  • Benjamin Von Wong

    The difference is that it was all done by a single person.

  • 1000nunsandorphans

    I saw lots of people contributing. Did we watch the same video?

  • Eden Wong

    Not true, Benjamin. Watch the video. There’s an entire support crew involved, same as with any other production this complicated.

  • libbydbone

    my Aunty
    Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • Benjamin Von Wong

    You’ve obviously not followed the journey through – she builds every single piece of costume, prop and such along the way in each one of her complicated photoshoots. She does her shooting, and editing all on her own – sure there are people helping out, her husband and her friends. There are no hoards of designers, grips, gaffers, lighting technicians, digital techs, art directors following her around. These are bare bone projects that isn’t support crew – just friends and family and hours of hard work bringing these concepts to life. It is a completely different ball game.

    Think of it as you calling your friends to help you move in exchange for pizza and beer. Not exactly the same as an entire production crew.

  • Adam Cross

    yes, she has friends help her move things to location etc. but she creates every piece of set/clothing etc by herself. She doesn’t just turn up and snap some photos.

  • Adam Cross

    Benjamin is 100% right.

  • Melanie Myhre

    When I first found Kirsty’s work it was so immaculately done that I assumed she had a huge budget and a professional crew. My first thoughts were that the images were absolutely stunning. I wished with a slight bit of jealousy that I too could have the time and budget for complete creative freedom like that.Then I began to read her blogs, and I realized my first impressions
    were completely wrong. Each blog was more inspiring than the last, and suddenly I realized a new sense of freedom and hope.She was a lot more like me that I imagined and she has inspired my own journey.. Kirsty was virtually unknown when she started,
    she had a very small budget, and she made some very big sacrifices along with a
    huge leap of faith. At first she worked a full time job and created the props and wardrobe with very limited time, and then she quit her job completely even though she had almost no savings. She endured periods of very little sleep, put herself in incredibly uncomfortable situations, and risked everything without knowing it would work or ever go anywhere. All this for the love of her mother who had passed away.
    She created with a sense of dedication that is so
    rarely seen today. She utilized every creative muscle and every problem
    solving bone she could muster, and the result is nothing short of
    iconic. In a world that has become accustomed to instant gratification, it’s easy to give up on something and dismiss it as too difficult. It’s easy to rationalize excuses as to why we can’t do something. If we find enough reasons and excuses then we don’t feel quite so guilty for not trying harder. It’s much easier to say we didn’t know the right people, or we weren’t born with a silver spoon, that to roll up our sleeves and TRY. I ask that you PLEASE take the time to read about the journey of this incredibly brave woman before you pass judgement. Enjoy the beauty of what she has created and find inspiration in it to apply in your own lives. It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself to be creative because her spirit,bravery, and determination can be applied to anyone’s life.Bravo Kirsty and Namaste.

  • Eden Wong

    Thanks or the explanation Benjamin, I didn’t know the back story. Kudos to her.

  • Rolling stone

    Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had.
    Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474
    this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was
    bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to
    tech tab for work detail

    ✒✒✒✒✒✒ JOBS7000.COM


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  • Jordan Butters

    Best reply ever.

  • ajfudge

    I noticed that after many many articles, Petapixel writers now include a disclaimer that something isn’t a click-bait-we-swear thus acknowledging their guilt of abusing superlatives in their headlines so much that the adjectives have lost their meaning on disappointing content. hehe
    I like that Kirsty Mitchell is patient and meticulous. This is one of those things that I would like to try but can’t get myself into because I’m lazy and not that really good yet. So I’ll bookmark this to keep me inspired. Thanks. :)