Kirsty Mitchell’s project, Wonderland has been my main inspiration for my project, however Mitchell’s image ‘The White Queen’ was where I took my inspiration from for my Winter photoshoot. It took over five months to create the White Queen images, because there was so much preparation to be done.
The concept of this small project came from a dream that Kirsty had at the beginning of Wonderland. Wonderland was created in memory of Mitchell’s mother, who sadly passed away from a brain tumour and one of the most unusual illustrated books Mitchell and her mother would read together was ‘The Kingdom Under The Sea’. Over months of planning, Mitchell’s mind was full of the idea of paper coming to life. This led to the concept of pop up books, which became entwined with plans to create a fearsome queen who would rule over the darker side to the story of Wonderland.
The character evolved into a paper cut out Queen Elizabeth 1st commanding an Armada Ship. It took Mitchell a total of five months to create the outfit and design the elements of the picture. The queens skirt and collar was made from over 240 wooden fans flown over from China. They were ideal for the costume as they were sculptural, hard, sharp and yet incredibly light. As well as making the costume, Mitchell created all of the accessories to go with it. The necklace and the key prop were made from an eclectic collection of antique items, which were from vintage fairs across 3 different countries over 6 months.
Mitchell spent several weeks looking for her perfect location to shoot at, however she came across a little ornamental island on a fishing lake. It was not too deep and was shallow enough to build an underwater platform for the model to stand on. As Kirsty was shooting outside she had to hope the weather would be on her side, especially as the shoot was during October. The set up alone, took a crazy five hours, wading through water, trying to reposition the ships and the light was going fast.