Creating Wonderland

Kirsty Mitchell’s Self-Published Kickstarter Book “Wonderland” Breaks Records, Drawing Her 6 Yearlong Project to a Close

Film campaign image
What started as a way of coming to terms with the grief of her mother’s passing, Kirsty Mitchell, a fine art photographer from Surrey, UK, embarked on a six and a half year photographic series entitled Wonderland, depicting a surreal, magical world of flora born from Kirsty’s imagination. Now, after the success of the series-which won several awards and worldwide recognition-Mitchell has a new project underway; the Wonderland Book.

The Wonderland Book encapsulates the Wonderland photo-series and more. Displaying a collection of ethereal images from the Wonderland series, along with a commentary from Kirsty herself and behind the scenes images, the book represents what Kirsty deems “the final and most important aspect of the whole project”, which started over half a decade ago.

Gaia's Spell
Once Upon a Time
She'll Wait For You In The Shadows Of Summer
Despite being offered publishing contracts, Kirsty chose to self publish the book through Kickstarter enabling her to maintain full creative control. “[My mother’s] life’s great passion was literature and books, and so creating the most beautiful book I could possible imagine, felt like the ultimate way to celebrate her.” She remarked. Following the Kickstarter campaign, Mitchell has received an enormous reaction from the worldwide community that admires her work. At present, with just 8 days remaining in the campaign, the Wonderland Book is now the most funded photo-book ever. And the number 1 most funded photography project in the history of Kickstarter, raising over £280,000.

We caught up with Kirsty to find out more about the project.

The Plus: What has your reaction been to the amount of support you have received for the project?
I never expected this. It’s deeply humbling and really quite overwhelming. Before launching the campaign I was terrified we would not even meet the basic target and I wouldn’t be able to pay the book designer! My target figure was the lowest I could possibly make it; it covers the cost of creating 1000 books without any profit.

I will now print 3000 books instead of the original 1000, so this is amazing news, I am so touched by everyone’s support, it has made this process so much more meaningful for me than if it had been through a publisher and I am deeply grateful for that.

TP: You worked closely with Richard Wakefield, who filmed the creation of the wonderland series and your Kickstarter video. Why did you feel it was important to capture these processes through film?
This biggest thing about my work is at first sight a lot of people don’t always understand that it is real. In the early days so many people thought my images were made in a computer that I had to start documenting the process to prove the enormous amount of work involved. Once people understood I made the costumes sets and props, they were amazed and fascinated.

The films started much later into the project, and when we began releasing them everyone loved them so much we kept going. For me it was a way to add more emotion and depth to my work, and they are now such a precious memory for me. I love the films dearly, and feel very connected to them. Richard did an incredible job.

The Secret Locked In The Roots Of A Kingdom
TP: What do you think of Kickstarter as a platform for artists? Why did you decide to publish the book yourself?
I’ve been approached by a number of high end publishers, all of which has been very exciting, until the final contracts were drawn up and some rather outrageous terms were expected from me. The series is deeply personal and emotional for me, and in the end I made the tough decision to walk away from the 2 contracts I had on the table. It was genuinely a very difficult time, but ultimately this project has been my life for so long, that I had to finish it on my own terms, and make a book that was extraordinary, and not a commercial afterthought.

It means I get to create a very beautiful book for everyone who cares about the series and that was always my top priority.

The Distant Pull of Remembrance
The Candy Cane Witch
The Queen's Armada
The Storyteller
The Fade Of Fallen Memories
The Faraway Tree  2015
The Journey Home
Wonderland book prep
Collector box set_mock up
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