'Wonderland'
Project info

"Wonderland" began in the summer of 2009 and has now been running for over 5 years. It is entirely self funded and is created in memory of my mother who died in 2008 of cancer. She was an English teacher, and literature was her passion. It is too much to write here, but following her death I suffered severe depression and found myself retreating to an alternative existence through the portal of my camera. This escapism grew into the concept of creating an unexplained storybook without words, dedicated to her, that would echo the fragments of the fairytales she read to me constantly as a child. The characters were not a recreation of anything that already existed; this was my own personal Wonderland, hybrids born from the pages of original book illustrations, mixed up with dreams and the underlying sadness of my adult grief. I wanted to create pictures that people would project their own ideas on to, and lose themselves in, each being a visual fable within their own right .As the months passed a story evolved, and I pushed the concepts further, with some of the new characters taking up to 5 months to create, and over a year to plan. Two years later I found myself in the midst of creating the equivalent of a feature film in a series of still photographs, struggling to cope with its demands.. Consequently in Dec 2011 I left my 11-year career as a fashion designer behind, to dedicate my future to finishing the series and producing the book and exhibition. Now in Oct 2014 I am just two pictures from the end of the collection of 76 photographs. The selection I have entered for this competition are the footnotes of the larger story which depicts our heroine Katie's escape from reality through the pages of a story book, to journey through the seasons and lands of the project. Her journey is a parallel to the stages of my own grief in the real world, for which I have written a 6 year accompanying online diary on my website.