American culture tends to infantilize and trivialize children. We like to think of childhood as pure and innocent and anything associated with child’s play (like fairy tales) receives a similar treatment. Nothing epitomizes the attrition and bowdlerization of Western fairy tales better than the Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty.
In their dark originals, these three stories have a wealth of depth, melancholy, and beauty that I believe children can truly grasp even if they do not fully understand. Fairy tales are an excellent metaphor for life. I love how children can safely experience adult themes of heartache, vanity and jealousy, and suicide through the fantasy of evil spells, fairies, and princesses. I want to celebrate the darkness in “childish” things like mermaids, witches, and dwarves. I want to celebrate all that makes these tales beautiful without the need to strip them of their incredible magic.
By approaching fairy tales as an adult, I am recognizing the need for childhood fairy tale fantasies to exist for us too and not just in the world of children. I want to re-discover the sophistication and emotional depth of the stories that Disney's cartoon version paint over.
I want to create a photo series exploring three familiar fairy tales:
- The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen
- Little Snow White by Jacob and Wihelm Grimm
- and, Little Daylight (one of many versions of Sleeping Beauty) by George MacDonald (a full-text can be read here)
I will seek to visualize and capture the beauty and fantastical nature of these stories, but also their deep personal and interpersonal truths and melancholy that make them resonate historically. The series will be narrative in scope, but less literal in its interpretation. For example, this series will not always literally describe the scenes described in the text. My goal will be to create images that speak for themselves but are as recognizable as the tales they stem from.
In the end, the series will be compiled into a limited edition 'illustrated' storybook of the three stories I have chosen. It will feature full-bleed prints of my photos and the entire text of the stories. The book will be mailed to all contributors over $50 and will also be available for purchase.
The project will be shot on Impossible Project Polaroid film and on color film, because these two mediums capture the mystique, fantasy, and melancholy that I am searching for.
Where is your money going?
This project is a culmination of four years of study at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and a lifetime of research, inspiration, and creativity. I want to not only be able to share my vision and work with the world, but with you and all my contributors in a tangible way. By backing my project, you’ll not only be helping me successfully create the work I want to create and complete my final project for my undergraduate degree at RISD, but you’ll also be getting some signed, original art by yours truly!
Photography is expensive. Because this project is going to be shot in traditional color film and Polaroid film, it is going to be noticeably more expensive than a digitally driven project. Your funds will help me pay for film, processing and printing, purchasing and creating props, styling (including costumes, hair and makeup), transportation, creation of the book and, finally, distribution of my work to all of my lovely contributors.
How does Kickstarter work?
As a contributor, you are playing a pivotal role in the development of my work. Any form of support is incredibly helpful, even if it means just spreading the word about my project to people who you feel may be interested in helping me out. By April 15th at 11pm, if I have reached (or surpassed) my goal, the money will be transferred to me so that I can begin preproduction on my shoots. If I haven't reached my goal by April 16th, your account will NOT be charged.
- (27 days)