For those new to my work, I thought I’d give you a brief introduction into what I do. My recent artwork has been focussed strongly on strong girls and women in fairy tales.
They may be Vasilisa who outwitted the Baba Yaga and her own wicked sisters, the Scottish single mother who rescued her son from the faery-like Sidh, the Japanese daughter of the Moon who refused an earthly marriage, the African Moremi who questioned her people’s blind faith in those disguised as gods and ventured alone into an enemy town. They are the women who acted bravely and independently within a male dominated society, and those who ruled their own. They are the girls who survived and prospered because of their own bravery, kindness and wisdom. They are the characters and protagonists who all but disappeared in the face of the Victorian era’s dictates on the female place in society. They are the girls and women who deserve to have their stories brought back to new readers.
The advent of the fairy tale’s golden age in the late 19th and early 20th Century was a boon for the cultural spread of traditional stories, and for fairy tales as we know them today, but a great loss for the representation of girls and women in those tales. The imposition of Victorian values onto the stories meant that any female character with a whiff of independence or initiative was rewritten, or written out, completely. My hope is to bring those protagonists back to light.
A Mother’s Gift I & II were created as illustrations for an old Gaelic fairy tale; The Stolen Bairn and the Sidhe. The story evokes the power of a mother’s love, in the telling of a woman who bribes her baby back from the fairies who have taken him, thinking him an orphan. She makes a harp from driftwood and bones, and strings it with her own hair, and a blanket woven also from her hair. As they were given of herself and made with a mother’s love, the blanket is the softest ever felt, and the harp the sweetest sounding. The fairies can’t resist her gifts, and she is reunited with her baby boy.
When not directly interpreting fairy tales, I often still use them as inspiration, as in Wild Swans below.
All of my work is created through the medium of photography. I photograph each element of the image separately, then digitally manipulate and montage them together. In the case of A Mother’s Gilft I & II, about twelve individual photographs were used for each image. Many of my other images have used upwards of fifty. I will talk further about my process in a future post.
If you’d like to see more of my work, you can visit my website here, and watch the short video below.