"Wonderland" Exhibition (and more) at Fotografiska

by on 22/12/18 at 10:28 am

I stopped by Fotografiska, the Swedish Museum of Photography, the other day to see their new exhibition “Wonderland” by Kirsty Mitchell. It was a chilly, snowy day in Stockholm and the perfect day for indoor cultural activities. Fotografiska is one of those great museums you can visit several times a year as they generally always have 3 or 4 beautiful and thought provoking exhibitions each season.

The photographs in this exhibition are stunningly beautiful, many with bright, vivid colors. The intricate details in the pictures were fun to study up close and, at first, I thought that the photographer had used a lot of photo-shopping to create all these details. Not a strange assumption in this day and age. But, in part of the exhibition, you learn how the photographer, Kirsty Mitchell, created all of these looks herself… making the costumes, head pieces, props and more.

Mitchell likes to refer to herself as an artist with a camera instead of as a photographer because of the weeks/months it takes to create each image before snapping the actual photograph. Her background as a fashion/costume designer and student of art history are very evident in her work. “Wonderland” started as a book and this is the first time all 74 images are being shown in an exhibition.

The story behind “Wonderland” brings an extra depth and poignancy to the images. Kirsty Mitchell’s mother was an English teacher and loved literature, often reading fairytales aloud to her daughter when she was a child. When her mother passed away from cancer in 2008, Mitchell started this project a few months later as a way to work through her grief and get in touch with her childhood memories of her mother and the fairytales they shared. This exhibition runs until March 3rd, 2019.

I also visited another ongoing exhibition at the museum: “Smile and the rest will follow” with the work of photographer Jörgen Hildebrandt (in cooperation with Operation Smile). Operation Smile is an incredible nonprofit medical organization that provides free repair surgery for children and adults with cleft lips/palates around the world.

Before and after, “Smile – and the rest will follow”

It is a heart-warming exhibition which looks at the young patients before and after their surgeries through photographs, video and text, showing what a difference these relatively simple surgeries make in the lives of the children and their families. This is what makes Fotografiska so great, they always have a great mix of exhibitions: beauty, documentary, fashion, whimsy, news worthy.  “Smile…” runs until February 3rd, 2019.

Before and after, “Smile – and the rest will follow”

Fotografiska is located on the northern waterfront of Södermalm, just a 15-20 minute walk from the Hotel Rival. The closest subway/bus station is Slussen (10 minute walk from the museum). One extra special aspect of Fotografiska is their generous opening hours, closing at 11pm on Sun-Wed and 1am on Thurs-Sat. They are also open daily all through the holiday season, including Christmas! They also have a café and award-winning restaurant on the top floor with views of the harbor… well worth a visit.

They are doing some major construction in the Slussen area. But just follow the signs, like the one above, to get to Fotografiska.