Away with the fairies

In the last class we focused on overlaying images in Photoshop. I selected one of my many photos of mushrooms to use as a backdrop and discussed the idea of adding an image of a fairy with Jason.

He told me about the Cottingley Fairies hoax in the 1920s; a set of 5 photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, two young cousins from Cottingley, featuring cardboard cutouts of fairies which were copied from a children’s book. They caught the attention of writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was a spiritualist, and he used them in an article about fairies in The Strand Magazine. The issue was a sell out and people were divided as to whether the images were genuine. It wasn’t until the 1980s until the women revealed that they were indeed fake!


With my creative juices starting to flow, I found an image of a fairy on the internet which fitted the backdrop image. By reducing the opacity of the fairy, it blends into the scene.


After class I continued my research and looked at different ideas for inspiration. The following images are taken from the internet and have helped me to think about how I might approach this idea.

To recreate the first image, I could possibly use a low shutter speed at dusk and use a torch to create the fairy lights or find a way to digitally manipulate the image in Photoshop.

Alternatively I make like the Cottingey cousins and use fairy figurines in a staged miniature landscape.

Check out these photographers who build their own landscapes – – all of Carl Warner’s landscapes are made entirely from food and frequently used in advertising campaigns. – Matthew Albanese uses a camera technique known as forced perspective.

To further my research I took a camera to Black Park and wandered off track, into the woods to look for ideas and take photos!


This is an ongoing process, who knows where I will end up….