Happily Never After

I view storytelling as one of the most important elements of art. In everything I have done artistically—dance, music, photography, and writing—telling a story has been essential. The audience needs to be able to see and know for sure why I do what I do; my motivation and my passion should be clear. For this series, I am writing my own stories while still paying homage to the authors who came before me. My influences vary from books and musicals to movies and photographers like Annie Leibovitz and Dina Goldstein. There is a little piece of each influence in my images, but the photographic style and narratives remain my own.

Fairytales are the best kind of story because there is always a happy ending. After all, who wants a story to end in heartbreak or tragedy? It is nice to dream of life as a story, the journey bringing everything one’s imagination could possibly wish for. But when the dream is over, reality hits. Authentic stories never end as expected, therefore anticipate the unexpected.

This series focuses on six well-known stories: “Cinderella”, “Little Mermaid”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Red Riding Hood”, “Snow White”, and “The Wizard of Oz.” The stories are portrayed from a negative point-of-view; each beloved character now exists in a twisted version of the happy ending they once had. Cinderella is locked up in a mental institution, and Ariel is cursed to live forever brokenhearted and homesick. Christine Daae has become the phantom that controls her, and Red Riding Hood’s spirit has returned in the form of what killed her. Snow White is dead, and the Evil Queen now reigns over the forest. A barefoot Dorothy is trapped in Oz, and the Wicked Witch is in Kansas, proudly wearing the red shoes. Once upon a time, stories ended happily ever after; this is not such a tale. This story ends happily never after.

© Lauren Michele Photography, 2014

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