Ode to a fairy dell

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The Fairy Photographer - The fairy dell

How the Fairy Photographer’s studio is transformed, with inspiration from the original fairy photographers

Nearly 100 years have passed since cousins Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths charmed the world with the magical fairy photos taken at the end of their garden.

Although the Cottingley pictures were finally revealed to be a hoax in the 1980s, the images of the girls with the flower fairies in the beautiful, lush garden still captivate those who see them today.

At the end of The Fairy Photographer’s garden runs a small stream, not dissimilar to Cottingley Beck where Frances and Elsie claimed to have seen the fairies.

It is this sense of the magic of nature that we try to create in the fairy dell in the studio.

The dell takes several days to construct. First, the backdrop, which is a composite image taken from different beautiful locations, is hung.

Then a green carpet covered in natural mosses is laid and a small stream made of reflective cellophane is placed through the middle with a small bridge over it.

The Fairy Photographer - The fairy dell set

Seasonal foliage and flowers are collected from the garden to decorate the rest of the dell. All the natural foliage must be able to stay fresh for the few days of the shoot. So, water-soaked oasis and little tubs of water help to keep it refreshed.

The abundance of the rich, verdant greenery reminds me of lines from John Keats’ poem Ode to A Nightingale.

“The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;

White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;

Fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves;

And mid-May’s eldest child,

The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,

The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.”


Finally, the lighting is checked and the dell is ready for its first visitors.

Do you want to see the magic for yourself? Take a look at the images here on the website or book in for one of our Vintage Fairy Photoshoots.

Vintage Fairy Photoshoots 2018
April 28th/29th
May 19th/20th
June 23rd/24th
July 14th/15th
Sept 22nd/23rd
Nov 10th/11th – Snow Fairies

The Fairy Photographer - wand-making workshop at Croft Castle