The Dark Side of Fairy Tales

What is it about fairy tales that make them so damn appealing? There is the obvious psychological jurgun of using them as a way to escape your own reality but what about when fairy tales become dark and gruesome and far more unsettling than reality itself already is? Some of my favorite photographers of all time are fantasy driven creators who bring a hauntingly intoxicating and enchanting twist to the all too over-played Disney fairy tale. When Tim Walker and Kristen McMenamy collaborate there is something completely untapped and poetically raw about their work. Their mermaid on land series had me searching for breath as each image tugged at my heart strings and strung a melancholic chord. 

Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare

Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare

Laura Makabresku

Laura Makabresku

The same thing goes for Polish based photographer Laura Makabresku.

Some of you may already be aware of this atmospheric artist who creates solemnly striking fairy tales with the click of her camera. Often accompanying her photos with actual fairy tales that she writes there is always death or loss in some way or another involved in them. I have never been a suicidal person nor do I support anything like that in any way shape or form I can't help but get lost in Makabresku's imagery. Each frame is like a Romantic painting pulling references from mystic symbols, surreal aesthetics, eroticism and death. 


My photographs are like screenshots from beautiful but cruel fairy tales. Their narrations are not straight. Images that appear are more like feelings that come during a lecture of an old folk-based story – full of witchcrafts and retributions. The structure of my works is similar to the structure of a dream where natural tendencies of collecting and organizing impulses and motivations coincide with irrational clashes of objects and feelings. Isolation and wounds are closed into patterns, uneasy and artificial orders – visual spells created in order to divide beastillness from humanity and dreams from horror."

- Laura Makabresku

"Laura Makabresku condenses the fairy tale into a frame. One stage on which everything plays out. There is a heroine existing between the worlds. Beautiful and dark. Her sexuality fluctuates between girlish erotic fantasy and the extreme instincts of nature. In a childish way she is fascinated by death. Her land is inhabited by animals, monsters, people in animal masks, objects—all of them of equal status. The world’s orders tangle together. Death in this land is liberating, a kind of good dream into which we tumble, searching for eternity, and which exists within us as constellations painted on the heroine’s body. The motifs and scenes are repeated. Themes are repeated obsessively. It all exists outside of time, everywhere and nowhere, never and always, in the seventy-seventh land. And eternity is just as cruel as death."

From curatorial text by Magdalena Kownacka "The moon is for adults only“

All photos are the property of Laura Makabresku