The Damage of Fairytales: Surreal Children's Portraits & Stories

The Damage of Fairytales

My daughter has recently started to be interested in the princesses. I kind of hoped this day would never come, but here it is.  Don't get me wrong, all the princesses in the Fairytales are good, kind, beautiful women. Nothing wrong with those qualities as a role model. There are many good things that the Princesses can teach young girls. Just from my own experience, I have some issues with some of the Fairytales.

Lets look at the basis of all Disney stories, the classics anyway. A beautiful strong young girl is in a predicament. She is usually oppressed in some way, trapped even. Arial wants out of the ocean, Cinderella wants out of her evil step family, and so on. Then a rich handsome charming man somehow comes along and there is instant love. I mean instant. And they want to be together forever, and they do live happily ever after eventually. First however the handsome gentleman has to rescue her from her situation.

There is something wonderful and romantic about this of course, we all love romance. I know I certainly do. And who doesn't want to be rescued by a strong handsome rich guy? But what these stories did for me as a young girl, is they left me with a very unrealistic view of relationships. I also feel it showed me that I need a man to rescue me when things get bad. I spent a lot of time in my teenage years, and my early 20s messing up in my relationships, and feeling a lot of heartache when it came to men, well lets be real, they were boys ;) I expected perfection from them, I expected them to be this perfect prince that would rescue me and never do anything wrong. This was of course something I was not aware of at the time, but I can see it when I look back.

I can't blame this all on Fairytales, there are certainly other factors involved. But the connection I see there in my own story is very real to me and something I want to be aware of teaching when teaching Fiona about relationships.  Am I going to keep her away from Princesses and Fairytales? No I am not. The plan is not to shelter her from these things. My plan is to teach her in other ways about real relationships and her expectations of them. To show her within our own family, and my own marriage what it looks like on an everyday basis, and how things can get hard sometimes, but we work through it, we say we are sorry and we forgive. I can talk honestly with her when the time is right about how men/boys sometimes forget to call on time. About how they probably won't have a full understanding of what it is that will make you happy even if they have full intentions to, and that sometimes you have to rescue them.

I made this image because this is the type of princess I see my daughter as. She loves the outdoors, playing in the woods, and the chicken coop, looking for lizards and frogs. She loves to sleep in her tent and hunt for acorns. She is a Woodland Fairy Princess if she is a going to be a princess. She is special, and beautiful and so very sweet and good.

Did you look closely? She is holding a frog because I want to teach her that frogs are ok too. That the one she loves might not be the most handsome, or the richest guy in town. He might be more like a frog, a little funny looking, but still really cute. He might be shorter than you, or chew his food funny. He will be imperfect in the best way for her, and that is perfectly ok. I pray that she experiences the romance the we all love so much about these Fairytales. I did eventually find my imperfect prince and I hope he and I can show her how to love hers someday.

xoxo Meghan Aileen

Week 6 For Art's Sake Professional Photographer's Challenge. Inspiration for Photographers. Imaginative Photography

Week 6 For Art's Sake ~ Professional Photographer's Challenge

After my flea market adventures this month I was inspired by vintage toys and props. I found these old wooden race car toys. Fiona's new preschool  has mostly wooden toys, no plastic. There is something about the feel and texture of wood that I think makes awesome kids toys. And they obviously last!

The landscape is a shot of the desert I took driving cross country and I love the texture of the cracked ground and the drama of the sky as the race is about to begin! Fiona is always coming up with these elaborate situations for games we play, characters, locations and props, and she is not even 3 years old. Yes most of them are pretend which makes it all the more fun for me to try and translate her imagination into an image. I can't wait to see what she becomes, the type of teen, young lady and woman and probably artist she grows into. Although if you ask my husband he will say lets do whatever we can to keep her from growing up and meeting boys! :)

Here, she enthusiastically starts a car race in the desert with her homemade newspaper flag. Use what you have. I spend a total of $15 on this shoot. The rest is props and environments I already had. When creating imaginative images is important to put ourselves back in a child like state, what do they love, what do they dream of, how do they play… I humbly hope my jaded mind has portrayed her amazing world of wonder in the slightest bit. :)

Edited with Magic Mushrooms Photoshop Action from the Fairytale Action Set

Edited with Butternut Photoshop Action from the Memento Set

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Week 4: Professional Photographer's Challenge. For Art's Sake: Surreal Children's Photography

For Art's Sake: Surreal Children's Photography

Imagination. Wonder. Adventure. These were my inspiration for this week. Sticking with the surreal I decided to go a different direction with an image of a child. Having a 2 year old has taught me so much about wonder, imagination, and enjoying simple pleasures. The way her mind works is so intriguing. She can spend hours with a blanket or a balloon creating all kinds of games and things to do. We could all learn a little something from that. We need such complex entertainment as we get older and especially in this highly advanced age of technology.

We stopped the car the other day on the way home because there were 3 hot air balloons setting up to take off in a field by our house. Those are the kind of things that can make even us adults revert to a more child-like state of awe. My daughter was so fascinated. All of us were. I like to imagine that something like this image was going on in her head when she got home....


Disclaimer: Kids don't try this at home  ;) marketing for photographers, inspiration for photographers, free photoshop actions

For Art's Sake Photography Challenge: Surreal Children's Photography


This sweet little miss here is getting ready to float off into the sky for an morning adventure. As any good pal would do, she lovingly ties each one of her friends to their own balloon, and off they go. I imagine they tease the squirrels in the trees, someone needs to. I am sure they go down the street to the neighbor's house with the pool and land right in the water. Those furry critters must get hot in the Southern summer heat.

I needed a bit of that contrast I love in there so the overgrown boarded up house contrasts the clean innocence of the child and the animals. I am going to stick with the child based surreal for next week too, there is something I really love about this. It is good for my soul too to have to put myself in the mind of a child. I learn so much from their curiosity and wonder. My jaded old mind is starting to appreciate the simple joy of balloons, turtles, and lightning bugs too.

Hope to see you next week!


Meghan Aileen


The Shoppe Photoshop Actions Used: 

Matte from the In Vogue Actions Collection

Tea Time from the Nostalgia Actions Collection

1600 Film from the Nostalgia Textures Collection