Like most stories that have been told and retold for generations, Disney princesses have come a long way since their early days as fairy tales. Fans and artists have also taken liberty with the fictional characters, recreating them in a variety of settings and styles, using every artistic medium under the sun. Which of these Disney princess interpretations do you love most?
Annie Leibovitz’s Star-Studded Photography
When Disney needed help bringing its favorite princesses to life, they turned to none other than world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. As part of the Disney Dream Portraits series, Leibovitz shot various celebrities as some of the most beloved princesses: Jessica Chastain was cast as the fiery Merida (Brave), Queen Latifah made a fierce Ursula from The Little Mermaid and Scarlett Johansson was cast as the beautiful Cinderella.
Since some of the photos featured male Disney characters, even funnymen Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Jason Segal got in on the action, portraying ghosts from the Haunted Mansion.
Disney Princesses and Domestic Violence
The life of a Disney princess isn’t always a fairytale—at least that’s what artist Saint Hoax has tried to convey in his latest poster series titled “Happily Never After.” The collection of images features our favorite Disney princesses with black eyes, swollen lips and bloodied noses. Each of the shocking posters features the tagline, “When did he stop treating you like a princess,” and is meant to encourage domestic violence victims to report their attackers to the proper authorities.
“Happily Never After” isn’t Saint Hoax’s first series to utilize the likeness of Disney princesses. In “Princest Diaries,” he shows each princess lip-locked with her father, along with a startling statistic that states that 46% of minors who are raped are raped by family members. Hoax’s use of the Disney princesses is strategic: by casting doubt onto their picturesque lore and placing the princesses in unexpected and jarring circumstances, he knows his work will draw a response from his audience.
Disney Princess Interpretations Look Like Real Life
Using a combination of digital compositing, photo manipulation and digital painting techniques, Finnish artist Jirka Väätäinen has created a series of Disney princesses reimagined as real-life people. The resulting images are soft and welcoming—these Disney princess interpretations show the women as approachable, kind and very much like the girl next door; not the unknowable maiden in a village outside of space and time.