Breaking gender stereotypes tends to be a lifelong process, but famed photographer Dina Goldstein seems quite content to take on the challenge one perfect shot at a time. Ever since she posted her Fallen Princesses series on JPG.com several years ago, it has been blogged and re-blogged with much fervor and fascination. “I really had very little expectations when I began the project,” Dina tells FN. “I shot each piece at a time over a two-year period.”

Fallen Princesses, a series of photographs that depicts Disney princesses in all too real and hard-hitting situations, is obviously a labor of love. Snow White stuck with a growing family and what looks to be a no-good prince, Belle getting various “work” done, Rapunzel losing more than just her hair to cancer—these photos were inspired by the events in Dina's own life.

“Before Fallen Princesses, most of my work was documentary-based. I conceived the idea for the project at a time when I was dealing with grief over news that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer,” says Dina. “At the same time, Jordan, my daughter was just three years [old] and already influenced by Disney princesses. The two events collided and made me think about the uncertainty of life and how we as parents and Disney have created a saccharine version of reality for the benefit of our young children.”

But that's not to say that Dina doesn't believe in happiness. “I would like to think that women can make themselves happy. However, the concept of a fairy tale happy ending is a bit ridiculous,” she says. “Modern life is about constant change, [women] today have to adapt and learn how to grow from adversity.”

We couldn't agree more. Click through the gallery to see her interpretation of five Disney princesses (and stick around to catch more of her on FN!).

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(All photos courtesy of Dina Goldstein)

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