Posters of this image created by Jackie Haxthausen will be for sale at The Flower Fest to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Once Upon a Time: The story behind Jackie Haxthausen’s magical The Flower Fest image

They say the devil is in the details, but perhaps the ever-so-anonymous “they” got it mixed up. Maybe it should be that the magic is in the details, instead. Or at least that is the stance of photographer Jackie Haxthausen, who regularly brings to life fantastical scenes through her intricate sets and expert editing skills.

For her latest shoot, those dogged details were all the more important, because the fairytale-inspired photograph was not just another for an Instagram feed–not to say that isn’t important. But rather, this photo has a greater purpose: acting as a fundraiser for this year’s The Flower Fest benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“I’ve had a few friends with kids with cancer,” she says. “And I worked in pediatric cardiology for 12 years, so this cause is close to my heart.”

Playing off of this year’s “Once Upon a Dream” theme, Haxthausen spent some six hours assembling the storybook-worthy backdrop for the shoot. From stacks of mattresses dressed in floral sheets to a giant satin bow overhead to swaths of creeping vines and soft pink roses courtesy of Forage Floral Design, the layered scene gives viewers something different to focus on with each new glance. The finishing touch was Haxthausen’s own daughter, dressed in layers of pink tulle and topped with a sparkling tiara, lounging atop the tower of cushions.


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“What I really like is the ambiguity of it, it’s very open for interpretation,” Haxthausen says. “It could be The Princess and the Pea or it could be Sleeping Beauty or any number of other princesses. What I wanted was for it to be about the whole scene. It’s a piece of art more than just a picture of one person, which is why I think it also helps that she has her eyes closed. That adds to the anonymity of it.”

With posters of the image for sale to benefit St. Jude, the goal was for kids and adults alike to recognize the magic and see themselves in it. The power of imagination is, after all, what brings The Flower Fest to life year after year, with florists coming together to create larger-than-life displays and fundraisers joining forces to dream big to help those in need.

Posters of Haxthausen’s photo will be for sale at this year’s The Flower Fest, taking place April 6 and 7 at Pointe-Marie. For more information on The Flower Fest and to purchase tickets for the two-day festival and opening gala, visit And to learn more about Jackie Haxthausen and her photography, check out this story from the inRegister archives.