Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving: Svala’s Saga
I first saw the project, Svala’s Saga, when I reviewed the portfolio of Kirsten Hoving and Emma Powell at PhotoNOLA last December. This mother and daughter duo are both talented photographers in their own rite, but over the years have worked on informal art projects together. In 2013 they decided to create a truly collaborative photographic series. This project was realized after two trips to Iceland together. Kristen and Emma have created a cautionary fairy tale about extinction, set in other worldly terrain and thoughtfully brought to life with much consideration.
Emma Powell is an assistant professor of art at Colorado College. Powell graduated from the College of Wooster, and received her MFA in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work often examines photography’s history while incorporating historic processes and other devices within the imagery.
Kirsten Hoving is a Charles A. Dana Professory of Art History at Middlebury College. Twelve years ago, she took her first photography workshop to help her be a better scholar and teacher of photographic history and she was hooked. In between writing books and articles and teaching courses about modern art and the history of photography at Middlebury College, she makes photographs. She is co-founder of PhotoPlace Gallery.
Svala’s Saga is a photographic fairy tale that addresses the issue of species extinction. Our character, Svala, is confronted with a sudden loss of the worlds birds. As the Earth heats and cools, she journeys through alien landscapes searching for the last remaining eggs. By drawing on the archetypal motif of the quest, we hope to suggest that a lone individual can make a difference through perseverance and determination. These images are printed using the platinum/palladium process over digital color.
On a cold, gray day, Svala no longer heard the birds. They all had disappeared. She searched throughout the land, but only broken shells and empty nests remained. As winters and summers passed, Svala consulted oracles and interpreted dreams. The message was always the same: it was her destiny to rescue the birds. She bid farewell to home and hearth, then set out across the world on her quest.
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