Fine Art Photography Daily

Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving: Svala’s Saga


©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Silence

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 and Emma

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_02_Memento Mori

©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Memento Mori

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.

Svala_03_Empty Nesting Ground

©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Empty Nesting Ground

Svala_04_Voice in the Wall fo Water

©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Voice in the Wall of Water


©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Undaunted

Svala_06_Into Darkness

©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Into Darkness


©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Hope

Svala_08_Ice Bound

©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Ice Bound


©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Impasse

Svala_10_Turned to Stone

©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Turned to Stone

Svala_11_Crystal Captive

©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Crystal Captive

Svala_12_Turning the Tide

©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Turning the Tide

Svala_13_Moving Mountains

©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Moving Mountains


©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Nesting


©Emma Powell and Kirsten Hoving, Sighting

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