Monday, 22 August 2011

Heida Helgadóttir: Ethiopia

Photo © Heida Helgadóttir-All Rights Reserved
Heida Helgadóttir is a 35 years old photographer based in Lisbon, Portugal as well as Reykjavík, Iceland. She started out as an apprentice for a portrait studio photographer, and started working as a full time photographer in 2004. She worked as a staff photographer for Fréttablaðið, Iceland’s largest newspaper, from 2004 to 2007 and for Birtíngur the largest magazine publishing company in Iceland, from 2007 to 2010. She recently moved to Portugal as a freelance photographer, and continues to do freelance work in Iceland.

I liked her portraits of South Ethiopians...presumably all from the tribes of Omo Valley, such as the Mursi, Hamer, Daasanach, and the Karo. All are black and white photographs, and are beautifully composed.

The survival and way of life of the tribes of South Ethiopia are under threat by various projects planned for the area, especially a massive hydroelectric dam that affects the Lower Omo River.

Heidah also has a gallery of portraits of Nepalis, which brings me to this little anecdote. A few weeks ago, I pay for a couple of Cokes at the corner store near my building, and I tell the cashier  she could be a Nepali from Katmandu. She smiled and told me she was born in Mustang!!! Mustang!!! She was born in the remote Kingdom of Mustang, now part of Nepal, and not exactly easily accessible. My mind marvels at how someone born in Mustang would now be working in a corner store in New York's West Village. Incredible! I'll have to spend some time with her to find out how that came about.