Svala's Saga by Emma Powell & Kirsten Hoving

Issue 97

Svala’s Saga is a photographic fairy tale about the journey of a single character and the world she inhabits. As told through fifty interrelated photographs, our strong female heroine, Svala, embarks on a mythic quest to save the last remaining birds. Svala’s Saga harnesses the power of fiction to explore topics such as climate change and species extinction. The narrative revolves around the following premise:

From the beginning, Svala was the guardian of the birds. But on a cold, gray day, she no longer heard them. 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.

In the photographs, Svala climbs mountains, traverses glaciers, enters caves, and crosses deserts to seek out the missing birds. The landscape of Iceland is an active character in the narrative. In this realm of environmental extremes, Svala’s story abounds with magic and metaphor. After overcoming many obstacles Svala realizes her own power, and in doing so begins to discover eggs and nests. She tends the eggs to bring forth the next generation of birds and to restore balance to her world. Alluding to the rich tradition of stories and sagas that are part of the Icelandic tradition, Svala’s Saga tells a tale of loss and redemption in the natural world.

Emma Powell lives and works in Colorado Springs, CO.
Kirsten Hoving lives and works in Middlebury, VT.
To learn more about the project, please visit the website. You can also view more of Emma's work here, and more or Kirsten's work here. 

 Sentinel

Sentinel

 
 Memento Mori

Memento Mori

 
 Searching

Searching

 
 Sacrifice

Sacrifice

 
 Pathfinder

Pathfinder

 
 Undaunted

Undaunted

 
 House of the Reindeer Magician

House of the Reindeer Magician

 
 Hope

Hope

 
 Flight

Flight

 
 Fallen

Fallen

 
 Memorial

Memorial

 
 Encased

Encased

 
 Turning the Tide

Turning the Tide

 
 Swift

Swift

 
 Sighting

Sighting