Included in:
Category: People

Stefan Wachs: Hiraeth

Artist’s Statement:

Hiraeth is a Welsh word that has no direct translation into English. It is often defined as a sort of homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over something lost or something departed, a feeling of longing, yearning and nostalgia.

These portraits of friends are all an attempt to find and communicate this feeling of nostalgia and longing. While making these photographs, I was interested in the moment where the person may let down their guard just for a brief instant and allow for a more spontaneous and therefore more honest portrait.

After hearing a person’s story and photographing them, I set out to interpret the particular mood of the portrait in a second photograph, often found in the landscape or in an abstraction of my surroundings. This second photograph, paired with the portrait, may appear almost as a sort of physical reflection of that person’s emotional state and as an interpretive portrait that can be viewed as an extension of the initial photograph. By extending the portrait in this way it acquires a meaning and a context that would otherwise be lost.

Artist’s Bio:

A Swiss-American dual citizen, Stefan was born and raised in Switzerland and moved to Santa Fe in 2005.

Largely self-taught, he was the recipient of a scholarship at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in 2012 and subsequently started working for them. He worked with and assisted a wide range of photographers in fine art, commercial and documentary photography. Currently he is pursuing his own career as a freelance photojournalist and editorial photographer.