Gabriel Nivera
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Pictures & Conversations

A collection of images and the stories behind their creation.

Karina

Torshavn, Faroe Islands

Almost every person I spoke to mentioned how wonderful the Faroe Islands is to raise a family, the safety and carefree nature of the island was a wonderful environment for children to grow up in.  I wanted to see if i could capture that sentiment through the eyes of a child.  Throughout our trip I noticed a lot of children playing outside much more that I typically saw in North America.  Kids would be hiking, fishing, playing football, skating, horseback riding, cycling; name an outdoor activity, we probably saw a child participating; more often with other children with no adults present to spoil the fun.

I often approach strangers to take their photograph, striking up a conversation and hanging out with them.  I knew with children, that game plan would have to be altered.  Thankfully, I mentioned to Elin (my local contact) that I was interested in doing a shot that involved children, and she said her daughter Karina would be perfect for my idea.  She told me that one activity that Karina really enjoys is going to the shore, investigating tide pools and beach combing.  The unique position of the Faroe Islands in the Atlantic, means that the North Atlantic current can bring wash up some interesting things on the beaches.  In fact many early structures in the Faroe Islands were build from salvaged wood swept on shore (as there are no native species trees on the Island), and it is not unheard off to see coconuts wash up from time to time.

After checking the forecast, we picked a day and decided to meet late in the morning when the tide was still out.  I asked Karina to pick where we should go and she took us to one of her favourite spots about 5 minutes from the city centre.  Despite it being a sunny, day it was blustery and being so close to the sea meant we had to stay bundled.  Karina gathered her red bucket and net and started skipping towards the shore.  It wasn't long until she was quite far ahead of us.  She would jump over slippery boulders and rocks without pause sure footed like the Faroese Sheep, seeking out the nooks and crannies where all the good treasures were hidden.

Although we didn't speak each others language, it was clear to see the joy in Karina's face.  She was an expert finding the little fishes who were hiding deep in the pools.  Deftly guiding her net around them and snagging them from underneath and depositing them into the bucket in a fluid motion.  These tide pools are filled with life, mussels, horse mussels, isopods, crabs, and fry's of various fish, including the three-spined stickleback, a character in one of my favourite books (Sylvester, the three-spined stickleback) growing up.  As the tide started to come in our playground was being reclaimed by the ocean.  Karina released her catch back in the pools and gathered her bucket and net.  Still full of energy she scampered away from the rocks and up the grassy hill back to the car leaving all the adults in her dust.  Having grown up in a city, I do admit I envy the children who grew up so close to nature.  Being able to explore and wander outside without reservation is truly a luxury.