Henrieta Haniskova

My life began in a small, medieval town in Socialist Czechoslovakia. So old, that our house was built in 1550. As you may have guessed, there wasn’t a lot of TV in my childhood. But our old stone house was full of places to draw and dream. I especially loved peeking through the numerous keyholes, to see what secrets were hiding behind closed doors.

All too soon, the State demanded that I pick a career and I was trained to be nurse. I was very good at the job, but there was one gigantic problem. As an empathetic person, I could never detach myself from my patients, from their stories that were so often tragic and sad. For a time, I thought I was destined for a life of misery.

And then, unexpectedly, came the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Soon after, I packed a small suitcase and flew across the ocean, to Canada. My first job was as a Nanny, and with my very first paycheck, I bought myself an OM1 Olympus manual SLR.

Photography is now my greatest joy, because now my empathy works for me. Quickly connecting with people was heart wrenching as a nurse, but it’s a blessing when you photograph people for a living. And to this day, every time I look through the viewfinder, I feel like that little girl, peeking through the keyhole.

My passion for Photography has brought me 3rd place in the Naked in the House 2004 Competition as well as 3rd place in the International Photography Awards, Lucie Awards 2008 in New York. And the latest prize to brag about was given to me by the Contact Festival 2010 as one of two photographers selected for the first prize of the Portfolio reviews, judged and selected by some of the top curators, art buyers and photo editors from around the World. The show opened on January 31st to March 5rh, 2011 at 80 Spadina, Contact gallery on the 3rd floor.