ESSAY Monica Germanà

NWR Issue 102

Burning Issues: Shetland's Up Helly Aa

Shetlanders have had a thing for fire since the 1840s, when the burning of barrels marked the end of Yuletide. These days, Up Helly Aa is the largest fire festival in Europe and is celebrated in Lerwick on the last Tuesday in January.

The event kicks off in the morning. Led by their Jarl, or chief, and clad in shiny Viking armour, the squad men parade around the town, accompanied by the festive sound of pipe and brass bands, ending up on the Alexandra Wharf for a photographic opportunity...

Monica Germanà has been taking photographs since she was eight years old. While in Scotland, her freelance work was published in The Herald, and The List magazine, which also selected her work for the Beck's photography award in 2002. Her first solo exhibition, wonderwander was at The Arches in 2003.

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