What remains of the day?
What beauty did you see , that made your soul ache?
Did you feel the endless day push forward, as the boxes of light played along the walls of empty rooms? Did you taste the forgotten dust on all the things you have loved?
Photographer, artist and storyteller, Helynn Ospina’s life and work resonate with the momentary, transitional energy of liminal space. From the light or shadow cast upon an object, to wrinkled sheets, rolling fog or windblown curtains, her images vibrate with a sense of possibility, the echoes of past experiences and the mystery of moments yet to come.
Born in Colombia, yet raised in the United States, Helynn’s early years were colored by her experience as an undocumented immigrant. A foreigner to both her parents’ culture and that of her American classmates, her identity was shaped more by searching than finding, fueling a thoughtful curiosity that informs her process to this day.
This perspective and upbringing led Helynn to pursue an unconventional path, first joining the U.S. Marines, then pursuing a career in scientific research. The inherent challenge in these pursuits was a large part of their appeal, requiring her to push both her physical and intellectual boundaries. Her work in biotech also appealed to her detail-focused, investigative nature—an aspect of her personality that had long inspired an interest in photography. This former childhood hobby eventually grew into a more nuanced understanding of lens-based art, leading Helynn to yet another unexpected vocation.
As her artistic process has evolved, Helynn’s photography has also been influenced by the discovery of her family’s indigenous ancestry and the concept of animism—that every object, living or inert, has its own spiritual energy. Capturing both the seen and the unseen, the specific and the universal, each of her images speak not only to the moment she has captured, but to the shared experience of our human existence. She sees each photo, not as a finished product, but as the beginning of a conversation, an invitation for the viewer to find a piece of their own story reflected in her work.
Over the past decade, Helynn’s work has been celebrated by such organizations as Communication Arts and she has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Her commercial clients include such industry-leading brands as AirBNB, WeWork and Martha Stoumen Wines, and she continues to pursue an active fine art practice.
During her free time you can find her roaming nearby forests or empty beaches with her two cattle dogs, Koa and Hilo.
AirBnB • Atlas Obscura •Brightseed • Coreshell Technologies • Eleven, Inc. • Homepolish • Lonny • Martha Stoumen Wines • National Geographic • Nature • New York Times •San Francisco Chronicle • Sunset • TIME • Travel & Leisure • UpShift Creative • Urban Institute • Via Magazine • WeWork • Wall Street Journal • Washington Post
She currently lives and creates on unceded land of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, composed of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the California Central Coast.