ZIGGY (MARY ELIZABETH) HARTFELDER lives in Massachusetts, and travels to Ireland several times a year. She was born in upstate New York, where her grandparents emigrated from counties Galway and Kildare. As a member of an extended Irish-American family Ziggy was surrounded by those who taught her to celebrate her Irish heritage, as well as the beautiful landscape of the Hudson Valley and the surrounding mountains.
She was always inspired by the natural world.
After attending college in Boston as a Psychology/Literature major, she emigrated to the wilds of Los Angeles, where she married, and worked in the entertainment industry for five years. Upon returning to New England with her husband to raise their children, she was given, by her husband, her first trip to Ireland with her grandmother, Lilly Brady, her greatest friend. She was inspired by her trip "home" to share her love of the Irish landscape and its people through her camera.
As a self-taught photographer, she relies on natural light and inspiration to make her images.. In her most recent travels, Ziggy has discovered, to her shock, that the once and forever, timeless landscape of Ireland is suddenly changing. She was met with a sense of urgency when, after 900 years of economic suffering, Ireland is now faced with newfound economic prosperity – development. Many hidden places, including fairy hills, open fields, old growth, never plowed, never touched land is being sold to developers to build housing. While these new houses provide much needed jobs and homes, they take from the traditional identity of Ireland of endlessly rolling green hills, barren cliffs to the sea, and vistas of romance and ruin. Ziggy Hartfelder has felt a renewed commitment to preserve the serene and spiritual identity of old Ireland through her photographs.
Hartfelder is a winner of both the 2001 Marblehead Arts Festival and the 2001 Boston Herald Irish Photo Contest. She has been a member of the Essex Camera Gallery and Cultural Center. Her work has been purchased by several Irish pubs as part of their permanent collections In 2009, she became a member of both the Salem Arts Association and the Marblehead Arts Association. Having spent the last few summers on an island in Casco Bay, she began to build a portfolio of the Maine coastline .Recently, Ziggy was asked to join the GEM gallery of Peaks Island , Maine.When she isn’t photographing Ireland, Maine, and the North Shore of Massachusetts, Ziggy enjoys studying ballet, African drum and dance, being with her beautiful boys (Charlie, Miles and Jack-Darcy) and her dog, Alice. Like any true Irish soul, she loves singing sad Irish songs at Celtic music sessions wherever they can be found.