Heterochromia – Children of Hags


By Maria Cavali

I am Lithuanian and Lithuania is the last pagan country in Europe. In pagan tradition, people who had different colour eyes were called “Children of hags”.
The Pagan’s believed that if there was a newborn with different colour eyes, it meant that there was a hag that had come at night and changed the children – The witch gave one of her eyes to the child in exchange for one of the child’s eyes.

I started to photograph this project about a year ago and so far i have found the most “Children of hags” in Lithuania. I can only presume that (even if Lithuania itself, which has 3 million inhabitants and people with heterochromia are only three people in a million) because Lithuania kept pagan traditions quite long, people with different colour eyes did not suffer from the inquisition as much.

This project started more as mythological research for me but the more I researched it and the more people with heterochromia I photographed, the more I realise that this has become a social project. Firstly, it introduces people, who have never heard of heterocromia before, to it so that they are not afraid of it anymore (we are afraid of things we don’t know and are not familiar with). Secondly, it shows how unique and beautiful people with heterochromia are, both to others and themselves so they know not to be ashamed of it but instead to celebrate it.

I am also looking for a writer at the moment and my final goal is to make an album called “Heterochromiacs” whereby I document all the portraits from the project and present both mythological and scientific research to go along with it.

About the author:

Maria became a freelance photographer in 2011 and has since been busy photographing editorials for clients such as Llamas Valley, Time-Out, 1st Dibs, Uitkrant & A-Mag magazine. Maria is also familiar with modelling and acting which helped to develop a keen sense of human nature and personalities that clearly reflect in her favourite work – portraits. Living her dream now, feeling blessed to be able to keep the balance between inspiring personal projects and developing her own portrait studio.

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