Elisabeth Childs was born in Germany in 1942 and lived most of her early life at Sögeln in farming country near the town of Bramsche, just north of the city of Osnabrück. She loved animals and was an accomplished horsewoman, taught by her father. She came to photography late: bored by the rigors and tedium of the excavation on Cyprus in 1983, she took courses in all aspects of photography at Mercer County Community College. After a brief try at doing technical, archaeological photography, she found her calling in producing the pictures for her book, People and Landscapes of the Chrysochou Valley & The Princeton University Excavations, 1983–2008. (Nicosia: Moufflon Publications, 2012). A selection of these pictures are on display here.
Elisabeth’s familiarity with the village and region of Polis Chrysochous was the product of constant dedication and often some hardship. For several years she drove a small motorbike up into the hills surrounding Polis, where she came to love the people she met. The men were often shepherds, the women grandmothers whose children had emigrated all over the world, principally South Africa, Australia, England, and America. Her relationship with the heat and ubiquitous dust of the area was ambivalent at best; she had grown up in the cool climate of northern Germany and had to struggle through the hot and often humid days on her frequently demanding trips into the countryside. But she also spent time in the village of Polis and became friends with its inhabitants. She was certainly a regular fixture in the cafeteria, shops, and private houses, everywhere welcomed with a drink of fresh orange juice or cold water.
Elisabeth succumbed to cancer on 7 December 2008.