Helene Sobol


Always looking for special moments and unique compositions, I want to capture a specific mood in time and place. Whether my subjects are abstract or representational, colorful or monochromatic, near my home or traveling throughout the world, I enjoy recording the moment when light, form and composition merge to create a captivating image evocative of a place, a memory, an experience, a feeling, or a desire.


Helene Sobol was born and grew up in Norway. During her teenage years, her family lived in the outskirts of Paris, exposing her to a different culture with its richness in art and architecture. She was drawn to photography during this time and developed an interest in travel photography. Later, while working for the Norwegian State Department, stationed in Brussels, she met her future husband, Sam Sobol. They subsequently moved to Honolulu, followed by San Francisco where she has resided since 1974.

Having begun her studies at the University of Oslo, Norway, and continued at the University of Hawaii, she received her B.A. in Art History from UC Berkeley. She also took photography classes and learned darkroom techniques. In 1979, she opened Images of the North, a gallery specializing in Inuit (Eskimo) art on Union Street in San Francisco. During the ensuing two decades, she devoted herself to the gallery and to her family, raising two children. She retired from her gallery in 2004 to pursue her longtime interest in photography and to develop collections for future exhibitions.  

In 2004, she presented “Skin Deep - The Beauty of Bark”, an exhibition of close ups of tree bark, at the Botanical Garden Library in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. In the spring of 2006, she exhibited “Memories and Moods – Norway Revisited” at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle. She was the coordinator of Nordic 5 Arts, 2005-2015, a Bay Area organization of artists with Nordic heritage, and exhibits her works in their group exhibitions. During the past decade, she has also edited and designed many books, including gallery and artist catalogs. 

As a member of San Francisco Women Artists, her work is included on a regular basis in their monthly juried exhibitions. In October 2015, she introduced the “Thornybush Series”, photographs of wildlife taken at a South African safari game park.