Mirja Maria Thiel, born in Hamburg, Germany in 1971, studied American, English and German Literature and Linguistics at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany. She finished her studies with a Master’s thesis exploring the "Grotesque Worldview and Mythical Consciousness in Selected Works of American Poetress Sylvia Plath". Thereafter she worked for the literary publishing houses’ editorial departments at Suhrkamp and Schöffling & Co as well as for the image editorial department of the World Wide Fund for Nature, all situated in Frankfurt a. M. From 2006 until 2010 she lived with her family in the countryside between Appenzell and St. Gallen in Switzerland.
The experience of motherhood has intensified her enduring interest in storytelling as a means of rising to challenge, living with change and empathising with humanity’s vulnerability. Since 2014 Mirja has been a student on the degree program (B.A.) „Photojournalism and Documentary Photography“ at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover, Germany.
She took photography workshops with Darcy Padilla, Rob Hornstra, Vanessa Winship and Tanzim Wahab. Next to local photojournalism Mirja works primarily on personal long-term documentary projects. She lives with her husband and their three children close to Bremen in Northern Germany.