Jessica Todd Harper
My interest in art began when I was a small child. My mother used to take my sister and me to all the museums in driving distance from our home in Albany, New York and we would spend afternoons copying paintings first with crayons and then with charcoal and finally, when we were older and more experienced, with pastels. This traditional artistic preparation took an unexpected course once I started making photographs as a teenager but the familiar canvases of my childhood heroes- John Singer Sargent, Whistler, Vermeer- still have their influences today: I am interested in making intimate, psychological portraits, where environment plays a large role. For subject matter I use what I have at hand: family, friends, and more recently- babies and small children. While the greater themes in my work have been fairly consistent over time the newer subject matter also focuses on the intense and highly charged experience of childhood and having children. My latest book The Home Stage came out in November 2014. The title is a double entendre; it references the stage in life when a young family is anchored to the home and also explores the way the home is the first stage on which children learn how to live.
The Home Stage opened in New York at Rick Wester Fine Art 2014-2015 and traveled to Nantes, France at Galerie Confluence in 2016. Jessica's work is a 2016 prizewinner for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery “best of contemporary portraiture” Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Her work was also chosen to be exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery in London, UK for their 2016 “best of contemporary photographic portraiture” show the Taylor Wessing Portrait Competition. Harper’s images are featured in Thames and Hudson’s new anthology Family Photography Now (2016) and are on view at the McNay Museum's Telling Tales: Contemporary Narrative Photography until 2017. Jessica's work recently appeared in museums across the country in Masterpieces of American Photography, George Eastman Museum’s traveling exhibit of work from their collection.
The sold out Interior Exposure (Damiani 2008) and her latest book The Home Stage (Damiani 2014) were both first place prizewinners in the International Photography Awards and won recognition from sources as varied as Oprah Magazine, PDN, CNN, The New Yorker, Book Forum and the NY Photo Festival. Harper received her BA in history of art from Bryn Mawr College and her MFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has taught at The ICP, Haverford College and Swarthmore College. Harper is represented by Rick Wester Fine Art in New York and Galerie Confluence in Nantes, France.
Exhibited at: George Eastman House of International Museum of Photography and Film; Houston Museum of Fine Arts; New Orleans Museum of Art; Blue Sky Gallery in Portland; Paul Kopeikin Gallery in L.A.; Cohen Amador Gallery in NYC; The Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle; Photographic Resource Center in Boston.
Plan B, New York Magazine, Newsweek, Martha Stewart Living, O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple