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Jessica Todd Harper February 5, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.

Mary Ann, Marshall and Becky. USA 2012

Jessica Todd Harper (b. 1975, USA) spent hours of her childhood wandering around museums looking at depictions of interior and family life by painters such as Mary Cassatt, Vermeer, John Singer Sargent and John White Alexander. After a childhood of copying these masters with crayons and later pastels, she turned to photography and started looking at the families around her. The sold out “Interior Exposure” (Damiani 2008) won recognition from sources as varied as Oprah Magazine, PDN, and the Lucie Awards.  Her latest book “The Home Stage” was recently published and with many painterly references, looks at family life with young children. Jessica’s work is collected by museums and appears regularly in publications ranging from Die Zeit to Real Simple. She is represented by Rick Wester Fine Art.

About the Photograph:

“This is a portrait of my cousin, my sister, an ancestor from four  generations ago and my ketchup stained little boy. We were all gathered for cocktails and dinner at my uncle’s house, a space where the family members from the past simply take up a lot of wall space. So it is likely that wherever you are, there is a painting of an ancestor in the background. This photograph is part of my book The Home Stage, that explores the home environment and life with small children in my family and friends’ families. In this particular image of multiple generations, I am reminded how much our environments and the stories we hear about our families influence us. The ancestor in the painting, Mary Ann, is shown at the age of 16. Hers is a tragic story as she died in the Arctic, the biggest steamship disaster before the Titanic.  I grew up hearing about the adventures and tragedies of long ago family as if they were still with us.  And sometimes, as in this photograph, it is almost as if they are”.