PHOTOGRAPHER MONOGRAPHS

PUBLISHER
Damiani

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Hardcover, 11 x 9.5 in. / 112 pgs / illustrated throughout.

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Catalog: FALL 2014 p. 45   

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ISBN 9788862083645 TRADE
List Price: $45.00 CDN $55.00

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DAMIANI

Jessica Todd Harper: The Home Stage

Foreword by Alain de Botton. Text by Alison Nordström.

"Self Portrait with Marshall" (2008) is reproduced from <I>Jessica Todd Harper: The Home Stage</I>.Though Jessica Todd Harper (born 1975) uses a camera rather than a paintbrush, the viewer quickly senses in her images the familiar canvases of Sargent, Whistler and Vermeer. Harper's naturalistic images pause or recreate real life for the camera; the play between the often-formal environment and her subjects--intimately portrayed family members--creates images that seem at once intimate and artificial. Her latest collection is thus aptly called The Home Stage, a double entendre that references the home-bound lifestyle of families with small children as well as the idea that home is the stage on which children first learn to live. With her elegant compositions, unique color palette and skillful handling of light, Harper transforms every room and yard into a stage set. No detail is left untouched by her eye: even the wallpaper that recedes into darkness bears symbolic significance. Somehow both private and universal, Harper's photography is genuine, tender, uninhibited and, at times, humorous, demonstrating the emotional range of the finest actor and director and drawing strong performances from her supporting cast--her husband, her children, her sister, extended family and friends. Harper's photographs have been reviewed in The New Yorker, Photo District News, Camera Austria, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and other publications, and she has taught at the International Center of Photography and Swarthmore College. She lives in Philadelphia.

"Self Portrait with Marshall" (2008) is reproduced from Jessica Todd Harper: The Home Stage.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

The New Yorker

The Editors

This young mother of three photographs herself and her extended family at home, exploring motherhood, childhood, and intimacy in color pictures that feel more staged than spontaneous. Though the territory is familiar (Tina Barney, Sally Mann, and Elinor Carucci come to mind), Harper’s approach is quietly assured, and she has a sharp eye for the cozy details of domesticity. There are no tantrums or tensions here; Harper is interested in comfort and pleasure—and in the play of light in her handsomely appointed interiors. If you’re looking for gritty realism, go elsewhere.

Photo-eye

David Ondrik

The images are so well done that they should engage even those who are not usually seduced by pastoral photographs of charming urchins and glowing parents.Part of the book’s allure is the stylistic homage to the Northern Renaissance: the colors, the arrangement of her subjects, and the rich props have antecedents in van Eyck and Vermeer. Harper is an ace at directing her subjects and although some images are formal they are not stiff. The light is almost a secondary subject in many images. The cynic in me hesitated to fall for the various sun-halos on principle. But they work. As in the Renaissance, the light in these artworks really is 'the bringer of beauty, of sublime dignity'.

CNN.com

Benazir Wehelie

Pablo Picasso once asked: "Are we to paint what's on the face, what's inside the face or what's behind it?" Jessica Todd Harper's photo book "The Home Stage" does all three simultaneously.

Bookforum

The Editors

Harper spent hours of her own childhood copying Sargents and vermeers, influences quite apparent in these light-filled images, which often, as in Chistopher with Nicholas and Catherine (Descent from the Cross), 2009, hold the sense of an artful composition in tension with that of intruding on a passing family moment.

Jessica Todd Harper: The Home Stage

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 11/26/2014

Jessica Todd Harper: The Home Stage

Jessica Todd Harper: The Home Stage

"Christopher with Nicholas and Catherine (Descent from the Cross)" (2009) is reproduced from Jessica Todd Harper: The Home Stage. Alain de Botton writes, "Jessica Todd Harper is one of the greats at work today because of what her images do for us. Let me explain: one of our major flaws is that we find it hard to take note of what is always around while longing restlessly for what lies out of reach. Harper works with ordinary life in the family, an especially poignant subject, because marriage and life with children are always buffeted and frustrated by inescapable difficulties. A good enough family life is still one shot through with conflict. We may take little note of daily life with our family members and our surroundings because we rest assured that we have already seen them clearly enough. But Harper opens our eyes. She recognizes the worth of a modes moment and marshalls her generous to bring its qualities to our notice. Her astonishing, beautiful and quietly stunning images proudly contradict our prejudices by foregrounding all that we are likely to have missed." continue to blog


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