Known for her unconventional approach to portrait photography, most notably her classic trilogy The Sleepers, The Travelers and The Narcissists, American photographer Elizabeth Heyert again assumes her role as observer and voyeur in her latest book, The Outsider, photographed during four trips to China.
Fascinated by the rituals of Chinese amateur photographers, who seem to shoot incessantly, and with an intimacy with their environment that borders on stagecraft, Heyert embarked on a project to photograph the Chinese taking photographs of each other. Few Chinese possess family photographs from the past, as so much was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, which may explain the intensity of the photography she witnessed. She titled the project The Outsider because, as a Westerner in the East, and a stranger in a foreign culture, she allowed herself to be a spectator to the photographer/subject relationship. These are portraits of the Chinese, by the Chinese, observed by Heyert, an eyewitness to the birth of a new collective visual memory.
Published by Sei Swann. Interview by Stacey D'Erasmo.
Best known for her controversial 2005 postmortem portrait series The Travelers, which The New York Times called "a peek... at the vibrant, living face beneath the mask of death," the former architectural photographer Elizabeth Heyert resumes her role as observer and voyeur in this fascinating third volume, The Narcissists. Inspired by the myth of Narcissus, and as a challenge to the Avedon idea that a photograph is about a relationship between two people, Heyert takes us through the looking glass, capturing her subjects unaware through a one-way mirror in a series of 15-minute photo-sessions. The volume includes 24 of those color portraits--a 12 year-old beauty queen dressed as Barbie, an aging male bodybuilder, a bejeweled socialite and a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, among them--caught gazing into their own eyes. This book's design, created by the Amsterdam-based studio Featuring, hinges on Heyert's use of candid triptych close-ups of each portrait, presented in three-panel gatefolds, which reveal subtle inconsistencies amidst the cosmetic perfection of her subjects.
PUBLISHER Sei Swann
BOOK FORMAT Clth, 11 x 14 in. / 124 pgs / 81 color.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 10/31/2009 Out of print
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: FALL 2009 p. 28
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9780615280127TRADE List Price: $60.00 CDN $70.00
Published by Sei Swann. Photographs by Elizabeth Heyert. Contributions by Stacey D'Erasmo.
Do we reveal our hidden, inner self when we sleep? In The Sleepers, Elizabeth Heyert's camera bears witness to moments rarely seen, when our public faĦade has vanished, and we are completely unaware of scrutiny. Working with a large format view camera from a balcony, Heyert documented modern men and women, in all their diversity, sleeping naked, singly and in couples. Against a stark black background, seemingly isolated in space, none of her subjects look like they are sleeping. Instead, freed and transformed by sleep, they appear to be dancing or flying, or in a state of ecstasy or torment. Then, in a startling second step, Heyert traveled to deserted parts of northern Sicily, and working in the dark of night, projected images of the sleeping figures onto ancient, damaged stone, and re-photographed them. With this surprising layering of imagery, what began as a voyeuristic exploration transcends documentation and captures an abstract, timeless essence of humanity. Iconic images emerge from darkness, mythic and heroic, with their deeper meanings dancing on the edge of ambiguous vision.
PUBLISHER Sei Swann
BOOK FORMAT Hardcover, 9.5 x 11.5 in. / 64 pgs / 25 tritone.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 2/2/2003 Out of print
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: SPRING 2003
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9781564661050TRADE List Price: $35.00 CDN $40.00