Published by Damiani. Text by Bo Bartlett. Interview with Russ Roberts.
Like 17th-century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Pennsylvania-based photographer Jessica Todd Harper (born 1975) looks for the value in everyday moments. The characters in her imagery are the people around her—friends, herself, family—but it is not so much they who are important as the way in which they are organized and lit by Harper. A woman helping her child practice the piano is not a particularly sacred moment, but as in a Vermeer painting, the way the composition and lighting influence the content suggests that perhaps it is. This collection of photographs presented in Harper's third monograph makes use of what is right in front of the artist, what is here, a place that many of us came to contemplate especially during the pandemic. Beauty, goodness and truth can reveal themselves in daily life, as in the Dutch paintings of everyday domestic scenes that are somehow lit up with mysterious import. Harper shows how our unexamined or even seemingly dull surroundings can sometimes be illuminating.