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Jessica Todd Harper
Jessica Todd Harper
Jessica Todd Harper

Jessica Todd Harper

Country: United States
Birth: 1975

Jessica spent much of her childhood wandering around museums with a sketchbook, copying paintings. This traditional artistic preparation took an unexpected course when she started making photographs as a teenager, but the familiar canvases of her childhood heroes -John Singer Sargent, Whistler, Vermeer- still have their influences today: she is interested in making intimate, psychological portraits, where the environment plays a large role.

Jessica Todd Harper uses portraiture to explore the subtle tensions within daily family interactions and the complexity of human relationships. Her work is grounded in art historical tradition, but with a psychological undercurrent that marks its modernity. A silver medalist in the Prix de la Photographie in Paris (2014), she was an Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition prizewinner (2016) and selected that same year for the Taylor Wessing Portrait competition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Her work will be significantly represented in Kinship, opening at the Smithosonian's National Portrait Gallery in late 2022, and running until 2024. Harper has published two prize-winning books of photography, Interior Exposure (2008) and The Home Stage (2014) (both Damiani Editore). Damiani’s third book of her work, Here, is due out in late 2022.

HERE
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.

Exlusive Interview with Jessica Todd Harper about her Book Here
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Tim Franco
France/Poland
Tim Franco is French-Polish freelance photographer based in Shanghai. Since he first came to China in 2005, Tim Franco got fascinated by the fast social and urban transformation that chinese cities where going through. He has spent some time documenting those growth through urban photography but also by studying social changes, such at the underground art world and the social problems related to the evolutions of the cities. Among his projects is a comprehensive depiction of the growth of the alternative music scene in China and particularly Shanghai. The project was synthesized and published in a book, “Shanghai Soundbites”, released in June 2008 in response to the attitude towards cultural expression manifested in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics. Subsequently, the pictures have been included in numerous news and lifestyle publications both in China and abroad. He now continues his work documenting the urban development of chinese cities and its social impact on the local people. He is also involved in local youth and underground movement both in China and greater asia. Tim Franco is a regular contributor to Le Monde ( newspaper and magazine ), but his work has also been published in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Le Point, NRC, Wiwo, Global Journal, Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, The Fader, CNN online, Time Out, Urban. About the series Vertical Communism Vertical Communism is a long term project about the city of Chongqing. This city, one of the biggest in central china, went through one of the fastest development process in the country. The main reason is, located upstream of the three gorges dam, the government has welcomed all displaced population from submerged region into its main urban areas. The city is fascinating because of its accelerated development that produced high rises buildings on the side of rivers and mountains, taking away the traditional charms of the old Chang Kai Shek capital, but also because of its political and social history. Once at the hand of the biggest organized crime group in China, the city has been re manipulated into a neo communist style red propaganda machine, led by the highly controversial son of a famous revolutionary named Bo Xilai. With his wife now in prison for the murder of a British national, and his personal implication in corruptions and tortures, Bo Xilai has been quickly removed from any government places in China and the city is looking once again for a new direction. I personally see Chongqing as a macro representation of the whole China. With its tumultuous political history and its growing social pressure for managing farmers coming into urban areas for a better life, all of it pushed by a constant need of investments and fast modernization, I wanted to portray this view of a growing china, far away from the common views of eastern cities such as shanghai or Beijing. From a photographic point of view, I have decided to shoot the people in their environment. But i have decided to take a step back, using medium format film camera, I want to transmit the feeling of scales that the city and china in general is facing. Urban Scales, Social Scales, the country's biggest problem is now to find a way to link some extremes the highly rich to the very poor, the extravagant to the meaningful. Vertical Communism is a portrait of Chinese a megapolis full of contradiction, trying to keep up with its unpredictable modernization. Interview with Tim Franco All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Tim Franco: There is not a precise moment. When I was young, I loved writing stories, then my passion became music. I always wanted to share my ideas and vision of things through some mediums at the end it became photography. Where did you study photography? When I was a kid, my artist mother pushed me from one opening to the other, through museums and galleries. At first I hated it, and then became used to it and started to hang out more and more in her studio, until I took away her old cameras , I have learn through experience, other photographers and reading tutorials. How could you describe your style? Photographers tend to be classified, put into boxes, commercial photographer, photojournalists, artists, etc. I never really know how to classify my work. What I love is telling stories, document facts with an artistic esthetic to it. I also enjoy working on creative commercial assignments. I always try to stay simple in the esthetic and subtle about the story. What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? For my personal work, I really enjoy medium format. When I see something, most of the time, I ideally want to frame it in square. I don't really like naming brands, they all have different feeling and esthetic and it really depends the look you want to give your image. To name a few I personally work with Hasselblad and old rolleiflex. For commercial work, I use Canon because of their price and availability in terms of lenses.> Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? When shooting film, I usually spend very little time editing, just cleaning dust on films and other small details. When shooting commercial work on digital its another story. Clients are very specific about what they want and color out of raw files needs to go through extensive treatment. My photo agency works with a retouching studio for most of our commercial projects. What advice would you give a young photographer? Those days, its very easy to call yourself a photographer, grab a camera , a couple of nice prime lenses and you can get some good images. But I think young photographers should really focus on what are they trying to say with their images. What makes a great photo is not the instant esthetic of it but the impact that image will have on its viewer. An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? One of the main project I worked on for the past year is about one particular city in China called Chongqing. Since 2009, I am going there quite frequently, at the beginning for some press assignments since the city have seen lot of interesting political stories and turmoils but also because it fascinates me. Both from an esthetic point of view and from its stories. This giant megapolis has been forcly populated with countryside people and has now a very hard time to deal its urbanization. "I personally see Chongqing as a macro representation of the whole China. With its tumultuous political history and its growing social pressure for managing farmers coming into urban areas for a better life, all of it pushed by a constant need of investments and fast modernization, I wanted to portray this view of a growing china, far away from the common views of eastern cities such as shanghai or beijing. From a photographic point of view, I have decided to shoot the people in their environment. But I have decided to take a step back, using medium format film camera, I want to transmit the feeling of scales that the city and china in general is facing. Urban Scales, Social Scales, the country's biggest problem is now to find a way to link some extremes the highly rich to the very poor, the extravagant to the meaningful. Vertical Communism is a portrait of chinese a megapolis full of contradiction, trying to keep up with its unpredictable modernization." Your best and worst memory as a photographer? Being a professional photographers gives you a chance to go to many great places and meet amazing people. Sometimes the best memory is all the instants that led you to take a particular photo, the untold stories. What happened in the discussion you had with the person you were about to portray, how did you get to this fantastic point of view etc. For worst memory there is always issues of dealing with authorities, this large gap of misunderstanding between the photographer wanting to tell a story and a person not allowing you to shoot. This is always very annoying. More about METAMORPOLIS More about UNPERSON
John Simmons
United States
1950
John Simmons is a multi-talented artist whose work has spanned across decades. Born in Chicago and coming of age during the Civil Rights Era, Simmons' photography started at the peak of political and racial tension of the 1960s, mentored by a well known Chicago Civil Rights photographer, Bobby Sengstacke. After completing an undergraduate degree from Fisk University in art and photography, Simmons went on to study cinematography at the University of Southern California, and then to move to LA, where he currently lives. In 2004, Simmons was inducted into the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and now serves as Vice President and as co-chair of the ASC Vision Committee. He is also on the Board of Governors of the Television Academy, working to increase diversity on-set, and taught at UCLA for 26 years before leaving to focus on his photography. Simmons has also filmed music videos and commercials for artists such as Stevie Wonder, Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg and many more. As a filmmaker, Simmons has collaborated with industry giants such as Spike Lee and Debbie Allen, and has served as the Director of Photography for more than 25 television series. Simmons earned an Emmy for his work on Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn. Outside of the aforementioned exhibits, his photographs are also held at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Center for Creative Photography, the David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland, and Harvard University, where they exhibited in "Time is Now: Photography and Social Change in James Baldwin's America" at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. His work is also in the permanent collection of the ASC. Exclusive Interview with John Simmons
Beverly  Conley
United States
Beverly Conley is a documentary photographer in Benicia, California. She has found true satisfaction in long-term self assigned projects that have focused on individuals and contemporary society. Her quest has allowed her to enter the private world of Gypsies in England, the Cherokee Nation in Northeastern Oklahoma, steelworkers in Weirton, West Virginia and the Cape Verdean Communities in Boston and the Cape Verde Islands. Solo exhibitions include the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum in Arkansas, the Black Arts Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Museum of Native American History and Culture in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Boston Public Library and the George Meany Center for Labor. Her work has been featured in juried exhibitions and group shows such as the Festival of American Folklife at the Smithsonian Institution and the Cleveland Museum of Art. She is represented in numerous permanent collections including the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of London, the New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Boston Public Library, the Museum of Native American History and Culture in Bentonville, Arkansas and the Cleveland Public Library. Beverly is the recipient of a 2002 Michigan Creative Artist Grant and she has received awards from the Utah Press Association, the International Regional Magazine Association and an excellence award by Black and White Magazine for their 2017 Special Issue. She is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). Life in the Ozarks: An Arkansas Portrait My ongoing project began in 2003 with a drive down a rural country road. I had recently moved to Fayetteville and was anxious to explore my new surroundings. The resulting images tell the stories of people, events and everyday life in and around small towns in the rugged Ozark Mountains. They represent different aspects of these communities – young and old, recent immigrants, preachers, cowboys, farmers and those whose families have lived in the Ozarks for generations. I am interested in documenting the vestiges of an older Ozarks. There is a sense of timelessness that I want to convey in my work. I am drawn to the less travelled back roads where catfish are caught bare-handed, folks gather on porches to play bluegrass and subsistence farming is still in existence. Living and photographing in the same place gave me the opportunity to observe the changes of a region in transition. Northwest Arkansas experienced tremendous growth in the last decade with rural communities inching closer and closer to cities. I really imagined this unique Arkansas heritage would be lost. What I have since discovered is the resilience and self- sufficiency of a complex culture that stands with one foot in the present and the other in the past. An individual might have a day job at a Walmart but returns to a hand built home and the traditions of the 'holler' at night. Through these photographs and words it is my intention to preserve and share the richness of this Southern way of life with a broader audience. Life in the Ozarks: An Arkansas Portrait Appleby Horse Fair: The Annual Gathering of Gypsies & Travellers Smithfield Market
Mark Tuschman
United States
Over the years I have become more motivated to use my photography to communicate in a more socially conscious way—in a way that exposes people to both the degree of human suffering that exists in today’s world and to the courage and fortitude that people manifest to overcome it. In my travels I can easily imagine that I could have been born into completely different circumstances and my worldview would have been radically different, having been influenced by a completely, radically dissimilar environment and culture. Indeed, I know I have been privileged and fortunate to have been born into an affluent culture with tremendous opportunities. I believe that it is especially important for people in our society to understand other cultures and the enormous difficulties that people in other countries face daily in order to simply survive. The human condition is wrought with great uncertainty and suffering, and yet the human spirit and the hope for a better life can grow stronger in the face of adversity. I am constantly inspired by the profound fortitude of people living in difficult conditions and the empathy and commitment of the many who give counsel and aid to those less fortunate. I believe it as my moral obligation to use whatever talents I have as a photographer to transcend our limited worldviews and to help bridge the gap between cultures of affluence and poverty. Photography is a universal language and it is my hope that my images will move viewers to respond not only with empathy, but also with action. It is my intention to photograph people with compassion and dignity in the hope of communicating our interrelatedness. In the words of Sebastiao Salgado whose work I greatly admire, “If you take a picture of a human that does not make him noble, there is no reason to take this picture. That is my way of seeing things.”
David Pace
United States
1951 | † 2020
David Pace is a Bay Area photographer and curator. He received his MFA from San Jose State University in 1991. He has taught photography at San Jose State University, San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University, where he served as Resident Director of SCU's study abroad program in West Africa from 2009 - 2013. Pace photographed in the small sub-Saharan country of Burkina Faso annually from 2007-2016, documenting daily life in Bereba, a remote village without electricity or running water. His work has been exhibited internationally. His African photographs of the Karaba Brick Quarry are featured in the 2019 Venice Biennale in a group show entitled "Personal Structures" organized by the European Cultural Center. His book Images In Transition, a collaboration with gallerist Stephen Wirtz, was published in the spring of 2019 by Schilt Publishing. "Through my photography I want to express to a broad audience what it's like to live in West Africa. The Western media typically shows only the negative side of life in Africa, highlighting war, famine, genocide, and illness. This perspective is newsworthy but it is incomplete and misleading. It fails to capture the richness and complexity of life in small villages where a large percentage of West Africans live and work. Most live simple, meaningful lives. My photography in the remote village of Bereba and the surrounding region portrays a story of life in the community that is largely positive. My work projects a view that may be at odds with the more common perspective, but is no less accurate or realistic. I am committed to communicating the realities of life in West Africa to challenge the negativity that too frequently pervades the images we see." David Pace About Sur La Route
Christian Werner
Germany
1987
Christian Werner is a freelance multimedia/photojournalist based in Boitzum, Germany. As a teenager he developed his interest in photography while traveling to foreign countries. In 2014 he graduated the photojournalism & documentary photography course at the University of Applied Sciences in Hannover. His main interests are social diversity and global political issues. The areas of interest is mainly the arabic world and culture. Chris worked in various countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and South America. His work has been exhibited internationally. He welcomes assignments local and overseas. Since 2012, Christian is represented by Agency Laif. Source: World Press Photo Chris, born in 1987, studied from 2009 to 2014 photojournalism and documentary photography at the University of Hanover. He works as a freelance photojournalist and published his photos and stories, among others, in Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post and many more. From 2012 -2016 Christian Werner was represented by the German reportage agency laif. In late 2016 Chris is represented by Zeitenspiegel. His photographic focus is the processing of social injustice, conflicts and geopolitical issues. His work has been awarded several times and frequently exhibited internationally. In 2015 Chris participated at the World Press Joop Swart Mastercalss in Amsterdam. 2016 Chris has been chosen in the 30 under 30 Europe Forbes List in the Media category. In late summer 2016 he begins working with MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station). Chris worked in various countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and South America. Artist Statement "Rubble and Delusion - A Journey Through Assad's Syria With the fall of Aleppo, the regime of Bashar Assad once again controls the country's second-largest city. But is reconciliation possible in the country? A journey through the dictator's rump state. Our journey leads us to the three largest cities in northern and western Syria: Aleppo, Latakia and Homs. Aleppo has become symbolic of the brutal bombing campaign. Latakia, the regime stronghold on the Mediterranean, was largely untouched by the war and is still a popular vacation spot in the summer. And Homs, once the center of the uprising, was destroyed and is now slated to become a model of reconstruction."
Ralf Peters
Germany
1960
In the series "24 Hours" Peters reflects on the moment of simultaneousness. He dissolves the visual antagonism between the moment before and afterwards in each image. The works represent the light cycle of one day, starting from the left at night, passing daylight and ends again in the darkness of the night. The time states are not superimposed one upon the other but set side by side. In an extraordinary technique Ralf Peters obtains that the transition of the different daytimes is shown as in fast motion and is continued without any cuts, but can be noticed in the brightness and the illumination of the motif. Day and night are united in one image and at the same time, appearing invisible and visible. The variety of subjects going from exotic landscapes to cool architecture allows a reflection about our own world and foreign surroundings referring to a superior relationship of time and space. (Source: Diana Lowenstein Gallery) Ralf Peters is a conceptual photographer who creates visual studies of places and objects, often in thematic series. Playfully navigating between fantasy and reality, Peters manipulates digital images to challenge the viewer’s conception of traditional photography, raising the question as to whether something is a realistic rendering or a skillfully manipulated vision. Through the creation of portraits of everyday locations like supermarkets, gas stations, and swimming pools, Peters explores the possibilities for the photographic medium. Manipulating the focus, lighting, and composition of his images, Peters creates photographs that obscure the traditional notion of capturing an individual’s perspective on reality, favoring, instead, constructed works that comment on the aesthetic relationship we have to our surrounding environment. Peters’s works have been shown at notable institutions including the Hamburg Kunsthalle and Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo. (Source: Art Space) Represented by: Diana Lowenstein Gallery Galerie Kornfeld Galerie Bernhard Knaus Fine Art Galerie Martin Mertens Galerie Andres Thalmann
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