Jessica Todd Harper

Commended
Merion Station, PA
Becky, June, Jessica, and Mary
Pigment print, 2013
Collection of the artist, courtesy of Rick Wester Fine Art, New York City

 

Jessica Todd Harper’s childhood memories include spending hours wandering around museums with her mother, captivated by portraits and depictions of interior views of family life by painters such as Johannes Vermeer, John Singer Sargent, and Mary Cassatt. She says, “I wanted to be just like … Cassatt and … Sargent; those were the artists I would copy a lot as a child. I think those images got very much stuck in my psyche.” After studying and copying these artists with crayons and later pastels, she turned to photography. In staging her photographs, Harper found that the environment plays a significant role in the psychological effects of her family portraits, particularly the experiences of parenting and childhood. A mother herself, she reveals the raw emotions of parenting young children, from sleep deprivation and stress to joy and comfort.