Heather Evans Smith: The Heart and The Heavy
Portrait week continues…today’s post written by Sarah Stankey.
The first time that I saw the photographs of Heather Evans Smith was when I first started working on Lenscratch and I was putting together one of the large group exhibitions that the site hosts. I immediately visited her website and loved what I saw. Heather’s work is both technically and conceptually brilliant. This work is transportive and cinematic.
Heather is an award-winning fine art and conceptual portrait photographer based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her work captures both the everyday and the whimsical, telling stories of women and struggle, reality and the surreal. Smith’s work has been featured in solo and joint exhibitions, magazines, literary journals and online publications. She conducts creativity workshops around the country. Recently, she was chosen as winner of Ron Howard’s Project Imaginat10n. In the fall of 2013 her winning image will be brought to life in a short film directed by Jamie Foxx.
Life is full of stories – some deeply personal and specific, others universally relatable. My story is beautiful and complicated and bittersweet and hard. Life is just that way. So are photographs. The birth of my daughter was life-changing, but not in the way I expected. Though there has been no greater joy for me, the responsibility of another life has proven to be at times a heavy load. Thinking about this in a literal sense, I imagined a heavy home on my shoulders, yet held tightly with love – a burden and a joy, a challenge and a reprieve. This became the first image in the series The Heart and the Heavy. From there the stories evolved, just as my life has. The genesis of an image comes from moments of life, like a still from an old movie. Movement and pain and the simple joys of being alive are frozen in time – a study of fictional worlds based in reality. Compelled to shoot these stories, I am haunted for days and months until it is released in an image.