Photography has been Heyert's passion since she was 16. It led her to the Royal College of Art in London, where she studied with Bill Brandt, and back to New York where she wrote her first photography book, and established an international reputation as an architectural photographer. She first captured the attention of the art world with a decade-long body of work, her photographic trilogy of experimental portraits, THE SLEEPERS, THE TRAVELERS, and THE NARCISSISTS. Her two most recent projects, THE BOUND, and THE OUTSIDER, have just been completed.
After shooting around the world for publications such as The New York Times, New York Magazine, American and British Vogue, Elle Décor, and Architectural Digest, and for clients including Ralph Lauren, Cartier, American Express, and Tiffany & Co., Heyert's successful 20 year career allowed her to close her commercial studio, to return to a more personal exploration of photography. She began experimenting with unconventional forms of portrait photography. Within three years she was offered her first one-person show of THE SLEEPERS, which opened at the Edwynn Houk gallery in New York.
THE SLEEPERS, a series of monumental toned black and white portraits of sleeping nudes, is a meditation on the mystical world of sleep and the naked emotions of the unconscious. Reviewing the exhibit, The New Yorker wrote that the photographs: "conjure thoughts of human fragility and impermanence even if the sleepers have become heroic sculptures rising from a deep slumber." Sei Swann/D.A.P. published a monograph of THE SLEEPERS, with an essay inspired by the works written by the playwright John Guare.
Heyert's obsession with sleep and oblivion led her inevitably to photograph THE TRAVELERS, a series of large-scale color post-mortem portraits. Unlike most post-mortem photographs, Heyert presents the dead as she would the living, beautifully dressed against a black background with the traditional lighting of a formal portrait. First exhibited in a one-person show at the Edwynn Houk gallery in New York, the photographs stirred discussion and controversy. In a feature article about the works, the New York Times described them as a "peek below the surface at the vibrant, living face beneath the mask of death." Her book, THE TRAVELERS, was named by PHOTO EYE as one of the best photography books of the year.
Photo Credit: Nina Subin