The Bound: Suspension

essay by Stacey D'Erasmo

 Who are they waiting for? The one hanging upside down in the ropes, the ones swathed in black or in white, the one curled inside her globe, the one bound and blindfolded, the one who holds the ends of her own ropes: for what arrival have they prepared themselves with so much precision? The expressions on their faces, or on the place where their faces might be, have a vivid absence...

Read More

The Sleepers: Kind Assassin

essay by John Guare

Elizabeth Heyert's photographs caught me off-guard. I kept looking at them and looking at them. And then I remembered a vivid event that must have happened in the second grade. We read a poem by James Whitcomb Riley, an American, popular in the 19th century and still assigned in the 1940s. The poem was the first time I ever read something...

Read More

The Narcissists

essay by Susan Bright

The oft-cited remark by Richard Avedon that a successful portrait is a moment between sitter and photographer is directly challenged by the work of Elizabeth Heyert. Avedon’s assertion may hold for more traditional approaches to the genre where careful power balances are negotiated and a variety of strategies for performance and pose played out...

Read More

Sleep

by Colm Toibin

I know what you will do when morning comes. I wake before you do and I lie still. I might doze lightly, but mainly I am alert with my eyes open. But I don’t move, I don’t want to disturb you. I can hear your soft calm breathing in sleep and I like that. And then at a certain point you turn towards me without opening your eyes; your hands reach over and they touch my shoulder or my back...

Read More

The Travelers

Tanja Baudoin with Elizabeth Heyert

Mary Caparitia Bush is ready to go to the party. She is wearing a stunning black sequin dress with a pattern of white leaves. Lace gloves and a pink hat with a flower complement the look. Mary’s hair and make-up is done and she seems very content with her appearance. What party is she going to? According to Isaiah Owens, funeral director in Harlem...

Read More

The Sleepers

In Conversation: Elizabeth Heyert and Stacey D'Erasmo

I started the first series I called THE SLEEPERS in 1999 and worked on it until the end of 2000. I had this idea that it would be nice to photograph people sleeping. At first it was my friends in their T-shirts with pillow corners sticking into their eyes. Then I realized I wanted to do people naked and began finding models...

Read More

The Travelers

In Conversation: Elizabeth Heyert and Stacey D'Erasmo

I saw an article in the paper about a funeral director in Harlem named Isaiah Owens who did this old-style, Southern Baptist, traditional burial in which people were dressed up to be prepared to enter paradise. So I went up to Harlem. There was a woman named Betty Edwards...

Read More

The Narcissists

In Conversation: Elizabeth Heyert and Stacey D'Erasmo

After I finished The Sleepers, a series of portraits in which the subjects were fully asleep, I knew I wanted to do the reverse—people at the moment of being completely aware of themselves.  The people in The Sleepers weren't relating to anybody, they were letting out this very interior part of themselves...

Read More