"Elizabeth Heyert's photographs are about the inner lives of others. She creates modern, unconventional portraits--of sleeping figures, of the dead, of people in empty rooms staring into a mirror, or transported through hypnosis or bondage. They show us the unknowable side of human nature and encourage us not to look away."

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. After shooting around the world for publications such as The New York Times,  Vogue, 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 to experiment with a unique form of portraiture that emphasized inner emotion rather than pose or appearance. She first captured the attention of the art world with a decade-long body of work, her photographic trilogy THE SLEEPERS, THE TRAVELERS, and THE NARCISSISTS.

With THE TRAVELERS, her radical series of large-scale, post-mortem portraits, Heyert achieved worldwide recognition. 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 humanity in the photographs touched a universal chord. In the years following their debut they continue to be extensively exhibited, collected, and reviewed, and to provoke fascination and controversy. The New York Times described them as a "peek below the surface at the vibrant, living face beneath the mask of death." Heyert’s book, THE TRAVELERS, named by PHOTO EYE and others as one of the best photography books of the year, remains a collectors item.

Heyert continues to push the parameters of portraiture in recent projects including THE BOUND, which explores the body as a site for experimentation, meditation, and transformation, and THE OUTSIDER, a conceptual portrait project shot in China. In her latest series, THE IDOL, she examines religion and popular culture, and the ways

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Nina Subin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


society creates myths and false images about women. A selection of photographs from THE IDOL premiered at the 2019 Venice Biennale.

Heyert's photographs are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and numerous private collections. Her work has been reviewed in international publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Times London, Le Monde, The Guardian, and Stern and in contemporary publications such as AnOther, The Brooklyn Rail, Dazed and Confused, and The Drawbridge. She won Outstanding Photographer awards from Ogilvy in the UK, and Nikon in the US.

Her photographs have been featured in important international exhibitions: at the Hayward Gallery in London; in Darkside II at Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland; in Austria in Reflections of the Human Condition; in a solo museum show at the Malmo Museer in Sweden. In the Netherlands, 18 life size prints of THE TRAVELERS were exhibited as the sole inhabitants of a small island, accessible only through an ancient stone tunnel, in an installation entitled IN MEMORIAM. Her works have also been the subject of television programs by ARD Kulturweltspiegel in Germany, and by TVE Spain, by National Public Radio, and featured in The New York Times, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, El Mundo, The Guardian, and Caijing Magazine, among others.

THE BOUND, Heyert's limited edition artist’s book of photogravures, was recenty acquired by the Beinecke Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Yale University. Damiani Editore published THE OUTSIDER, her latest book, in October 2017. A short list of her other books of and about photography includes: THE TRAVELERS (Scalo), the award winning book from her series;  THE SLEEPERS (Sei Swann/DAP);  THE NARCISSISTS (Silvana Editoriale);  METROPOLITAN PLACES (Viking Studio Books/Mondadori), one of the classic anthologies of 20th century interior design which she wrote and photographed;  and THE GLASS-HOUSE YEARS (Allanheld & Schram), a history of 19th century portrait photography.

Heyert's studio is in Chelsea, New York. She lives in Greenwich Village.