My interest in art began when I was a small child. My mother used to take my sister and me to all the museums in driving distance from our home in Albany, NY, and we would spend afternoons copying paintings first with crayons and then with charcoal and finally, when we were older and more experienced, with pastels. This pretty traditional artistic preparation took an unexpected course once I started making photographs as a teenager. Still, the familiar canvases of my childhood heroes — Sargent, Whistler, Cassatt, Vermeer — have their influences today.

I am interested in making intimate, psychological portraits, where environment plays a large role. For subject matter I use what I have at hand: family, friends, and more recently babies and small children. While the greater themes in my work have been fairly consistent over time the newer subject matter also focuses on the intense and highly charged experience of childhood and having children.

My title, The Home Stage, is a double entendre that alludes to both the home bound lifestyle of families with small children as well as the idea that home is the stage on which children first learn how to live.

—Jessica Todd Harper

Editor’s Note: This series was a finalist in the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2014. Discover all of the winners and finalists — an impressive array of portraits from many points of view.

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