Jessica Todd Harper: Interior Exposure
By Jessica Todd Harper and Sarah Anne McNear.
112 pages. Damiani.
Like Tina Barney's iconic images of her New England clan, Jessica Todd Harper's family photos seem distanced and intimate, posed and spontaneous, revealing and mysterious. Paging through Interior Exposure (Damiani), we meet Harper, her husband, and an assortment of startlingly attractive relatives and friends. We become the unseen spectators in the bedroom and the kitchen, at unguarded moments and formal occasions. Mingling humor (one photo shows Harper standing rigidly as her seated fiancé and "my future in-laws" look on) and tenderness (in another, Harper's sister lies beside their elderly grandfather in bed), these pictures rely on details of gesture, body language, and dress to tell us volumes about one family and every family, and to raise more questions than they answer. Why does the shot of Harper and her husband sharing a clementine over the sink seem so sexually charged? Why are the guests at the Christmas Eve dinner wearing those paper hats? Regardless of how different our households are from Jessica Todd Harper's, her haunting pictures remind us how much and how little we understand about the people we know and love best.