2017 - Present
Materials: Photography. Wooden frame (hanging).
Size: 5” x 7” (framed)
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Around the time I turned 70 I realized I was no longer perceived as interesting or particularly astute. Still, despite the humiliations of aging, I was caring more about other people and behaving with a more open heart. Of course, it’s true I’m more easily distracted than I used to be, I’ve lost my confidence when physically challenged and dread the predictable memory failures. And it’s also true that all this is visible in my body and the way I carry myself.
I began to work with these feelings and observations through photographing the details of other older women’s faces. After a while it became clear there was something real that was missing, as if there was something protected that I couldn’t see, so I began photographing the women nude. Faces weren’t included because faces categorically draw our attention, and in these pictures I want to see what the body reveals about one’s lifetime and who they are now.
There’s magic in acknowledging and giving an old woman the interest and appreciation our culture reserves for the young. We see each old woman’s life story embedded in her flesh and posture. If this isn’t important, poignant, and beautiful, I don’t know what is.
Nancy's work was selected for the “PEOPLE” group exhibition at FRIEDA (June 2022 – August 2022). She also shared her artistic way of thinking during the talk "The body of work" on June 23, 2022
Nancy Hellebrand’s photographs have been in multiple shows at the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center for Photography, Pace/Macgill Gallery, and elsewhere in New York. Her photographs have been in multiple exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. She had a solo exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In London, she had a solo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and her work has been shown in several group shows at the Tate Gallery. She’s been awarded a Guggenheim and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Hellebrand has taught photography at University of The Arts and Bucks County Community College in PA, Parsons, The New School in New York and Yale University in New Haven and Norfolk, CT.
You can find more of Nancy's work at her website.
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