Being Women: Cig Harvey shares new work with The New York Times


For the second consecutive year, The New York Times has selected six poems by women and asked photographers to let the poems inspire their work as part of the publication’s Being Women: Poetry and Imagery initiative. The photographer’s challenge was to interpret poetry in visual form; responding to enduring themes which speak to the malleable nature of both mediums. Kerri MacDonald, staff editor at The New York Times, expressed an interest in the theme of collaboration which arose during the project:

“Maddie McGarvey and Annie Flanagan worked together to shoot a series of composite images, exploring the ways in which people might feel confined by their bodies and society. Nydia Blas worked with a group of teenagers in Ithaca, N.Y., to create what she calls a ‘disjointed magical narrative’. And Cig Harvey photographed her daughter, both a subject and a collaborator.”

Harvey was given the poem Edge by Oglala Lakota poet, writer and artist Layli Long Soldier. Long Soldier is the author of Chromosomory (2010) and Whereas (2017), which won the National Books Critics Circle award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Whereas interrogates poetic form and the legacy of a history of brutality and extermination, considering the ways in which Native American identity is expressed both on the page and in words.

Harvey’s continuing photographic exploration of universal elements of the human experience including love, loss and belonging have led the artist to use both her daughter and husband as models essential to her visual narratives. The poem Edge expresses the conscious sentiment of everyday life shared between mother and child, which Harvey has described as ‘an elevated everyday… As if Layli Long Soldier took all my daily car rides with my daughter Scout and distilled them into nine lines.’

You can view the works produced, along with the poems which inspired them, here.

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