Born in 1973, Cig Harvey is a British photographer who grew up in Devon and began taking photographs aged thirteen. However, it wasn’t until 1999, when she moved to America to begin her MFA in photography that she rst used photography as a tool to explore her personal experiences. She began to take photographs ‘about’ things instead simply ‘of ’ things.
Harvey developed a method of storytelling that delved into her own past, revealing personal insights through her photographs. This resulted in her work taking a signi cant turning point and Harvey began telling her own stories, rather than other peoples’. Often highly orchestrated, Harvey’s early works created a fantasy version of her own life experiences. Using herself as a model, each image was self-referential and was meticulously mapped out to include speci c metaphors, objects and symbols. As her work progressed Harvey introduced increasing amounts of spontaneity and has branched out to include other models, such as neighbours, her daughter and husband.
Through all of her work, though photography has been a tool that Harvey has used to revisit and understand the events in her own life. She has stated her intentions were to ‘try to make order out of chaos and beauty out of pain.’ Her work continues to be devoted to visual storytelling and has evolved in conjunction with her own personal life. It now focuses on the present rather than the past. In Harvey’s most recent work, which focuses on her home town in Maine, everyday events are made to appear unusual. Unexplained light, strange colour combinations and unfamiliar settings result in an ordinary portrait or scene becoming unsettling or other worldly.
Harvey has published three monographs, You Look At Me Like An Emergency, 2012, Gardening at Night, 2015 and most recently You An Orchestra, You A Bomb, which is being released this coming November, all published by Schilt Publishing, The Netherlands. Harvey’s work has also been displayed at Paris Photo, Art Miami, and AIPAD photography fairs every year since 2006. She has been a nominee for the John Gutmann fellowship and the Santa Fe Prize, and a nalist for the BMW Prize at Paris Photo and for the Prix Virginia, an international photography prize for women.