February 7 – April 2, 2019
I am a self-described wallflower, rooted in the private mysteries of home and family. My images are my story, as told by a mostly reliable narrator. The subjects I photograph are gathered from my immediate surroundings: my children, our beloved dog, household artifacts, and the natural world outside our door. Individually, each image is a story in itself. Taken as a whole, this work is a fable of motherhood, love, and the inevitability of loss.
Though my pictures are personal documents of my life as I imagine it, I construct each vignette to be allegorical. I build scenes like miniature stage sets, often tucked into quiet corners of my house, using the natural light of a hallway window to illuminate them. While my themes come out of my experience watching my children grow up and away, I try to avoid specific references to our time or place. An antique bowl and the collar of a soldier’s uniform are clues to my history, but they are not meant to lead all viewers to the same conclusion. My subjects are commonplace, but I make them iconic through carefully balanced compositions. The inherent stillness of this formality is often contradicted by a sense of impending drama. My work is meant to be deceptively calm and forcefully serene. I like the underlying tensions at play and the uncertainty they create: formality versus familiarity, the mix of the real with make believe, the mundane made beautiful.
Inevitably, each of these quiet moments will slip away, leaving the image as proof of an enduring narrative. Within families there are moments of intimacy and solitude. The present is continually falling into the past. Love and loss are inextricably linked. -JH
Jackie Heitchue’s nomadic childhood spanned the country, from the suburbs of Los Angeles to Ohio and Virginia. Finally settling in New England with her husband and children, the move felt like a homecoming, a sentiment borne out by a newly unearthed family lineage of Puritans, indentured servants, and an unfortunate Salem witch. Ruminating over these historic connections while engrossed in the daily minutia of child-rearing, Jackie became fascinated with the universal themes of family and motherhood that connect one generation to the next. She began photographing her son and daughter as they grew and changed over the years. While her images are deeply personal, they also stand as allegories for the milestones that all families traverse.
Heitchue has worked as a photographer most of her life. After graduating with a BFA from the Corcoran School of Art, she was an award-winning photojournalist for a chain of newspapers in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. From there, she worked as a master printer at the Library of Congress, and taught photography to high school students in Virginia. Her current work has shown in several galleries in New England, including a solo show at the Griffin Museum of Photography. Farther afield, her work was selected for publication and exhibition in the Portfolio Showcase at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado. She has also shown at the Southeast Center for Photography in South Carolina and the Candela Gallery in Virginia.