By Heather Marcus
August 3, 2019
A native of England and an alumna of Maine Media Workshops, Cig Harvey is well established as a fine art photographer thanks in part to her three sold-out monographs, including You an Orchestra You a Bomb (Schilt Publishing, 2017). She is also the winner of the 2018 Prix Virginia, an international award for excellence among professional women photographers.
Harvey recently took another notable career step with the opening of her first solo museum show in the U.S., “Eating Flowers: Sensations of Cig Harvey,” at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Ogunquit, Maine. Having opened July 18, the exhibit continues through October 31.
In the meantime, Yankee caught up with Harvey, who lives and works in Rockport, Maine, for a quick Q&A.
What’s your connection to New England?
I came to Maine in 1999 to study at Maine Media Workshops, and it was an instant love affair with the landscape. In many ways, Maine reminds me of where I grew up in Devon, in the southwest of England. I love cities, but I am not inspired to make work there. I need to be surrounded by nature to think and make. I love the ocean and the lakes of Maine. I walk in the woods every day. Photography makes me appreciate the world more, reminding me that it is beautiful.
How did you get into photography?
I started working in a community darkroom on Saturdays at the age of 13. I fell in love with the alchemy and magic of it all. I am still so in love with this medium. It never fails to surprise me. I make work about the everyday, and the everyday is always changing. There are always new things to see and witness.
What kind of equipment do you use?
Right now I use a gorgeous Fuji medium-format GFX-50R. I am hard on my equipment. I have changed camera systems and brands a number of times over the past 20 years. I think of cameras as an expensive pencil: It is nice to have a good one, but it’s what you have to say that is interesting.
What inspires you?
All of my work is about witnessing and elevating the everyday. I love telling visual stories with my camera. I am fascinated with time; as photographers it’s our currency. We use the shutter in often tiny increments of time (1/500, 1/250) to shine a light on the complicated business of being human.