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Diary of a life: Cig Harvey’s mystical portrait of home and family by Cheryl Newman

Thursday, September 10, 2015 – When photographer Cig Harvey points her camera at her family, she creates magic. Familiar domestic environments are gently manipulated to lend a sense of the surreal. A gently blowing curtain obscures a kneeling figure; light becomes fairy dust and a hot tub is filled with limitless silver light.

Published as ‘Gardening at Night’, the photographs are designed with a narrative in mind. “Light, colour, frame and format are purely in service of the story,” the Maine-based artist tells me.

For ten years, beginning in 1999, Harvey worked on a series of self-portraits. “The stories were about past experiences, often concerning relationships, and I would…tell them through metaphor and gesture,” Harvey says.

When she married, though, the work changed radically. Rather than looking backwards, she focused on the present, using friends and family members as the subjects for her compositions.

Her inspiration comes from her love of magical realism, which she returns to time and again in her curious images. “I am very interested in finding magic in the real world,” she says, “and photography reminds me that this world is amazing.”

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