Kate Greenberg

Sharon Harper: From Above and Below

“Sharon Harper’s work jettisons this idea of the photograph as a seamless window to reality and replaces it with a magic mirror, a transformative surface that is capable of making the invisible visible and the intangible tactile.” —Stephen C. Pinson, curator of photography, New York Public Library


Essays by Jimena Canales and Phillip Prodger

Radius Books is pleased to announce the release of From Above and Below (October 2012), featuring photographs by Sharon Harper with texts by Jimena Canales and Phillip Prodger. This is Harper’s first monograph.

Harper’s photographic interests lie at the intersection of technology and perception. She is deeply invested in using the camera as a tool to record information the eye cannot process. Charlotte Cotton, curator, writer and author of The Photograph as Contemporary Art says, “Harper reads our celestial skies with a unique combination of scientific and symbolic meaning. Her book is a profound pleasure.”

From Above and Below features twelve years of Harper’s photographs and video stills exploring perception, technology and the night sky. Her experimental images of the moon, stars and sun draw on scientific and conceptual uses of photography to illuminate the medium’s contradictory ability both to verify empirical evidence and to create poetic connections between our environment and ourselves.

Harper’s pictures challenge the seamless surface of photographs, and shift our attention to a relationship between the camera and the way we perceive photographs. Throughout From Above and Below the camera impacts the record it keeps, which is ultimately a visual dialogue transcribed by the image-maker and the camera together. This relationship is a metaphor for the myriad ways technology and art affect and ultimately facilitate our understanding of our surroundings.

Harper’s contemporary art practice expands notions of photography and pushes scientific uses of photography into the realm of poetry. Artist and Professor Catherine Wagner says, “From Above and Below reminds us of the necessity to engage in the act of ‘wonder.’ Sharon Harper’s photographs of constructed observations read like poems of knowledge.”

Sharon Harper was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut. She received her MFA in Photography from School of Visual Arts in 1997. Harper’s photographs are in the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Harvard Art Museums, the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri, and The New York Public Library among others. She has received numerous artist-in-residence fellowships including at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, Ucross Foundation, Vermont Studio Center; and most recently Halsnøy Kloster, Norway. Harper’s work has been exhibited internationally and is represented by Galerie Stefan Roepke, Cologne and Rick Wester Fine Art, New York. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts and is currently an associate professor at Harvard University in the Visual and Environmental Studies program.

Jimena Canales is associate professor at the History of Science Department at Harvard University, specializing in the history of physics and astronomy, contemporary cultural theory, and theories of modernity and postmodernity. She is the author of A Tenth of a Second: A History and of numerous articles on the history of science, architecture, film, and visual technologies.

Phillip Prodger is curator and head of the photography department at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Prodger has organized forty exhibitions internationally, including ones at the National Portrait Gallery, London; World Art Museum, Beijing; and the Berlinische Galerie, Germany. He is author and editor of award-winning books including Man Ray | Lee Miller, Partners in Surrealism, Darwin’s Camera, and Time Stands Still: Muybridge and the Instantaneous Photography Movement.

14 × 11 inches
120 pages
40 color illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-934435-52-6
Limited Edition: 20 copies with a signed and numbered 11 × 14 inch c-print and book, $1,000.00

Radius Books is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2007, whose mission is to encourage, promote and publish books of artistic and cultural value. Books give an accessible form to rich and complex creative visions. They become the vehicles for beauty, reflection, and change. In this spirit, Radius Books donates copies of every title we publish to libraries and schools, with the hope and expectation that these books will reach and inspire new and expanding audiences.