Seeing Family: A Creative Approach to Telling the Story

with Heather Evans Smith

Course Description

Though it can take many different forms, family is something we all experience, a universal aspect of our shared humanity. How can we explore this topic and express it in imagery that goes beyond the documentary portrait?

Heather Evans Smith has been chronicling the subject of family for years through photo-based work that reflects her experience as a woman, a mother, and a native Southerner, as well as her memories of growing up in a rural town as an only child, reliant on her whimsical imagination. Her photographic images employ conceptual settings to explore memory, loss, and family, and over the course of five days, she shares her techniques and strategies with participants, discussing the in-depth process that brings her ideas to fruition.

Family is beautiful, tender, complicated, and often hard. At times an old photo, memento, or song can evoke a memory or relationship, resulting in a still life that tells a story or sparks an insight. With these connections in mind, participants are given weekly assignments that encourage them to think about family from new and creative perspectives.

Under Heather’s guidance, we discover unique ways of using photography to explore the complexity and nuance of family. Join her and discover fresh approaches for delving deeply into this multifaceted subject.

Additional Information

Amateurs, Advanced Amateurs
What You Should Know:

Working knowledge of digital workflow and manual mode on your digital SLR or mirrorless camera. Participants must be able to download and select images using image editing software for class sessions.


View Withdrawal and Transfer Policies for online programs.

Portraiture, Storytelling
Heather Evans Smith

Heather Evans Smith’s work has been exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions at venues including the Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock, England; the Nasher Museum of Art, at Duke University; and Leica Galerie Milano, in Milan, Italy. She was a Critical Mass Top 50 recipient for 2014, 2018, and 2021, as well as a 2022 Silver List artist. Heather is also a 2022 CENTER Me&Eve grant recipient. Her first monograph, Seen Not Heard, was published in 2016, followed by Alterations in 2020. A monograph of her Blue series was released in September 2022. Heather resides with her family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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