Join us online for a conversation between internationally acclaimed fashion photographer Erik Madigan Heck and New Yorker writer and curator Vince Aletti on the occasion of Heck’s newest publication, Erik Madigan Heck: The Garden. Inspired by Catholic iconography and other mythic pictorial traditions, The Garden is an ongoing body of work depicting Heck’s wife and two young sons in a variety of richly colorful surrounds.

This program is free with a suggested donation of $5. Reserve your signed copy of Erik Madigan Heck: The Garden through ICP’s shop.

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About the Program Format

This program will take place on Zoom. Those who register to attend will receive a confirmation email with a link located at the bottom of the email under ‘Important Information’ to join the lecture through a computer or mobile device. 

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If you have not received the Zoom link by 2 PM on the day of the lecture or if you have questions about the virtual lecture, please contact: [email protected].

About Erik Madigan Heck: The Garden

The Garden is an ongoing body of work depicting Heck’s wife and two young sons in a variety of richly colorful surrounds. The photographs draw upon Catholic iconography and other mythic pictorial traditions to develop a color-based narrative evocative of spiritual archetypes and the processes of dissolution and rebirth.

The series moves through a singular world—a fairytale in which figures and settings become tableaux for hyper-concentrated tonal arrangements. Images are composited and oversaturated with color to create painterly and surreal compositions in which the familiar and fantastic are merged. Completing its aesthetic fantasy through lavish clothes, gestures of dreamlike poignancy, and an Edenic environment, ‘The Garden’ expresses the supramundane innocence and spontaneity that art makes possible—a life lived in the direct, immediate experience of beauty.

Shot predominantly at the family's home in New England, the series initially elicits comparisons with other contemporary photography confronting family life, such as Sally Mann’s Immediate Family, or the work of Elinor Carucci. But though the subjects of Heck’s photographs are ostensibly his family, The Garden's real subject matter is color and the aesthetic possibilities of photography to create what it captures.


Erik Madigan Heck, b. 1983, Excelsior, is an artist working in photography, painting, and film. Heck is the recipient of the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award, the FOAM Fotografiemuseum talent award, the Forbes' 30 under 30 award, and the Art Director’s Club Gold Medal for his Old Masters Portfolio published by the New York Times Magazine.

In 2019 Heck had solo museum exhibitions at The Musée des Beaux-Art in Le Locle, Switzerland and the Multimedia Arts Museum in Moscow, Russia; public installations at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Paris Photo, Photo London, and Photo Shanghai; and relaunched Nomenus—a printed journal focusing on the intersection between photography and painting, where he collaborates with an array of artists and institutions. Heck is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine, Time, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and Harper's Bazaar amongst others; and is the author of Old Future, published by Thames & Hudson and Abrams.

Vince Aletti reviews photography exhibitions for Goings On About Town. In addition to his work for the New Yorker, he reviews photography books for Photograph. His work has also appeared in Aperture, Art + Auction, and photoworks. Aletti was the art editor of the Village Voice from 1994 to 2005 and the paper’s photo critic for twenty years. In 2005, he won the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for writing.


Image: Erik Madigan Heck