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Heather Evans Smith


Heather Evans Smith (born 1976, Kinston, NC; lives Chapel Hill, NC) is a photo-based artist whose work reflects her southern roots, motherhood, womanhood and a whimsical imagination she relied on as an only child in a rural town. Her photographic imagery explores the ideas of memory, loss and family in conceptual settings.  She holds a BA in Visual Communications from Peace College in Raleigh, NC. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO and the Vermont Center for Photography in Brattleboro, VT.  She has been included in group exhibitions at venues including the Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock, England, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, NC and Leica Galerie Milano in Milan, Italy.  She is a Critical Mass 2014, 2018 and 2021 Top 50 recipient. Her first monograph, Seen Not Heard, was published by Flash Powder Projects in 2016 followed by her self-published monograph, Alterations, in 2020. Her work resides in the permanent collections of Cassilhaus, Colorado Photographic Arts Center and Blue: The Tatter Textile Library.

Artist Statement

Some say my dad's death was the spark that ignited my depression, but this feeling has been brewing for a while.  I started to notice a sadness creep in a few years into my 40s. I searched “depression in women” and stumbled across articles stating women are the most depressed at age 44. I was at that very moment 44.

Loss during this time in a woman’s life can weigh heavily. Children are getting older and need the comfort of a parent less; the health of one’s own parent(s) is starting to fail; hormonal shifts begin.

Using the color blue, which for hundreds of years has been associated with melancholy and sadness, these images evoke this period in my life and how it affects those around me; a mid-point, as I am stripping down, taking stock, and finding a new place amongst the loss.

Release Date: April 1, 2022

My dad wore one type of shoe his entire life: Bass Weejuns (aka the “penny loafer”). It’s difficult not to stumble across a pair of these shoes without thinking of him. In Navigator, I’m wearing Weejuns as a nod to my dad, navigating the waters after his death, keeping my head above water, moving forward, but never forgetting.

Navigator, 2021

Release Date: March 24, 2022

For this image I was inspired by a grade school picture of my mother. Her head is turned to the side and clips are holding back fly-aways that may escape her ponytail. I thought about this in terms of a woman’s life. We are constantly juggling careers, family, emotions, and expectations-attempting to “keep it all together”.

Keeping It All Together, 2021

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