Heidi Lender once reported on the fashion universe for national magazines, writing features and styling photo shoots. With a BA in apparel and textiles from Cornell University, she covered style, design, food and travel from New York to Paris. A soulful search led her to India, where she lived part-time studying yoga, and subsequently taught in San Francisco in her own studio. In 2009, she finally found herself – behind the lens of her first digital SLR, and retired her pen and yoga professorship in favor of making pictures. Her images have been exhibited in group shows across the county, and featured in international magazines. She was a PDN Faces and Artists Wanted finalist in 2011. She currently splits her time between Amagansett, NY and Garzon, Uruguay.
What began as a self-imposed weekly photo assignment — “Stand on a bench. Make sure it’s Monday. Wear something pretty.” — transformed into this who-am-I photo-tale exploring the individual in various environments and apparel.
A former fashion editor and reporter on style-related subjects, I abandoned the world of words and appearances and moved to India nine years ago to study yoga and dive into the inner universe. My past and paths now collide in this project – personal façade vs. private interior.
Wardrobes and surrounding spaces are representations and reflections of who we are or who we purport to be. We explore, experiment and express the different aspects that are the ingredients of our individual, whether we are aware of it or not. Be it wild or controlled, we inevitably illustrate a part of ourselves.
The self-portrait series “Once Upon” whimsically plays upon this illustration. With a platform on which to stand, I investigate the host of personalities within, the layers that make up the self, the characters we hide, show, accept and reject, and the role that fashion and design play in molding those characters. My closet is colorful, a menagerie of clothes and accessories amassed on my journeys; though a collection untouched, unworn. Here, it has place and purpose. Headless self-portraits, piled with textures, lend a sense of objectivity, obscurity and freedom from identification.