For Erik Madigan Heck, there’s beauty in control. To achieve his vision, he often serves as creative director, setting and props master, and stylist. “For me as an artist, everything is dictated by the idea. Form follows that,” says Heck of his lush artistry. The expansive role suits his creative practice, which straddles fine art and fashion photography and earns him commissions from top-tier clients like Comme des Garçons, Etro, and Alexander McQueen
In various images—such as the one from Heck’s photo essay “Drôle d’oiseau” (“strange bird”), created for Numero Magazine and shown in the gallery above—the artist presents his subject in a pose recalling classical portraiture within a signature color-saturated scene. Heck says, “I’ve always been on a quest to make paintings with photography. As a medium, photography never interested me, but bending it to create a new form of 2D imagery—where the medium becomes ambiguous—that does. Parsons was the perfect place to explore fashion photography as an art form rather than a commercial device.” Heck’s use of bold color blocking and monochromatic backgrounds and his painterly rendering of his subjects usher his rich photography into the realm of fine art.
While completing his MFA in Photography at Parsons, Heck launched Nomenus Quarterly, a journal on art and fashion. Today Heck photographs campaigns and editorials for publications including the New York Times, Vogue, and WWD; exhibits work in fine art settings; and makes films. He recently photographed American menswear designers for a campaign initiated by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Amazon to promote New York City’s first menswear fashion week.