About Heidi Calvert
Born an artist in Tampa, Florida in 1971, Heidi Calvert always communicated through artistic expression experimenting with a variety of media. But it was in the early 1990’s when her love of music led her to the discovery of her attraction to the camera.
Starting out shooting her favorite bands on stage, and then eventually shooting their album covers and promo assets, she decided to focus on photography as her chosen career path. She chose fine art as her initial major in college but took photography classes which opened up a whole new world for her. She discovered the work of fashion photographers such as Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton that showed her how fashion and art can become one through the magic of photography and she knew right away that was what she wanted to do.
In 1997, Calvert left Florida for New York City to live out her dreams and she did! After dropping out of art school after one year at the School of Visual arts where she was awarded a scholarship to attend, she became a fixture in the art and underground nightlife communities. She both mingled with the elite in the high art scene and partied in musty basements in the underground art world. She became somewhat of a nightlife and art personality, even appearing in society papers and magazines. All the while she was busy shooting tests with new agency-represented fashion models who lived among her in her revolving dorm rooms at the famed artist residence the Gershwin Hotel. She met legendary artist/photographer Anton Perich there too, who offered her her first publication opportunities as a contributor to his long-standing magazine, NIGHT. Her name appeared on the cover alongside Helmut Newton himself, which Perich revealed in an interview with Calvert “Well, publishing Heidi Calvert’s photography in the same issue with Helmut Newton was not an accident. It created a conversation between his work and your work. It was a perfect example of what NIGHT should be. Your photography questioned and enhanced his work.”
In 2002 Calvert moved to Los Angeles where she opened her infamous former gallery and art space “bluespace”, where many legendary nights were made. The space hosted avant-garde art parties showcasing established/celebrity and new talent alongside one another, inspired by what she had learned in New York. Celebrity artists under Calvert’s curation included Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh, Bauhaus’ David J, Horror genius Clive Barker, and others. In 2005 she shut the gallery doors and retreated to New York for a short time before returning to LA where she now resides. There she also finished her bachelor’s degree in Photography, this time with honors, at the Art Institute of California - Hollywood.
Heidi Calvert has always been ahead of the curve, both figuratively and literally speaking. A plus sized, curvy woman herself, Calvert has always been inclusive, appreciating and photographing all body types and even dabbling in plus modeling herself - not because she wanted to be a model, but to learn what it was like to be on the other side of the camera in order to become a better photographer. She is known for being one of the first to shoot plus size models in the same fashion style that she shoots standard industry size models, and offering the same retouching treatment, staying true to her artistic style. She shot the first published fashion editorials for famed plus size models Tess Holliday and Jenny Rieu. A Photoshop pro who believes in body positivity, Calvert does not believe that natural-looking but flawless beauty retouching goes against this belief. Historically, fashion and beauty images have been retouched and to treat plus size models any differently, she believes, is oppressive in itself. Fashion photography is an art - the images focus on the beauty of women and their style, and although Calvert believes that culturally defined “flaws” are beautiful too and should be embraced, her photography style is clean and flawless and everyone she photographs is created equal.
Photo: Lisa Boyle
All Images © 2002-2016 Heidi Calvert