Nancy Hellebrand’s early interest in photography was almost entirely motivated by a sense of social justice. Over time her images became less content-dependent and more abstract, though they continued to be driven by her hunger for human understanding and intimate beauty. Her current pictures are three-dimensional photographs about old women, often displayed on the floor or on tabletops rather than walls.

Hellebrand’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. Museum exhibitions include the Museum of Modern Art (2010, 1987, 1983) and the International Center of Photography in New York; the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.; the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2017, 2010, 2000, 1990) and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (1991, 1984, 1981); and the Tate Britain, the Tate Liverpool, and the Barbican Centre in London. The National Portrait Gallery in London gave her a solo exhibition that was its first for an American artist and for a living woman. Solo exhibitions include Pace/MacGill (1989, 1984) and Heidi Cho Gallery, both in New York; and Morris Gallery of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Locks Gallery, and Paul Cava Gallery in Philadelphia.

Hellebrand’s photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of the City of London, the Princeton University Art Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Hellebrand studied photography with Alexey Brodovitch, Bill Brandt, and John Coplans, each of whom influenced her deeply. She taught photography at Yale University, Parsons The New School for Design, University of the Arts, and Bucks County Community College. Her awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.