Jenica Heintzelman is a Guatemalan-American photographer from Orlando, Florida. She attended Brigham Young University in Utah where she completed her BFA degree in photography and documentary film in 2010. Jenica received her MFA in photography from the Hartford Art School’s International Limited-Residency program in 2020. She has been named by the British Journal of Photography as part of the “2021 Ones to Watch: Community” and exhibited internationally at C/O Berlin and BFOTO Festival in Spain. Her book “Down a Stream” was shortlisted for the Fiebre Dummy Award, SELF PUBLISH RIGA 2021 and the ICP/GOST First Book Award. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY her work explores themes of vulnerability, trauma and the notion of healing.

About Down a Stream – words by Jenica Heintzelman:

Down a Stream explores the process of healing from trauma through reenactments of mind-body interventions. Stemming from my own participation in these therapies, I became fascinated with the notion of healing and the role of performance and belief in the process. I attended multiple healing sessions in New York City and cast actors as stand-ins to mirror my experience in sessions. Influenced my hypnotherapy, I directed actions that evoke a trance-like state. A world made of familiar spaces and gestures is transformed into strange encounters with themes of visual entrapment and an undercurrent of disquietude. 

I was surprised by the power of the human touch of strangers—both its calming and fearful effects. In contrast to commercial imagery about healing, my work embraces discomfort and uncertainty as an essential component. Tense muscles, bodies lifting other bodies and awkward embraces create an enigmatic experience with no comfortable resolution—a reflection of how the healing process is perhaps never fully complete. Yet by confronting past trauma, we allow space to create new narratives, build resilience, and show healing as a radical act.