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For the Dutch genre painters who inspire photographer Julie Blackmon, 17th-century domestic life offered a familiar subject that was warm and fuzzy on its varnished surface. Yet, these artists often invested their seemingly mundane interiors with hidden meanings: They used expressions, gestures and props to suggest that the activities and relationships they depicted weren’t always what they appeared to be. One well-known painting of a music teacher and his young female pupil, who sits with her back to the viewer at a keyboard instrument, hints that there’s more to the relationship than instruction. A pitcher of wine sits in the foreground, and a large string viol lies face-up on the floor, one f-hole visible; the student, reflected in a mirror on the wall above her instrument, casts a furtive, affectionate glance at her teacher. These paintings’ coded messaging takes place within compositions that are refined and harmonious.

Blackmon’s work brings

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