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At the University of Southern California in the early '60s, she made pictures of homeless people on park benches — her first foray into social commentary, which continues to inform her work. At first, Hellebrand envisioned frame-filling black-and-white studies of old women's bodies — building upon an earlier project that zoomed in on old women's eyes and mouths. More recently, Hellebrand began shaping her photos into the sculptural forms. Back in Philadelphia inshe began working on "Torn. Hellebrand moved around colleges and to New York, working for commercial and fashion studios, getting married and eventually graduating in from Columbia University with a bachelor's degree in comparative literature, which she argues is the best background for a career in photography. At her light-filled South Philadelphia studio, she has larger-than-life blow-ups of her photos — never the face, but close-ups of different areas — shaped into 3D forms that accentuate a torso with a fold of skin, a pelvis with strands of short gray hair, the sag of a knee, a wrinkled belly that looks like the swirls of an ancient tree trunk.