Thursday, 9 December 2010

Harvey Hartley

Harvey Hartley
Petersborough, England

Have you ever had and followed the urge to run home and get your camera in order to photograph something you have spotted passing by?

Yes, but they're the photos that end up on the cutting-room floor, by the time you get your camera nothing is quite the same, the moment has gone. That's why I always have my camera with me, it's become obsessive - an unattractive trait.

In connection to this, do you think that luck plays a big role in photography?

None of my photographs are pre-planned or set up, so I only have luck to rely on, it’s just a matter of keeping my eyes open.

Do you use your mobile's camera? Would you classify this as some sort of a guilty pleasure/necessity?

A while ago I started to play with the camera on my old phone because it gave me really nasty CCTV style images with strange little nuances, but now the camera I have on my phone is too good and really boring so I don't bother anymore.
I work as a graphic designer, so in my spare time I try to escape from the digital world and 35mm film enables this. It's nice to create things for myself that may not look so shiny and polished but the goal is always the same - to create a well made image no matter what the process or medium.

When thinking about all those new gadgets and electronic devices, which do you deem the most unnecessary?

As long as Boots keep developing film I'm happy! It's not for me to say what is and what isn't necessary, I guess gadgets are only unneccessary when nobody benifits from them, I'm sure there's somebody out there that found true companionship with a tamagotchi, but however.

You have a degree in illustration. How far can you implement your knowledge from this area into your work as photographer and vice versa?

Yes, I have a degree in illustration but I work in many different disciplines within the world of design - everything from illustration to video, print to animation and one informs the other. I imagine I take photos like an illustrator, maybe my compositions would be frowned upon by someone with a photography degree, maybe the way I use shapes and colours might be a little different, it’s all academic really.

Returning to photography, what do you wish to convey through taking and exhibiting pictures? Is there something you find yourself searching for or do you rather shoot away?

There are certain criteria I look for in a subject but it's not a list that could be put into words. I guess there is a common thread running through my work but I like to think that it's not contrived in any way, I'm not sure why but I feel that I can express myself though photography a lot clearer than I can through other means.

If you were to choose your favourite from the pictures shown here, which one would it be and why?

I have a fondness for the 'Abandoned Rose' image as it has an accidental story-telling element to it, I like other photographs from the same period because of the connection between the images and that time in my life rather than the images alone. I promise to give up this photography farce as soon as I take a shot that I'm truly happy with.

What do you enjoy looking at yourself more: pictures with or without people on them?

I wouldn't put that kind of restriction on viewing a piece of art. I try to be broad-minded, I love the work of Nan Goldin and Larry Clark but I also love William Eggleston and Stephen Shore. In my own work I very rarely take photos of people (I can't think of any at the moment) - maybe my friends just aren't as exciting as Larry Clark's or maybe I'm just to shy and awkward. 

Your most indulgent purchase for your photographic work?

I wish I could tell you stories akin to diamond encrusted giraffes and cocaine- carrying dwarfs but alas all my cameras are second hand and they're usually given to me.

I'd say the camera here is an attractive trait. Take a look at his work.