OWEN HARVEY IS AN AWARD WINNING LONDON BASED PHOTOGRAPHER. HIS INTEREST IS BASED ON YOUTH, SUBCULTURE, INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY AND SOCIAL GROUPS. DISCOVER MORE WITH THE INTERVIEW.
When did you approach with photography?
I first picked up a camera around 18 years old. I was concentrating most of my time on music beforehand and after a while I realised for various reasons I wanted to try something new. My first year or two I was merely picking up the camera once in a while and then after seeing the work of Eugene Smith and Ethan Russel, (two very different photographers but for me equally as important) I realised the potential of photography and was hooked.
Are there some photographers that inspires you?
Lots of different photographers for various reasons, sometimes due to their images aesthetically and other times due to what those photographers choose to document or create and always for their dedication. Some of my regular favourites are Alessandra Sanguinetti, Trent Parke, Eugene Smith, Ken Grant, Gregory Crewdson & Malick Sidibe.
Do you have some references for the research of your photographic subjects?
Not really, all of the projects I have worked on have began quite organically. Usually I realise what has inspired me in hindsight, when working on the project or completing. Half of the interest of photography in more recent times for me, is the idea of educating myself about something I may not know.
You’re focalize also on english subcultures: what’s intriguing you more and why?
I’ve focussed on both English and American subcultures, but I’ll always be interested in English subcultures because it is the country I was born in. Subcultures have always been around during my upbringing, whether that be through my peers at school, the music scene I was involved in before photography, or my dads interest in football culture. It’s always been there influencing what I do in one way or another. My interest is in socioeconomics, identity and heritage and I feel subculture can cover all of those aspects.
What would you like to communicate with your photos?
This is a hard question, because really I don’t want them to communicate with every viewer in one specific way. I think a good picture means different things to different people, it might be about stirring nostalgia, or enticing the viewer to research a subject, or making them feel uncomfortable in some way. I like to go and photograph a subject that I may have a rough understanding of, find out more about it and make images and then put the images out there to be interpreted in different ways.
If you could choose to shoot a famous celebs, who would it be?
I think Grace Jones is a very powerful woman, I’d love to photograph her.
Three words to describe your photography.
Revealing, Challenging and Questioning.
Why have you even chosen to represent mod and skinhead?
They are two subcultures that I wanted to learn more about. When I was very young I listening to The Who and bands who were are a big part of that wave of the Mod scene. Those images, by Ethan Russell for The Who album, Quadrophenia were also some of the first images I saw that made me understand that photography could be more than a single image, they could tell a story. I was inspired by that and the scene and had connections to it through my peers, so I decided to start photography it and was instantly hooked. As I learnt more about subculture I became more interested by the Skinhead scene and misinterpretations of this scene through the media. Due to this, I wanted to learn more about it. Following these two projects I photographed Lowriding in America and realised that what I was interested in was a mix of lots of different things, but often subculture held a lot of those qualities I was interested in. For example, Identity, Masculinity, Politics, Socioeconomics and more.
A quote that can represent your life.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
How do you choose B&W or color?
I choose this depending on concept and subject. The subject or story always leads and then I make choices like these to represent this in the best way.
Photos courtesy of press office