For a young man who cuts such a clear path through the London Fashion Scene, photographer George Harvey is one of the most unaffected new talent you could hope to find. But don't let the nonchalance fool you. In record time Mr Harvey has been ensconced in the ID camp, shooting covers and edits with a striking graphic quality and a beautiful sense of color control. George's images are pop, now , tight, fast and fluid. Tune in as he shares with TI his thoughts on the image trade.
Tell us a little bit about your upbringing and background.
I grew up on a small farm in rural North Yorkshire, England. At the age of 12 I was sent away to boarding school in what my parents saw as the pursuit of a “proper” education. However during this time education was the last thing on my mind. I spent the majority of my time day-dreaming and getting in trouble. It was during my school years that I became interested in art and, I suppose now more importantly, photography.
I remember when you first started you were quite drawn to landscape and cityscape images. Was moving to portraiture a tough transition?
I’ve always been fascinated by architecture- it’s what I was studying initially. The transition came more naturally than you might think. I’ve carried through some of the principles and I think my interest in minimalism, lines & angles still comes through in my work. The introduction of a human subject simply adds another dimension. Plus it’s nice to have people around rather than literally talking to a brick wall! It took me a while to be able to make people feel relaxed, but I discovered that the more confidant I was, the more relaxed and confident my subject became.
What drew you to photography and specifically, to fashion photography.
I have been taking photographs since I was 14. I was at the Victoria and Albert Museum one day when a Gareth Pugh show was on. I managed to sneak in to see what all the commotion was about. Confronted by a human poodle and a walking stealth bomber I was hooked. With fashion photography I realized that I had the opportunity to create an image out of anything. I like the idea of being able to create imagery that represents my thoughts.
You are building quite a portfolio in i-D magazine. How did that storied publication become your venue of choice?
i-D is always where I dreamed of ending up. Two years ago, just after finishing placement at Tom Ford I went in to see stylist Elgar Johnson. I was finally at the stage where I was confident about my ability and knowledge of the industry. I showed Elgar some of my work and it all built from there. I love working for i-D, I feel as though I am building a relationship that will last a long time. I constantly feel challenged creatively with them, which helps in improving my skill and vision.
Do you imagine yourself as a London photographer? Is the influence of that city significant to your work?
I’ve never really thought about that, I guess it’s inevitable that one should be influenced by their surroundings but I wouldn’t say that this city dictates my work. Nowadays with the Internet and the ever-increasing availability of foreign publications I think we all draw influence from further afield than we would have done in the past.
What is the world of London 2012 like for you? Socially? Creatively? Emotionally?
I think London has allowed me to surround myself with forward thinking creatives and like-minded people which is something I always wanted. I think working in this industry is far more acceptable socially in London than other places in the UK (certainly compared to my hometown). It allows me to get on with what I’m doing and develop my work rather than proving any points or fighting battles to do what I want to do.
How important are social connections in gaining momentum as a rising young photographer?
I think in any industry connections are vital, but this is why I love the fashion world so much. It doesn’t matter where you come from, as long as you have passion and drive people will respect you. I had no connections in the industry whatsoever when I first started, but somehow over time they built. You find people you trust and hopefully you stay loyal to each other.
Could you imagine yourself living and working anywhere else than London?
Absolutely. I think in creative disciplines it’s important to be open to new experiences and influences - if you stay in the same place all your life you are seriously depriving yourself of those. I think London will always be the place that I come back to I’d love to live in New York for a while I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese culture and I’ll definitely spend some time in Tokyo too.
What do you think that you could bring to the world of fashion campaign imagery?
I had the great privilege of working at Tom Ford a few years back, which has helped me see things from a brands point of view. I aim to push imagery forward, I feel like some photographers get complacent and a little bit stuck in their ways. By embracing new technology, techniques and mediums I’ll be able to create truly original images, adding a little twist to conventional campaign shots.
Who and what do you find inspiring right this minute? Full spectrum... anything from music to art to design to of course, fashion.
I mostly get excited about anything new. I love electronic music: minimal, techno etc - It’s a great time for dance music here in the UK. I try to keep up to date with new technology and generally I just like being out and about in my free time – meeting new people and checking out exhibitions. Going to check out Yatoi Kusama’s new exhibit at the Tate Modern, that looks awesome!