“I'm really excited to keep planning shows, producing artworks, shooting campaigns, directing music videos, adverts and many short films. Good vibes.“ Yep, sometimes life can be pretty peachy, indeed. To deliver artistic authenticity in rather high and intense doses might help as well. UK-based photographer Haris Nukem just had a celebrated solo show titled “Humans“ at London’s NR Project art space in late summer, proving once again that “good vibes“ is a very flexible expression, as the very majority of his stunning portraits capture individuals consciously on a collision course with society and its established norms. And even though Nukem’s images are bursting with energy and attitude, there is a lot of vulnerability and breathtaking beauty on display as well, proving once again that true beauty only happens when you’re willing to truly free yourself from the streamlined promises life offers and finally embrace the notion of vandalizing the standards.
“In the morning we wake up fragile. As the day goes by, our identity begins to materialize. The thoughts we have to begin the day, define the direction our minds take throughout.“ Haris took a quick break from his busy schedule for a quick chit-chat with Lodown in late August.
Haris, a lot of happening (fashion) photography at the moment has this kinda wannabe uncontrived vibe to it, it’s really rough and plays with the idea of imperfection. You on the other hand really seem to equally enjoy post-production as much as the actual shooting, right?
For me, the important thing is to make sure a photograph has a strong intention... something that can connect with its audience beyond the way that it’s styled. That’s my cup of tea. Regarding other photographers I’m deeply reluctant to compare myself. I’m stoked for each one of them who hustle and win in their respective fields. There’s a lot of wonderful work out there.
The final result has a very iconic and cinematic quality to it... would you say that you’re actually more influenced by directors than photographers?
Legit, David Fincher shaped my outlook on colour and image. The thoroughness of his sets and the way in which he builds narrative visually alongside everything else was definitely an inspiration to me when I started in this creative field. I wanted to create that same level of communication - but just concentrating on performance, depth and colour. Some things require lots of pre-production but most of my work happens quite naturally. Most of my time is spent building relationships and getting to know my models better. 99% of the time they’re incredible people and the stories we tell one another inspire the images we go on to create.
What I love about your portraits is that they feel almost a bit otherworldly at first glance, before you realize that they reflect on a reality very close to yours if you’d just dare to look... is that why you named your latest solo-show in London “Humans“?
"Humans" is my expression of the unity we all have, regardless of our many layers of individuality. That tribal self that exists in all of us.
Speaking of which: did the reactions to your show live up to your expectations? Did people kind of feel affronted? Simply stunned by the dynamism and power of your imagery?
The exhibition opening was insane. All the feedback I’ve had so far has been really lovely. I'm so grateful for all the wonderful people who joined us. It’s paramount for me to showcase my work uncensored, printed huge and in the correct aspect ratio. I didn’t compromise on anything in displaying these images and I feel like people really catch that vibe when they visit.