It’s undeniable that Haris Nukem‘s photos are their own brand of cool. These aren’t typical glamour shots of cookie-cutter models in pristine settings. Models are sometimes photographed in rooms among strewn clothing, casually posing in bathtubs, doing headstands in hallways, or interacting with other fashionably attractive counterparts. The aforementioned models Haris captures are interesting and beautifully flawed creatures who emit vibes of effortless badassery. Freckles, tattoos, iconic beards, body modifications, and piercing eyes are captured in exquisitely high contrast. But, it’s not only the ‘rad’ individuals that make these photos so stylistically memorable and captivating; it’s a combination of the lighting that’s employed and masterful retouching that make for a cinematic look. Haris definitely portrays a darker, grittier side to fashion photography and has a refreshing take on portraiture.
Below you’ll find Haris’ straightforward, reflective, mildly humorous (i.e. “Tiger-Style”) responses to Beautiful.bizarre’s interview questions. To see more of his work beyond here, follow him on various forms of social media where you’ll stay up to date with his upcoming projects (#breatheproject and #capsulecouples), calls for London-based models, and see more of his radiant photography along with comical quips.
An Interview with Photographer Haris Nukem
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in photography? Do you have an education in photography, or are you self-taught? What made you first pick up a camera?
My beginning in photography started in front of the TV with my dude Milo. Every day he’d come to my flat. We’d sit there for hours talking about everything that inspired us… from music to photography to fashion to film.
At the time we both worked as producers in advertising so a TV in front of us was enough to set us off. We’d be there every night taking apart the shots we’d seen in ads or films, discussing them, slowly figuring out how communicate a message visually. These moments without an output would lead us both individually, to start taking pictures.
How would you describe your style?
Probably Tiger-Style. I’d call it Tiger-Style.
What is a day in the life like for Haris Nukem?
It’s full of coffee, music, cigarettes (will quit one day) and interactions. Other than that my days are all different.
You capture dynamic and intriguing portraits. What draws you to specialize in portrait photography versus other subjects?
This bit is mega important to me. I feel empathy with people. We might be wired a bit differently but deep down we all feel the same things. Underneath all of the layers of insecurities, emotions, daddy issues and awkward back catalogs of social fumbles, we all just want the best for each other… I think that’s pretty special. I can’t say that about objects and things.
What are the type of models/people are you drawn to photograph?
I like everyone. As long as my subject can relax and be mentally present and focused, we can create something rad.
Who are some photographers that inspire you?
At the moment I’m in love with anything Nadia Lee Cohen does. She’s like my summer time hero. As a kid I was a big fan of David LaChapelle. People I look up to and will forever be trying to get up to the level of, in no particular order – Nick Knight, Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino, David Bailey. My on going inspiration in terms of image definitely comes straight from fashion ads. The stuff Mariano Vivanco does for D&G blows my mind.
I’ve seen some photographs where the lens is turned on you. What is your experience like being in front of the camera as opposed to behind it?
I like having my picture taken. It’s stupid but it makes me feel good. I love seeing how other people do what I do and how differently they do it. I’ve done a few projects but I’m most definitely no model.
How important is editing in a final product?
I really enjoy working in post, it’s the completion process for me. Nothing goes out without it.
How do you define success in your career? What is the next goal you’d like to reach?
Success is doing what you want. My goal has always been to make stuff that help people feel things. These next step is communicating; deep down we really are all the same. Watch out for #capsulecouples and #breatheproject