Would you mind introducing yourself? Hello, I’m Harris. I’m 22 years old and I live and work in Brighton, in the south of England. My love of film photography began shortly after I returned home from a two-year backpacking trip around Asia, Australia and New Zealand. While I was travelling, I took photographs only using a digital camera, but it was after I returned that I was gifted a box of my Grandad’s old 35mm film cameras; including a Nikon FM and FA. It was after this that I really discovered the beauty of film photography, and kicked myself a bit for not having discovered it before my overseas trip.
Harris' Instagram - @harris_barker
How would you describe your style of photography? I have been heavily influenced by travel and lifestyle photographers and personally I have a huge passion for being outdoors. However, my style has taken a very landscape come adventure documentation focus recently as I’ve been travelling a lot around the south of England this summer usually by myself or with a mate on my days off from work. When I’m back home in Brighton though, I tend to shoot friends, family and just my daily life in the city.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? My most recent favourite photography memory would probably have to be a trip I took with my family to go hiking in the High Tetras in Eastern Europe. The trip was about two weeks long but the hike itself was three days in the mountains, off the grid, with my family and most importantly, with my film camera. It was the first large trip I’d taken where I decided to leave my digital camera at home and opted to use only film. I found that it really made me stop and take in my surroundings before I took a photograph; fully enjoying and appreciating the moment, the scenery and the frame before I took a shot. The idea of taking only 72 photos (2 rolls) over 3 days very quickly became so much more appealing to me than taking thousands of digital photos. The photos I took on were a lot more thought out and the trip itself became a really pivotal point for me as I really started to fully embraced film.
What kind of camera do you use? I’ve shot entirely on film for almost a year now. I’m hooked by the process and how it slows you down and really makes you wait. I shoot with quite a few film bodies currently; my go to though is my Canon 30v. The Canon 30v was Canon’s last production model from 2004 that takes Canon EF lenses and has an arguably better auto-focus that my Canon 7D digital body. I have a 50 f/1.8 and a 16-35 f/4L. Both of these lenses are brilliant and I love them both equally for different reasons. I also recently took the leap to medium format and purchased a Mamiya RZ67 Pro ii with the 110mm 2.8... I am obsessed. The full manual experience and 10 photos only per roll makes me really stop and think about everything before taking the shot. Also, that 6x7 negative retains so much detail, it’s pretty crazy!
What's your editing process like? My editing process is actually very minimal. One of the biggest reasons I shoot film is for the tones and latitude you get from both 35mm and 120 film. I shoot mainly Kodak colour negative; Portra 400 being my ride or die but I also shoot some Ektar 100 or Illford HP5+ when shooting black and white. I’ve recently been learning more about how film likes to be exposed, which is almost an editing process in itself, and I’m loving that. I’m also lucky enough to have an amazing film lab that I go to in Brighton that scans just the way I like my film photos to turn out. After getting my scans back from the lab, I’ll usually just do some minor adjustments to make sure the horizons are straight and I’ll occasionally do some very small highlight and shadow tweaking if my exposure was slightly off in-camera.
Are there any tips you would like to give to anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? I feel like my style is quite classic in a way, so it wouldn’t be too hard to take similar styled pictures if you wanted to. I reckon if you went for a slightly minimalist and central composition approached, and waited for all the people to leave the frame (unless they add a sense of scale!) you’d get a very “Harris” photo. Slap a VSCO Portra present on and you’re on the right track...shoot a real roll of film though and I’d give you way bigger kudos.
What inspires your photography? We’re so lucky to have such instant and easy access to so many amazing photographers and their work. I’d have to say one of my biggest inspirations is Chris Burkard. His beautiful sports-orientated landscape shots are incredible, but I also love the work of Natalie Allen, for her adventure lifestyle work on both film and digital. Lastly, I was lucky enough to see Richard Mosse’s INFRA exhibition in Sydney a few years ago and it blew me away. Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to meet and get chatting to so many awesome people through the likes of Instagram, but particularly through the film community here in Brighton. Just to name a few, these people produce some of my favourite work: Oliver Curson (@olivercurson), Ines Ambrosio (@ines.abrosio + @inesambrosio.art), Ben Davies (@bendavisual), Felicia Hawor (@feliciahawor), Maja Menclewicz (@majamenc), Zoe & Osh Rose (@zzzzzzrose).
Which time of year is your favourite for taking photographs? I love lots of natural light in my photographs so I’d have to say my favourite time of year to take photographs would be late Spring to early Summer. The weather at this time is getting nicer, with longer, sunnier days, but there’s also a bit of cloud cover and drama in the sky.
Coolest place you've ever been? I would have to say that the coolest place I’ve ever been to is Taiwan. I spent a month there and I felt like I had travelled into the future yet I still experienced some of the most beautiful nature just outside of the big cities.
Dream destination? My list of places I want to go is pretty endless, but high up on my list currently is the mountainous areas of Scandinavia, such as Lofoten or perhaps even the Faroe Islands. A trip to Africa would be incredible, either to the Sahara Desert or to countries such as Kenya or Tanzania. Mid-West America would be cool too, for the dunes and barren deserts but I also feel like a trip closer to home around the Mediterranean would be lovely to experience too! Even though it’s only a few hours flight away, I’m yet to visit Greece!
Anything else you would like to share? Thank you all very much for taking the time to read about my work. I always appreciate the interest. Please feel free to follow along with my everyday photography life on my Instagram (@harris_barker) or on my website (www.harrisbarker.com) where I sometimes do little blog posts of work I put together and trips I take.