Photographer, Haris Nukem’s, artistic vulnerability and authenticity is downright enrapturing. The UK based deeply unguarded savage behind the camera pours his heart, mind, and soul into capturing deep feelings of intimacy and affection that may inspire an individual to question the notions of what is truly meant to be left behind closed doors. I touched base with the man pushing the limits of imagination and can assure you that your jaw will drop as you eyeball Haris’ sensually pleasing artwork.
First off, can you tell us about yourself and how you got started in photography?
I got started in photography after starting a small clothing brand. I had to take pictures of the stuff and I figured I’d be the best guy to get what I wanted out of them… I ended up falling in love with composing and taking photographs.
Describe your photographic style. How did it develop?
My style is an amalgamation of my influences. I’m an immigrant and I had a pretty non-typical British childhood, I spend days with my older brother running around pretending to be ninjas and watching inappropriately violent anime films. As I grew up I was crazy about subcultures and not being the same as everyone else (and growing up to be Guyver). THEN I saw fight club, which changed my f*****g life. Nothing had ever communicated my internal hollowness like it… and I was only about 13. ANYWAY, I kept digging and ended up falling into advertising, a career that gave me an even deeper love for short form narrative. The amount you can say in 30 seconds can change someone’s life.
The story and ethical line have always been a really core subject for me, it’s important that any image I create communicates something strongly and with intent.
Your projects tend to be quite collaborative. How do you influence the chemistry amongst the models that you are shooting?
I have no idea. However it happens, it’s wonderful. I believe in people, I’m blessed to meet so many of them.
Stripping down to bare skin in front of a crew (even professionals) can potentially be intimidating for human beings. How do you make clients comfortable with the experience?
Oiiii, that’s a really good question. I think like the last question, it’s really just a belief thing. I love creating images that make people feel things. The majority of my nude photographs are girls looking empowered and driven. They’ve been born and they’ve lived life. They’re not objects. We go into it to create something that has a depth to it. Usually, I share that vision with the models and they embody it perfectly. Literally like 99% relate and nail it because it’s in them. It’s who they are and it’s no longer suppressed.
Do you have any tattoos of your own that have stories behind them that you’d like to share?
Mate – I’ve got whack tattoos that either my mates did, they were gifts or I just made a sh*t call on. There’s one on my leg of a chess piece that I got in Manchester. Our train home got canceled so my mate Louis and I decided to get tattoos instead of waiting in the station for two hours for the next one. Probably my favourite one. It’s defo sh*t though.
Your portraits are so deeply intimate without being intrusive. How do you redefine the medium to capture your own creative expression?
That’s a dead kind thing of you to say heart Everything to me is about relationships. When we can step outside of our insecurities and multitude of issues, we can accept that we’re all probably the same bundles of love as one another deep down. We can allow ourselves to communicate on a level that’s creative without judgment and produce things that can be profound without wrapping them in complex words… Bit of a hypocrite there, me.
Explain your love affair with the nude female form.
People are at their most honest when they’re naked. It’s not about the female form. They are who they really are in those moments. Men and women alike (I shoot both nude).
Is there something in particular that you strive for in your use of predominantly tattooed models?
Honestly, they’re just my mates most of the time. I shoot loads of people who have no tattoos too. I spent a lot of time within a bit of a punk/hardcore scene in my hometown as a kid and amassed a group of mates that are covered in tattoos. As my photography grew, more people with tattoos got in touch and it kind of became a thing? Totally accident basically. As a photographer and visual artist, what defines a standout tattoo to you? What design and aesthetic qualities are you looking for in your clients? There’s always something to say about taste and balance. I think I find throat tattoos attractive and I’m in love with symmetry.
Last but certainly not least, what projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to?
I’ve got a pretty massive exhibition space at the London Tattoo Convention in September that I’m super stoked about. This event is going to be f*****g EPIC. I’m going to be bringing a bunch of the models from my work along to party with everyone. I’m excited for it, I can’t wait to meet so many of the rad people that have supported me over the past 3 years. 🙂