CLOSE UP: Phil Harvey – Everyday Delight

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© Phil Harvey

Shutter Hub member Phil Harvey is a writer, editor and photographer based in Fort Worth. We’ve shared Phil’s work in several exhibitions now, and we’re always interested to see and hear his views. He’s currently exhibiting with us in Everyday Delight, an exhibition at Free Space Project in North London that looks for the magic in the mundane.

In a world where we seem to have more to worry about every day it’s not always easy to find the positive view, but Everyday Delight offers some respite – the collation of over 100 images gives viewers something to think about and to focus on temporarily, and perhaps to come away seeing things differently. (If you want to see and read some more about this, have a look here: Exhibition Install & Launch Pictures) The exhibition runs until 28 February 2020.

After a few exchanged emails about the joys of looking for joy, we thought we should really ask Phil to share his lovely thoughts with everyone else too. So, here we are!

 

© Phil Harvey

© Phil Harvey

I was excited to have images in the “Everyday Delight” exhibition. I love having my work seen by others and being in the mix of a huge cross-section of really talented artists is beyond flattering. Also, the show really fits well with the content of my photos – the subject of my photography is whatever brings me joy and whatever I find visually interesting.

I enjoy taking portraits of alluring people, snapshots of strangely-shaped buildings, dimly-lit streets, and some destructive, infuriating thing my cat is doing. People, living things and places, as pure content, have a lot of resonance – I can look at those photos over and over again and find new things about them.

An important part of how I approach photography is that I’m not usually concerned with telling a complete story or representing the point of view of a group or ideology. This is not my goal. I want to create visually pleasing, interesting images that I enjoy. Sometimes they’ll suggest a narrative but I’ll leave it to the viewer to fill in the story. Or we can meet for coffee and I’ll tell you.

Very recently – only in the last year or so – I’ve been trying to become better organised in my approach. I still want to be open to whatever I see and whatever moves me, but I’ve also started a list of active, ongoing projects, so I can stay somewhat purposeful while I’m filling up my film fridge and hard drives.

Some of my projects are thematic. For example, I have an ongoing series of portraits that capture the graduates of the last racially segregated high school in my town. Some projects are more about the technical context – they’re grouped by how I took the photo, where I was standing, what kind of film I used or what building I was in.

Now, I have a folder called, “Everyday Delight,” and I’m adding to it every month.

 

© Phil Harvey

© Phil Harvey

But, as I said, I’m very early in being more project-driven. I’m also very early on in my time with a new camera system — I think this year I’ll mostly move on from film. It’s a strange feeling: even though I’ve been a photographer for more than a dozen years, I feel like I’m starting all over and everything’s new.

I have a lot to learn about the “language” photography and I’m lucky to have peers at Shutter Hub to help me work toward fluency. As Ernst Haas once wrote about photography, there’s no formula for it. We’re all “speaking, writing, and singing in the new hieroglyphic language of light and time.”

 

See Phil’s Shutter Hub portfolio here, to find out more about his work, and visit his website here.

 


 

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