Beneath the Surface

Here & Now: In Partnership with Levi's Performance Denim

Whether on the street or in the locker rooms, Owen Harvey has focused his camera on men for whom appearances mean much more than just fashion. Without realising it, he’s developed a body of work that reflects the changing face of masculinity – redefining himself along the way.

It’s Saturday night and Owen Harvey is squeezed into the corner of a bar in an East London vintage shop. The place is cramped and sweaty, the smell of beer and cologne in the air. With his jacket bunched up, his backpack crushed against a wall, the photographer holds a fifty-quid camera in his hands, ready to shoot. In front of him, a dance floor teems with characters from another era: skinny men in high-waisted suit trousers, burlesque dancers in tasselled knickers, girls in short dresses with heavily painted eyes.

Owen is shooting film, so there’s no way to know if he’s getting anything. But he instinctively knows how close he should be. He has spent hours practising where to stand in order to get sharp pictures, has spent years photographing characters who know exactly how they want to be seen.

“Photography, for me, is not just about saying something,” he says. “It’s about exploring: having an exchange with people, trying out different roles, finding yourself in challenging situations.”

“Photography is not just about saying something, it’s about exploring... The people I photograph
are a mirror of myself.”

- Owen Harvey