Based out of San Diego California, Harim Arjon is an award winning fine art photographer whose work revolves around the extraction of inner emotions captured within an image.
I first became aware of Harims work via his Instagram. Currently he is working on a series of self portraits that are a part of a larger 365 project, which he elaborates on in our interview. His conceptual portraits deal with the nature of self, identity while processing and navigating the complex landscapes of life.
In our conversation Harim discusses his beginnings, the creative process, and why the camera is only a tool, as well as the benefits of shooting for yourself.
Harim was kind enough to participate in the following interview.
How long have you been a photographer? I’ve been photographing for several years up to this point.
However it wasn’t until I took a digital class my sophomore year of high school that I began to understand a camera and the possibilities that I was capable of creating with the use of my cameras.
It was then that I had my first photo shoot I look back on the photos and I see how I came so far, but I’m also reminded of where I began.
What kind of gear do you use? I currently use a range of mediums of film and digital cameras.
My most used and go-to cameras are the ‘Twin lens Mamiya C3 Professional’ which shoots medium format 120mm film and my first purchased digital camera the ‘Canon Rebel XS’ that is now extremely out dated, although I have the ability to purchase a newer canon model; I set in my mind that there is no need for a new camera.
After all a camera is only a tool, it cannot create images itself it requires the mind of the photographer to capture a moment and for that I find it almost necessary to prove anyone can create quality photographs even without the use of the latest equipment.
That being said however I have invested into the Bowen Gemini 500pro Flash units that I can’t live without.
How did you discover photography? As a kid I was given disposable film cameras from CVS to explore a form of art and to capture a child’s point of view. I found it intriguing, and with my family deeply evolved in the art of music and painting; photography gave me something to stand apart from others.
How would you describe your style? Random, yet specific. My style is what comes to mind, it’s what I find interesting, it’s a reflection of how I think and for that I would consider my photography to be random.
I’ve never been fond of the labels placed on photographers. I’ve been labeled as a conceptual fine art photographer, but I feel that limits viewers to only see what they’re told and not see what other possibilities a photographer may have.
What dose photography mean to you? Photography has always been a form of expression for me.
Growing up I would capture anything that caught my eye and I see that looking back at my old rolls of film.
Now, I use my photographs as an outlet for the emotions and an expression to how the world impacts my life.
What make you reach for your camera? I’m currently working on the 365 project which consists of shooting and uploading a photograph to social media everyday for 365 days.
Since starting the project a lot of what I’ve been photographing consists of conceptual interpretations in my life.
I’ll shoot an interpretation of an emotion I feel or an event that occurred while also including the occasional urban or landscape photo.
Is there any subject matter that you off limits to yourself? If so why? My subject matter at times tends to be sensitive with nudity and I do find that it’s needed to represent the vulnerability within the art.
However I do find myself trying to make sure specific body parts and only a certain amount of skin is shown in the final image.
I think the human body should be freely expressed and I find certain photographers that built a career on their photographs of the human body.
I applaud their work and success, but I can’t find myself shooting that form of art just yet.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos? The power of social media. I’ve recently discovered photographers like Kyle Thompson and Alex Stoddard both very close to my age.
They discovered photography around the same time it did, but it was how they used social media to build a following and now a career from that first step that I admire and wish I knew back when I first started.
What is one question nobody has ever asked you that you wish they ask? “What did you have to do to get that photo?” I often put a lot of time and effort into a photograph which is often not easily seen when viewing my images.
I almost see what is photograph as a work of art that I put time, money and detail work into; I then capture that into a photograph and that becomes the final output yet no one (with the exception of a model in a contorted pose) will never know.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Shoot for yourself; not to please others. I started the 365 project to force my mind to think more creatively and to explore something new and although my mind is exhausted, I find myself creating photographs that I’m proud of and I can now freely post them without worry of how others may react.