Haris Nukem: The London Photographer to Know
As one of London’s new and most exciting photographers in recent years Haris Nukem is somebody to be aware of if you weren’t already. Getting ready for his brand new exhibition FAITH at Sohoo’s Noho Studio from April 16th the new exhibition features London creatives and questions the guiding ideologies that surround millennial culture and Gen Z. Exploring social media connectivity, the limitations and liberations of the curated self, the fragility of public services and touches on relevant concerns hedonism, trolls and tribalism. ASBO caught up with the photographer to find out more about himself his work and what we can expect from his upcoming exhibition.
Let’s start at the beginning, have you always been a creative person?
How did you develop/come into your creativity?
It was natural, like the only thing that really put a smile on my face. I loved drawing, I loved painting and sculpting and then I’d fall in love with the practice of taking pictures. The process really works for me.
What lead you into photography and how did you get started in this medium?
I was working with a friend of mine on a clothing brand and we had to get some pictures of the stuff. We bought cameras the same week. It was a trip taking the first few photos that we did and after that point, I just had to do it. It was the medium I’d been missing my whole life.
How have you developed your eye and your photography subjects over the years?
I think it’s something that just happens. I was always into the idea of our tribal selves. Showing those powerful and brave characteristics through photographs. Since then I’ve moved on a lot. My influence now is more societal. That bigger picture and trying to process all the perspectives.
How would you describe the types of images and things you capture?
This new body of work is a narrative. It’s about the concept of faith and where we put that. We as people have this burning desire to believe but in an almost post religious western world, where do we place that now?
In terms of telling other people’s stories how do you feel you are able to capture and share those through your work?
I don’t really tell other people’s stories so much. There’s this one piece in this exhibition called “Kikz”. That one’s crazy and her story is so fucking moving. When I met her I couldn’t help but ask her if I could build something to frame who she is in an image. I don’t want to spoil it - you’ll have to check it out at the show, April 16th - April 25th.
You work a lot in the creative space having shot musicians and performer what led you to that scene?
You know, all this shit happens by accident. I spent most of my photography career just going with the flow and trying to add value. There’s a ton of people out there that have great ideas and drive that need a little energy in the creative space. If I can, I help out sometimes.
Who have been some of your favourite artists to shoot?
The Hunna as forementioned because they’re some of the raddest people I know and just the history we share.
IAMDDB because every word she says inspires me and watching her crush it fills me with joy. Love you Dee.
Right now you have an exhibition coming up called FAITH. What can you tell us about it?
It’s a trip. It’s a story about our combined cultures. Who and what we love. How things are changing in society. How that might work out. The historical relevance of now and then. The characters involved in the best and worst of things. The pursuit of happiness in contrast to the pursuit of perfection. Where we place our belief.
What was the initial concept behind the exhibition?
I was trying to write a film that I actually wanted to direct… I kept coming up with all of these really special visuals. They all had this combining narrative but I wasn’t happy with the idea of circling a few key characters to show all these images. The people had to be diverse and the concepts had to fit who they were. I decided at that point that this wasn’t a film, this was exhibition so I dug up my sketch book and started drawing everything out.
Again you are working with creative and you have featured up and coming creatives in the exhibition what was the reasoning behind that?
Honestly, inspiration is everything and I’m forever grateful to have such talented people around me. It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to work with the young and hungry creatives of London.
How long has it taken you to put the exhibition together?
Nine months. I can’t wait to tell that story but that’s something that needs to happen after the show. A lot of passion, hustle and hard, hard work. It’s been an amazing journey and I’ve learnt more than I’d have ever hoped to in this time.
In terms your creativity and challenging yourself how do you feel this exhibition has allowed you to do that?
Really the narrative building, set building and general scale of what we’ve done here. It’s DIFFERENT. So different from what you’re used to from me. I’d suggest it’s a lot more mature and it’s a lot more intune to both me and my surrounding.
Your work captures a lot of young people why did you feel you wanted these to be the subjects for this particular exhibit?
Pretty much everyone in my photos are my friends. They’re people who are important to me and their presence is a gift. They’re right for the ideas. The ideas are for them.
What do you want people to get out of the exhibition?
A sense of optimism.
How do you feel in general you want your work to reflect society and breakdown some of the structures through creativity?
Structure by most part is a good thing. Sometimes the foundations aren’t deep or considered enough. Frankly I dunno.
My heart belongs in learning about them and seeing if there’s space to innovate around them.
What we’re doing with this show is unique from the art side all the way to the business aspect. It’s a new thing.
What can we expect from you next?
I want to work with Capsule Co and spend some of time helping the artists around me. This show is a blueprint for what I know so far. I have all the lessons I’ve learnt from this. All the things that the wonderful people around me have taught me throughout this journey. Maybe I can hand those to some folks and see if we can help them get to where they’re going.
“FAITH” by Haris Nukem, curated by Penelope Sonder. April 16 - 25 at Noho Studios, 46 Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 7QA
Words: Seneo Mwamba