All about: Owen Harvey

All about: Owen Harvey

  Text: Katja Horvat
Images: Owen Harvey


Owen Harvey is a photographer who graduated from documentary photography from Newport, University of Wales. Harvey has had his work recognised by many institutions, such as Magnum Photos, Royal Photographic Society, British Journal of Photography and more. 

On the 9th, his first solo show is coming up at "Metro Imaging Gallery" in London where he will show images from his series of shooting Skinheads and Suedeheads. Later on - on the 23rd - he will also show his work at "The Photographers' Gallery" alongside Nick Knight, Derek Ridgers and Janette Beckmann. Harvey is most known for his ongoing series of photos of two subcultures: Mods and Skinheads. 

In regards to the Mods, he says: “The Mods I’ve chosen to photograph are all based in the UK. Their subculture draws influence from Italian jazz music, clothing and scooters, and emerged in the UK in the late 1950s, particularly in diverse, multicultural areas. Back then, you could find young working class kids who would save up their money to buy custom-made suits from Jewish tailors. This was a statement of looking like you owned the world, even if your bank balance didn’t reflect that. It was about presentation, friendship and realistically, an escape from the working week.„ 

And on Skinheads: “I started photographing Skinheads a couple of years ago now, and again it’s become a long term project. The work actually started when I was asked by clothing label Fred Perry to cover The Great Skinhead Reunion in Brighton for their Subculture website. I got on really well with a small group of skinheads who are around the same age as me, and it felt like a very natural next step from working on Mod U.K. Often people refer to Skinheads as the tougher and younger brothers of the Mods. „ 

What did you want to be growing up? 
A rockstar. 

Do you make money with your profession, or you have to do something else to support yourself and do all that you do and what we know you about on ‘the side’? 
I have worked in a photography lab for the last two years, but I’m leaving at the end of the month to take photos as a full time job. 

What is your best and worst attribute? 
My obsessive personality is both my best and worst attribute I’d say. 

Where would you most like to live? 
I’d like to live on a little tropical island, as long as I have a source to play music and some friends around, then I’m happy. 

Who is your hero of fiction? 
Keyser Soze from The Usual Suspects. 

What is your most treasured possession? 
My kettle. 

Which talent would you most like to have? 
Strangely I was just talking about this over breakfast. I can play the piano but I really want to get better, so I’d like to be a good pianist. 

On what occasion do you lie? 
If my mother asks me how much I’ve been drinking! 

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? 
My girlfriend. 

What does it feel like when you fall in love? 
Exciting. 

What’s your idea of a dream date? 
Ha, I’m not sure really, I like nice food and I like music a lot, so something that has both of those things involved. 

Do you like to watch movies? 
Yes, I love films, although I don’t get as much time to watch them as I’d like. 

Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you're going to say? Why? 
Most of the time I do, because I usually speak without thinking and I have a tendency to act impulsively. 

What would constitute a perfect day for you? 
Wake up, feeling fresh, have a good photoshoot that goes really well, then go for some nice food and go to see a good live gig. 

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be? 
To be able to turn invisible. 

What do you think you will be doing in your 80’s? 
If I’m still alive, then I will probably be playing more guitar and taking pictures, also trying to do a lot of things I haven’t had time to do and probably also sleeping a lot. 

Current mood? 
Focused. 

Favorite word? 
Yes. 

Favorite place on earth? 
My bed. 

Last song you listened? 
I’m currently listening to Compendium by Circa Survive. 

www.owen-harvey.com