Anyone can take a photo of someone else, but are they really capturing their essence? It certainly isn’t easy, but photographer Harland Spinks enjoys the challenge of portraying people’s personalities through photography.
“When shooting people or portraits, what really interests me are the small, candid moments when the subject’s guard is down,” Harland confides. “Catching someone when they're most vulnerable is really exciting to me because that's when you can really see someone. See into them.”
The San Francisco-based photographer is experimenting on a number of projects, two of which he’s happy to share. The first is a series called Wreck’d, inspired from a portrait he took of a friend after a bike accident. The collection itself is a number of intimate portraits of friends done up to look like they are beaten up or hurt. The second is a photo book he calls Liquor Stories, which documents small liquor stores in San Francisco and the people who own or operate them. “I think that because of what they provide and the relationships they create, they’re almost like roommates or best friends whose names are the only thing you really know about them,” he suggests.
Harland has struggled with smoking for the last eight years and readily admits that it hasn’t done him any favors. “I don’t like anything about it, but it’s just turned into this habit,” he says. “I don’t like that so I've been running, using a jump rope, working out, eating healthier. It’s about breaking the habit of going straight for a cigarette when I don't know what to do with myself.”
Harland happens to be the photographer-in-residence for SF Commune events and appreciates the variety it provides. “Commune brings in all kinds of people and bands from all over the city and surrounding areas. As a photographer, it’s amazing to see different faces and not have it just be another homogenous event.”
You can catch more of Harland’s commissioned work and view his portfolio on his website. Be sure to chat him up at our next event.