It's not often you find a photographer whose work instantly transports you to a time and place you've never been, but Hana Haley is a rare exception.
HuffPost UK Style spoke to the Brooklyn-based artist about her inspirations, secret crushes, and deflecting the male gaze...
How long have you been a photographer for?
I started in high school (i.e. I took really cheesy photos of my friends lying in daisies, swimming at the river, pretending to be edgy in the school bathroom on prom night), which led to getting a film camera at 19 and photo jobs at 22. So, with these lazy mathematics I’ve been shooting for 10 years and working for three.
What made you first decide to pick up a camera?
I don’t think I had the desire to create visuals the way that I do until I formed a crush on another photographer - someone I ambitiously wanted to impress with my photography.
I was also inspired to shoot after years of subscribing to fashion magazines like W and NYLON: their photos decorated my bedroom walls for years and I think I woke up one day and thought to myself: "I wonder if I could take photos like that?"
So out of curiosity (and a classic teenage girl crush) I got an old film camera, tried, and haven’t stopped since.
What are the main sources of inspiration for your work?
Nostalgia is very important, my emotions and personal experiences, femininity, leading ladies from retro cinema, and music is essential.
We love how your photography shows the beauty of the female form, but without the male gaze - was this something you wanted to do with your work?
I’m pretty in touch with my girlishness and in that headspace there is sort of a 'no boys allowed' imagination. The feminine beauty I focus on when shooting is very personal. In fact it has nothing to do with men and a lot more to do with daydreaming.
Do you think women are presented a certain way in the media? Would you like to change the current status quo?
Of course, women have been presented in a very narrow-minded way for so long… I would love to be able to shoot whatever type of woman I wanted, not the strict requirements that were set-up ages ago that say I must shoot a tall, thin, sexy woman, no older than 25, with huge boobs and inflated lips.
Isn’t it obvious that type of woman was designed for men’s viewing? Well, I think I’ve had enough of that.
To me, your photos are like a nostalgic daydream world I want to get lost in - but what are you personally trying to convey with your images?
I suppose the photos work the same way for me… I get lost in my daydreams a lot and photography helps me process them, the same way people have to write poems or sing a song to sort themselves out.
I use photography to explore my emotions, so with that, I would hope they convey vulnerability or a sincere feeling, and not through a literal message but a vague suggestion.
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