Shotlist Series Vol.3: Cecilie Harris | Premier Model Management



Shotlist Series Vol.3: Cecilie Harris

Photographers, are mysterious beings. Creating inspiring beauty yet always remaining behind the lense. Premier Girl, writer, model, presenter and all round beauty Fenn O'Meally shines spotlight on photographer Cecilie Harris. Fenn picked Cecilie's brains whilst shot at home by the photograper. Read Cecilie's interview and see Fenn's shoot below.

It’s somewhere between fact and fiction. That’s the only way I can depict the account that I am about to narrate. Let me explain, you see this is the story of Cecilie Harris as of yet.

I meet “image makers” all the time - probably on a daily basis. I mean, haven’t we all become some form of image maker? Instagram alone is currently home to 700 million monthly active users. But the kind of image maker I’m talking about doesn't really capture, it’s rather that she recounts. There is, as you’re about to find out, a subtle difference. So shall we begin?

“It merges fashion with documentary into this concept that becomes a little unique and set aside in that it has this element of authentic story telling” states Harris, defining her work with a pragmatic air. Founder of the bi-annual publication Boys By Girls Magazine and chief celebrator of the many faces that the publication proudly celebrates, Cecilie Harris has eyes quite like no other. Harris is known primarily for her unparalleled ability to capture the male, from his story to his silhouette. “I was always driven by the fact that you have less elements to play with shooting males - you don't have as much clothing options, less to do with hair and makeup […] It demands more from you as the photographer and from your subject to give a more impactful picture” she responds when I ask her how Boys By Girls, or as she terms it BBG, began.

Born in the Norwegian city of Stavanger, Harris left her Scandinavian home for London at the age of 23, shortly after her mum passed away from cancer. “When you live in Norway, London is the city that has so much to offer, especially when it comes to art, culture, music. So when I had a boy asking me to come and live [him in London] I was like YES” she laughs sweetly before regaining flow “that was two months after my mum died, so for me it seemed like a natural progression. I didn't feel as grounded in my home town anymore”. Bearing in mind that this interview was carried out via a phone call, there is little that could disguise the muted melancholic tone to Harris’ voice. At 23 her wings had fully grown, but at 23 so had her Scandinavian roots.

Moving to the UK was Harris’ first step towards fully embracing her natural ability for capturing a story with just one image. “Growing up in Norway [photography] was always something that I did but art itself wasn't encouraged as a career choice […] when I moved to London I started taking it up again when I started working for musicians” she documents frankly. “It took a long time but my fashion interest and involvement came through that”.

For Harris, like for most of us in this “industry”, theres never really been one defining break. Rather her career is what it is thanks to the multitude of breaks. Shooting for ID magazine, her latest work with Pretty Green, or that time she just so happened to set up her own magazine -  “I did it to promote my photography and which was a pretty big moment. Thankfully a lot of people seem to like it”. 56.5 thousand people if we are going by Instagram followers. I feel that for Harris however, the purpose of Boys By Girls was never really solely about promoting her photography. Maybe initially, but as she knows herself, the publication offers far more than simply great images. BBG - as Harris terms it - is a community of story tellers. Promoting those stories of the featured faces and cultivating those stories of the publication’s cogs, the growing network of talent behind the images and interviews. In promoting her photography Harris began to build a community of narrators, from models to muses, photographers to filmmakers, Harris has and still is nurturing stories, authors and the ultimate author - herself. You see as BBG grows, so is Harris’ vision.

“So what’s next?” I probe with conscious intent, I mean this is the woman behind one of the most renowned Indie Men’s Mag to date. There’s always something in the pipeline right? “I like story telling, and for me it’s really important that the viewer of my images can emotionally connect with what they see. I try to work with the subject so that we can communicate something that is going to impact the viewer in some sort of way.” She pauses with thought, “I would love to just continue that concept. Print more issues. Print in more countries. Have more girls be part of this family. Really, to continue telling these beautiful stories. As a concept it has so much more potential” she concludes.

The first time I met Harris was in 2012 during my first summer in London. I’d researched her work for my A-Levels, put her on a bit of a pedestal so to speak. But you see Harris isn't too dissimilar from the rest of us in the creative world. Yes, she’s incredible at what she does, but ultimately she wants to share it, collaborate and bolster her talent with the talent of others. To see a Cecilie Harris photo is to see a story: an account of a boy - a fellow collaborator you could say - that comes with a detailed narrative, image after image that narrative unfolds. How it unfolds is often partly down to your own interpretation but by the final image I promise you you’ll feel somewhat close to the subject since, because of course, you know his story. Because of course, it’s somewhere between fact and fiction.

Follow Fenn: @fenn_omeally

Follow Cecilie: @cecilieharris