Photography // Fox Harvard

Fox Harvard is a long-time friend of PUREFILTH Magazine and is one of our favorite photographers. We first came across his work on Flickr   in 2009, and have been trying to catch our breath since.

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Your photos often give the effect of being shot in a timeless fantasy land; what is it like in this Wonderland of Fox?

 
My immediate thought is that I want to simply shoot the first thing that made me think of in order to answer that; but neither the fair nor the carnival are in town. That being said, it’s just… living inside “art”, I’d imagine. Or more to the point, my own head. I know I’ve probably said this ad nauseum, but I was raised an artist–in painting and sculpture and whatnot–so I don’t know if I’ll ever label myself a “photographer” as opposed to “painter” per se. But even though the camera is the most convenient tool of the moment, I’m actually finding it the hardest tool to accurately translate what’s in my head and onto the page because it’s not just this purely internal, totalitarian process of creation where everything that winds up on the canvas is solely from my own hand, but because the process is only 50% me–at best. And that’s if there’s only one model–and she’s naked. And that’s so fucking boring to me now. It’s the challenge of trying to properly coordinate one or more people with their own means of expression, and different locations, and hair & makeup & wardrobe & props, etc., (in order to try to best capture exactly what I see in-mind while shooting) that’s really turning my crank as of late. And “wonderland” is genuinely an accurate description. I’m nowhere near being able to create what all I’m still scribbling down in photo-journals & sketchbooks; but then I’ve only been shooting for about three years now. I’m getting much closer, emotionally and conceptually, but on the scale of grand designs I’ve got a long way to go still–but I’m childishly looking forward to it. And truth be told, for better or worse, it’s going to take a lot of money and a great deal of time to be able to recreate the elaborate worlds I’ve continually built up over the years. Unfortunately, I think I might offend some people in the pursuit of that as well, as it’s going to require me to become a hell of a lot more selective in who, where & what I shoot, in order to finally create exactly what I have inside of me. 

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Bare with me here for a moment; I’m about to go all over the map… While sitting here answering this, I’m actually noticing the fact that I have the strange tendency to measure portions of my life in relation to what medium I was working in and with whom I was involved with at the time. For instance, the time I’ve been shooting currently is exactly proportionate to the time I’ve been with Michelle. But during my last long term relationship–and this was certainly no fault of hers–I was so disenchanted with exhibiting and the art-world as a whole that I took a (heavily regretted) eight year or so hiatus from creating at all. I should have never strayed from the arts–not just for the sake of knowing how much further along I’d be now but also because of how much I know the process (and the results of creation) can affect people. Because of how it has the potential to touch the most deeply rooted and powerful emotions, if executed properly. The greatest joys I’ve ever felt thus far into this “wonderland” were being inspired by other people; and inspiring. My love for creating–with anything–has always been the number one reason for loving life. I honestly think my love for others has often come second to that; sometimes too late. And on a seemingly related note, I honestly think sex for me is the closest experience to that same soulful feeling that art often provides; I guess that’s why its imagery has always been so pervasive in my thoughts and in what I produce. I think that maybe sex & art are the two primary ways to get the closest you can to another human being; where this supposed “soul” exists. But there is no soul in anything unless you put it there–it has to be created. This is not congenital. If you’ve created nothing then it’s just another empty life they’ll put in the ground. It’s not just a body in the box.
 
I don’t think people realize enough just how similar we all are; and I mean that in the worst possible way. We all define ourselves and attempt to process and communicate our “individuality” through the arts; by what music one listens to, what manner of fashion they employ (or the truly ignorant people who don’t realize that their choice NOT to do so with fashion is executing exactly the same principle and end-result as if they did), which books they read, which films they watch, etc., but few are as conscientious of that fact as they should be. Certainly, you may watch a different television program than I do, prefer a different author, drive a different model car…but ALL of these things we associate with who we are as an individual was produced for the masses. Yet each one of those was created by an artist. So unless you’re the one creating, all the toys in your wonderland came from someone else’s. If I strip myself naked, disregard all of the afore mentioned possessions and tastes, the only thing I’m left with is what I’ve created with my own hands. My “wonderland”–as dreamlike and fantastic and pretentious as it may be–is more often than not the only non-superficial thing that separates me from anyone else. As stated previously, the sexual chemistry one can create with another person also defines them as an individual; it’s honestly not too dissimilar from the bond one might experience from a musical score, or a photograph, or film that moves them. Aside from a vulgar stain, sexuality can’t take on a physical manifestation; only an emotional one. Similar to the way one can be affected by art. For me anyway, perhaps the act of creating both–or either–is in hope of achieving the same goal. Love can make the heart pound for a person you’ve never made love to, the same way a film can touch you with circumstances you’ve never personally experienced. And maybe that’s why my mind is continually trying to incorporate that layer of sensuality into my work. Albeit, often juvenile & transparent, but so is love. Maybe I’m trying to touch someone in two different ways at once–I still haven’t quite figured that one out yet. 
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My work is nowhere near art with a capital “A” yet–nor might it ever be, if I choose to indulge in and/or pursue a purely editorial style–but the principle seems the same. As corny or cliche as it may sound, my whole life, I’ve just wanted to breathe beauty. I love it. And I want my work to eventually breathe it into other people. I don’t think these are heavily conscious efforts at all–more things that just came to me on a whim, or things that are just as natural to me as tunes are in the head of a musician–but to get back to your question, all the things that make up this “wonderland” are things I find myself quite passionate about: powerful and glorious artwork, sensuality, sexuality, leafy tropical plants and animal furs, graceful figures, strikingly beautiful faces with intoxicating stares, thick, pink, glossy lips and wide, bright eyes, long, thin limbs and flocculent hair, uber feminine fashions with all manner of textures and patterns flowing around your touch, supple flesh that insatiably compels one to lust, rich, dark woods and plush antique furniture, exotic fare, manicured hands gently plucking away at vibrant fruits with delicate pastries and bubbling drinks, extravagant locations, with divinities of beauty just waltzing in and out, legs crooked, haunches taught, and everything around just dripping with passion and beauty in a well orchestrated circus and a sweet, childhood, chewing-gum haze. A beguiling and particularly exquisite soul passes–attention, irreversibly arrested. My enchantment cannot help but escape me. No voice. Beating heart. Racing mind.
Take her arm. Run.
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Reykjavik. Three days. A trip to Grindavik. Make first love in the dark under the glow of the Hotel Esja. A late morning’s start with eggs Benedict and bergamot tea. A Saturday on Laugavegur, hearts and tongues entwined, and then a whole lot of local beer. Touching her, seated on ruched skirts and cordovan sandals. Smash bottles on the pavement, turning heads of capricious children. Run. Laugh. Kiss.
Fox HarvardFox HarvardLondon. Press our noses to the window flying over, as if to make them bleed. Another three days—perhaps even a forth (or fifth), depending on how bad she wants to see the country side. Holding her from behind along the Thames. The Cotswolds, scarves and woolen hats, pale ales and ciders, stained fingers from broiled meats and unbreakable stares at the Blackfriar. Swank hotel near Victoria Station. Messed satin sheets as we pack again.
106272Amsterdam. Await the sticky resin green and dream of the heart’s new botany. Arrive at Central Station, cab it to the Agora. The first two days are recovery, tasting spijs pastries from her fingers with glass after glass of rich advocaat. Passion like none other. Sometime in the wee hours every morning, stagger back to the hotel and repeat in endless variation.  Boy’s t-shirts, skinny jeans, studded boots. Lick another sugary kiss from your lips as we slink onto a train.
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Hamburg. Pull in to the Hauptbahnhof and check into a hotel on the Pulverteich. Take the U-bahn to St. Pauli and do the Reeperbahn. Conquer the cold with glühwein and zigeunerschnitzel and chase with hot lashing embraces of flesh & longing, in your Valisere and stockings. Drink. Smoke. Stay four days. Pack again and head for France.
Fox Harvard
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Paris! Arrive at the Gare du Nord early and weep. This is love. This is where we’re meant to be. Forget the world, forget the cabs, and hoof it to the Jardin de Villiers. Shower. Powder. Unwind. Time for La Grande Dame and Gitanes, flowing gowns and embellished shoes (but naked feet under the table at La Train Bleu match the curious hands at Taillevent). This is PARIS.Stay for life. Eat. Smoke. Fuck.
Amor omnia vicent!
 
 See more of Fox’s work on his website and Tumblr.
Catch his photos of Cam Damage in PUREFILTH Magazine Vol.9.5

 

 

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