Jamie Hawkesworth’s Forensic Fashion

Between Vogue editorials and lookbooks for Loewe and Hermès, Brit Jamie Hawkesworth is well-established in the realm of fashion photography. One of his latest works is Miu Miu’s Resort 2015 campaign, in which he juxtaposes the Miu Miu girl and various abstract landscapes–from rusting barns to a thin, sparse island tree. His aim, he explains, was “to build a landscape around its character that felt very honest and intriguing.” Having experimented with diptychs before, Hawkesworth was excited to apply these contrasts to the campaign. “It felt perfect and precise to open up the Miu Miu world a little, and to play with a very narrow, but beautiful narrative,” he says.

Hawkesworth never intended to become a photographer. Growing up, he always dismissed art class as “pointless.” To him, “the idea of being ‘creative’ didn’t have any meaning at all.”  It wasn’t until Hawkesworth was studying forensic science at the University of Central Lancashire that he first picked up a camera. “It was odd, but I could kind of see and feel how photos were actually something much more than I thought they were,” he recalls. Needless to say, he quit science and never looked back.

The London-based photographer’s entry into the fashion world was yet another happy accident. “When I graduated from university I went straight into assisting fashion photographers as they were much more readily available to assist than documentary photographers,” he explains.  “Most documentary photographers I tried to assist either didn’t use assistants or would tell me to bugger off.”

Inspired by fine art and fashion photographers such as as Irving Penn, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nigel Shafran, and Robert Mapplethorpe, Hawkesworth now enjoys using the medium as a creative outlook to “just get out there, and explore.” Outside of his fashion work, he creates vivid series documenting the quotidian life of suburban British youths—almost romanticized in their gritty banality—such as “Preston Bus Station,” “Weekend Trains,” and “Hartlepool.”

“Photography has always felt like such a wonderful way to respond to what’s actually happening…in a very immediate and simple way,” says Hawkesworth. “I try and keep my documentary and fashion work as close to each other as possible. I would never want to see them as different,” he adds. “It should all feel very personal.”

As for searching for his next shot, Hawkesworth is “never really looking for anything in particular.” Instead, he waits and takes time “to just notice and appreciate when people are being themselves, those quiet, awkward moments of being human.”  He continues, “I think that really defines ‘looking’ for me.”