Fashion and art photographer, Hazel Hurley, harnesses the power of technical photography to create moving and thought-provoking pieces of contemporary art, with recent exhibitions including the Henley Festival, Cafe Royal and a showing of her new collection, Concupiscence, at the Freud Bar.
Hurley has lived in London’s St John’s Wood her whole life, and since last year has been living part-time in Los Angeles, “I can’t see myself leaving full time as it’s a diverse and creative city.”
“My job has two elements, the first entails the art side where I produce pictures for exhibitions. I have done several exhibitions in the past two years that are all quite different and allows me to explore creative and topical issues in depth. The other part of my job entails being a fashion photographer where I can be booked to work on anything from fashion weeks through to music videos.
“Initially, I always dreamt of being a zoologist as I’m passionate about animals. I have done a fair amount of animal photography for studies at degree level when I was at studying at Goldsmiths. It wasn’t until I was older, and I studied media that my passion was photography.
Hurley studied Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University, majoring in photography, and picked up some work experience on film and television shows whilst studying. “I also had a paid job in Savile Row at Kent & Curwen for two years, learning about professional tailoring, which has helped my styling of my photographs. Since graduation I have had a number of successful exhibitions on the art side of my work and also paid commissions. On the fashion photography side, I have recently worked on all fashion weeks, music videos and with fashion bloggers.”
Concupiscence is Hurley’s shocking yet beautiful collection based on a study of the male gaze and the way that the female body is the object of Hollywood style scopophilia. As with Concupiscence, much of Hazel’s inspiration comes from seeking new perspectives in order to see the world a little differently. Themes of voyeurism play a big part in the young photographer’s work as she explores threads of youth, femininity and trauma to create insightful and high impact pieces.
Using natural surroundings, Hurley showcases the female form both from the perspective of the male gaze and from that of other women and she introduces innovative man-made materials to either enhance or distort those viewpoints. In addition to showcasing her art photography – “On the art side my highlight was exhibiting at the Café Royal in West London” – this year’s career highlights for Hurley include her work on a number of fashion week events, including those in New York, London and Milan for shows by Phillip Plein, Carine Roitfield and Markus Lupfer.
She is also the author of Hazel Hurley – Photography, a beautiful coffee table book which showcases her creative spirit and offers a visual narrative on the male gaze, outward beauty, abuse, false beauty and sleep paralysis. References to voyeurism are consistent throughout her projects, something that has become more common in popular culture through the rising use of social media – a place where Hazel finds inspiration to create these contemporary works of art. She also admires Jessica Kobeissi, “as she is always bringing amazing content to the community and pushes me to new heights in my photography.”
“I am currently working on an exciting project with British Hair for relaunching their brand, on the arts side I’m working on a couple of large commissions and also developing my next exhibition.” As for the tools of her trade, “My Canon 5D Mark IV, lighting and my own artistic interpretation.”
Hurley is signed to the Beautiful Crime agency in London for her artwork, and currently seeking representation in the U.S. so that she may develop and expand her photography technical skills and artistic reach. There’s also lots of exciting projects in the pipeline, “but nothing I’m allowed to publicly discuss. Sorry!”
Hazel Hurley – Photography is available via Blurb HERE.
Hazel Hurley’s Top 5 London, LA & Beyond
To Eat: Gracias Madre in West Hollywood – I try my hardest to eat vegan food throughout the week, and it’s the best for vegan food! Rucola in Little Chalfont – Friendly people and the food is exceptionally good, and they are dog friendly! Restaurant Ours in London – The atmosphere and the scenery in the restaurant is breath taking and the food is all for sharing which is great because you can eat loads! Cecconi’s in London – Italian is my favourite food! Tao in LA – Is great for a chill night with girlfriends!
To Drink: Dandelyan in London – The idea around the bar is amazing. You tell the bartenders what flavours you like and alcohol and you will receive a unique concoction. Additionally, paired with the view of Southbank! The Botanist in London – Gin is one of my favourite drinks, so the botanist is the go-to place to cater! It’s an amazing chill out bar/restaurant, and the drinks are Instagram worthy. Serafina in LA – The happy hour! The Polo Lounge in LA – A cool scene surrounded in a fun area, great for a day of brunch drinks! Alchemist in London – I’m a bit of a science geek, so anything to do with chemistry is up my street!
To Party: Shoreditch House in London – A great place to party because you can either relax with a few drinks or you can go into one of the DJ rooms and have boogie all night! 1 OAK in LA – In the heart of LA, and the decor is incredible. 360 in Dubai – a panoramic view of the Jumeriah location, I was recently there to celebrate their 13th birthday! Peppermint in LA – Small club with amazing live music. Radio Rooftop Bar in London – Get to experience an amazing view of the city, and rooftop bars are my favourite!
To Walk: Black Park – Where I have had a film and television background I love being able to see what filming they are up to! Soho Farmhouse – I feel like I am in true countryside, surrounded by all the farm animals and my dogs love socialising with the horses! Ashridge in Chesham – There is a lot of wildlife in this nature park and I can’t tempt myself enough to get photos of the deer. Richmond Park – Same as above, the wildlife draws me in! Palm Springs – I feel like I get thrown back into the retro times. I love seeing all the old cars and cute street shops.
To Shop: Zara – Affordable and sophisticated, and great for the seasonal basics! Acne – Best on trend shop with an edge! Selfridges – If I want to indulge I can find every place to shop. Missguided – My favourite online shop, I am always able to find unique and bold statement pieces. HIGH – One of my favourite places to shop for my summer wardrobe, the clothes are comfy and are all technical fabrics. Everything is machine washable!