photographer / hana haley model / miki hamino stylist / becca mikesell clothing / mercy vintage now interview / paul gregoire i.t.a.
oh my, check out bubble gum grrrl, i mean like really, how absolutely gorgeous is she… making her way down the san fran streets with retro-kawaii grace. it be the lens of hana haley that’s captured the lollipop splendour of our grrrl, as she traipses through a pastel pinkish haze. ms haley of honeyuck photography is renowned for her smouldering vintage shots. she portrays pouting, petite beauties with an ethereal lightness about them, who hearken back to a bygone era that when you blink you find is now. hana is a san francisco-based photographer, who hails from portland and lucky for us, she’s here to speak with LADYGUNN
ms hana, tis such a pleasure… so like, how did you come across bubble gum grrrl? she’s such an adorable model. did she just fall out of the sky? what were you trying to capture in the shoot?
Miki (the model) is a recent transplant to San Francisco, originally from Japan. I believe we met on Instagram, which is where most model relationships are found. Her real life presence is one of hyperactive cuteness and confidence. The story behind this editorial focuses on fame, popularity, and celebrity antics. I told Miki she would be playing a trending internet musician named “Bubblegum Grrrl” who lived in a pink and purple mansion and wore blue lipstick. Miki was down. From signing autographs to getting publically drunk on the beach, we tried our best to bring our imaginary character to life.
in your back catalogue you feature a smorgasbord of stunning models. how do you find your models? do they come looking for you? and what do you look for in a subject?
As mentioned above, social media sites are where I find it easiest to connect with the individuals who inspire me. Half of the time these girls are not models but other photographers, stylists, artists, etc. It’s important for me to work with models who I admire and adore as people… sites like Instagram and Tumblr help me peek inside a person’s brain much better than some banal agency’s page. I look for realness in my subjects. I look for personality.
i simply adore the name of your photography: honeyuck. so I must ask, how did you come up with such a gorgeous amalgamation of words and what does it mean to you?
The name Honeyuck is something I put less than five minutes of thought into – I needed to create a Flickr username and I happened to be eating some honey (my favorite snack that week) but I thought the word “honey” was a little too whimsical, so I added “yuck” to the end. A more eloquent way of describing this word would be a beautiful notion that doesn’t take itself very seriously. I enjoy the pseudonym so I don’t have to feel like my real name is a product. To me, “Honeyuck” represents my imagination and my vision.
your works have such a misty retro feel: the fashion is vintage and your settings lull one back through time. is it hard to get your shoots looking as authentic as you do?
Not at all, it’s a three step equation of 1 vintage 70s camera + 35mm film + colourful vintage clothes. Creating the misty retro feel is a pain in the ass when shooting digital though!
so you capture a time that’s no longer. what draws you to this past? is there something back there you long for?
I grew up in a log cabin with perfectly maintained 1970s décor and 1960s furniture. My grandfather (who I lived with) would play Alfred Hitchcock and other classic mystery films that had a heavy influence on my imagination… the clothes, the colors, the hazy sharp lighting. I find the past mysterious and alluring and retro eras much more aesthetically pleasing than today. I must admit I am addicted to nostalgia and can’t help but display this in my fashion shoots.
how did you find yourself behind the lens in the first place? what led you to pick up a camera and start shooting? was it always with you or did something spark it off?
When I was 18 I made friends with a male photographer who shot with an old Minolta. You could say I had a bit of a crush on him, and in hopes of impressing him I found a Canon AE-1. One night I put a pink wig on my friend and asked her to pose topless with her back to the camera. Taking her picture was like casting magic spells. I felt powerful, inventive and visionary. For the next two years I took photos of my friends dressing them in my vintage clothes that we used for “costumes”. I still laugh about how a short-lived crush is what led me here.
for a new shoot where does the inspiration come from? and once you have that initial burst of creativity, just how do you bring it into fruition?
I couldn’t tell you exactly, each shoot has its own inspiration source. It usually comes from music or words. I think of themes, dialogue, scenes… very much like a film script. Afterward I like to draw sketches, make collages and find locations.
so which photographers have influenced your work and besides them what other aspects of culture impact upon your creativity?
Wendy Bevan (a fashion photographer in England) first inspired me with her polaroids in 2006. I’ll never forget seeing her work for the first time. David Hamilton for his soft-porn dreamscapes. Venetia Scott for her creamy tones and fantastic stylist work. The most influential people are actually filmmakers… I really identify with creating environments and worlds for my subjects to live, talk, eat, fight, sleep within. It’s important that my fashion photography always has a lot more to than just showing off clothes.
and just one more question, if all your work was a motion picture, what would the title would be?
Wide Eyed Honey
so ms haley thanks once more for speaking with LADYGUNN. we simply adore your hazy fantasy snapshots…
more pictures here!