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Huis Marseille opens exhibition of works by Jamie Hawkesworth
Preston Bus Station, 2013 © Jamie Hawkesworth.

AMSTERDAM.- Landscape with Tree draws the visitor into the world of a young photographer who in just five years has become a favourite of the fashion world, where the originality of his subtle and empathetic style was immediately recognized. Hawkesworth’s distinctive editorials have appeared in The New York Times Style Magazine, Vogue US / UK / Paris, W, WSJ Magazine, and a great many other leading publications. The exhibition Landscape with Tree takes us on a journey through the life, the work, and the mind of a young photographer whose remarkable sensibilities have steadily grown stronger. Hawkesworth’s seminal Preston Bus Station project of 2013 shows the traits that went on to grow in the travel reportages he made in Congo (2016) and in Colombia (2017), culminating in Hawkesworth’s recent series of nude portraits of curvy women he made for Print Magazine (2017).

The introduction of a new style
The fashion world is a particularly stimulating environment for the development of creativity. It is often when working under enormous pressure and in hectic surroundings that moments of pure poetry can arise. Such moments are especially evident in the photographs of the young British photographer Jamie Hawkesworth (Ipswich, 1987). Around five years ago his work introduced a new aesthetic to fashion photography that was immediately embraced and which gained a wide following. Hawkesworth continues to photograph in the same pure, susceptible way that he did when he first encountered photography: with analogue film and a medium-format camera. Once Hawkesworth had discovered photography, the passion never left; he now devotes all his time to making photographs and to perfecting his working methods and style. That style is characterized by a warm colour palette that Hawkesworth developed while printing his work, a craft he has continued to perfect. Attached as he is to the craftsmanship of photography, Hawkesworth has never let himself be pushed into using digital technology, even when he started working as the assistant of a fashion photographer. His images are characterized by a kind of purity, a ‘knowing awkwardness’, that comes from his fascination for the particular, the odd and the beautiful in daily life. Jamie Hawkesworth’s approach to photography is based on the subtle, playful, and elegiac legacy of British documentary photography.

‘Preston is my Paris’ and the discovery of fashion
In 2007 Jamie Hawkesworth was studying forensic science at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston (GB), and held a camera for the first time to photograph a reconstructed crime scene. Within a year he had decided to switch to the photography department at the same university. Soon after graduating, Hawkesworth created a series of delicate and empathetic portraits of the architecture and people of the North of England. As a member of the collective Preston is my Paris he made photographs and a short film for his project Preston Bus Station, which was subsequently exhibited as an installation in the bus station itself. The project was also published as a newspaper.

First in Preston, and later on his many travels through the north of England, Hawkesworth learned how to photograph the people he noticed just as they were, using a subtle choreography that would become his trademark. He has a sharp eye for what makes someone distinct – “an interesting haircut, or the way that they stood, or anything like that” – and what attracts him to fashion photography is the opportunity to strengthen this distinction: “You could take someone who was already interesting and then elevate their character to something that you would not have been able to otherwise,” he says. During a journey through the north of England that he made with the stylist Benjamin Bruno for Man About Town they asked a young blonde girl in a flowery dress to put on a blue designer suit, and her already powerful presence was transformed into something extraordinary. “It always stood out for me as a moment of understanding of how interesting fashion could be,” he says. During his journeys Hawkesworth is open to whatever he comes across: “I try to approach it in an honest way […] I think it is the openness of allowing things to happen, and any kind of beauty can creep in.”

Landscape with Tree
The Preston Bus Station photographs drew Jamie Hawkesworth to the attention of the fashion world, and it was thanks to this fashion world that he was offered the chance – through all sorts of documentary assignments – to explore the whole world, places and subjects that seemed ‘a million miles’ away from his original roots. Hawkesworth made photographs in Antarctica and the Congo for T-Magazine, in Colombia for Tiffany’s, and on a personal voyage of discovery in Russia he made the series Endless Rhythm, a title referring to the incessant rumble and judder of the train. Even when he felt as if he was a million miles from his starting point he invariably returned to his source, to that which defined the core of his oeuvre. Hawkesworth makes no distinction between the different categories of his photographic work, and the whole of his oeuvre is linked by a steadily growing sensibility and the continuous development of a personal and self-confident idiom. The large fibre prints of curvy female nudes in delicate hats on an English beach represent the peak of Hawkesworth’s oeuvre to date. The organic layout of the Huis Marseille galleries allow the visitor to accompany this young photographer on a personal and professional journey – from the north of England to the fashion world and back again – and to share his experiences and insights.

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