Harley Weir gets up-close and intimate in latest exhibit. Exploring the topics of the female body and gaze, Harley Weir presents her latest exhibit ‘Sins of a Daughter’.
Starting from April 9, London-based british photographer and director Harley Weir is holding her first solo exhibition after the pandemic hit. Boldly titled ‘Sins of a Daughter’, the exhibition showcases a mix of 30 old and new intimate works that explores the photographer’s personal perspective on the female body, sexuality, shame, and other topics related to the female gaze. The exhibition will be held up to May 7 in the Hannah Barrah Gallery located in Peckham, South London.
If Weir’s name has not rang a bell, perhaps her work in fashion has. Despite being quite a fresh name in fashion, Weir has shot some of the most iconic editorials in recent times including, Rihanna’s winter 2017 cover for Dazed, Bella Hadid for LOVE magazine’s 23rd issue, the iconic Greta Thunberg i-D cover, and not to mention her campaign work for the big names in fashion like Jacquemus, Stella McCartney, and even the recent Gucci x Balenciaga collaboration.
“It’s from the common saying, “sins of a father.” In this case, I think about the idea of inherited sins, of what has been passed down through my gender from history,” she says in an interview with HighSnobiety, “In a personal sense, thinking about what you inherit from your parents and what they feed down to your bloodline, what they gave you and what you carry, past traumas and sins. When I say sins, you could put it another way and say “history.” Not necessarily bad things.”
Weir explains that she recalls how women were often objectified through the male gaze in the media she consumed as a child, and how women in general were always sexualized with their bodies always being the topic of interest by those around them. Through her up-close photographs of the female subjects, she invites viewers to rethink and re-analyze how we perceive a woman’s body. “When I took those images, it had a big effect on me because I’d never seen anyone’s vagina properly before. It was quite important for me to do that. I’m so thankful for the girls that allowed me to do it because it was really eye-opening and it made me realize that everyone is so different. There’s no designer vagina, we’re all so different and they’re all beautiful in different ways. And we must learn to love them,” she shares to Another.
After taking these photos, Weir takes it another step further and incorporates some alchemy into her work. The photographer takes pieces of photo paper into a dark room and proceeds to experiment with different bodily fluids (including spit, pee, blood, and even cum) and beauty products to see what effect they would cause to the paper. Although the use of such fluids could seem off putting or gruesome to some, Weir explains that she likes it when people incorporate the use of natural materials into their craft and that it makes the entire process feel more natural.
When she explores these methods in the dark, the results of the experiment come off more authentic with her other senses coming to play to communicate her thoughts and feelings.