Under the Hood: portraits of young men in Salford in the 1990s challenge stereotypes
From shipyard apprentice to British Army sniper – until following his creative passion achieving an MA at the Royal College of Art – it's safe to say Chris Harrison has experienced all walks of life.
Perhaps this is the reason why the born and raised North East photographer captures societal stereotypes so elegantly.
His series 'Under the Hood' presents a collection of beautifully composed portraits of young men living in Salford in the 1990s. In a clever use of juxtaposition, Harrison employs the conventions of ‘old masters’ painting to subvert stereotypical representations, humanising the characters trapped under the hood of prejudice.
The lighting with maroon draping echoes grand stature and, when met with the down-to-earth, grittily real props and subjects creates evocative and impactful imagery. But above all, Harrison's work underlines the class struggle found in modern British society and the prejudice that comes with it. As the men stare back at us across a quarter of a century, it leaves you questioning the still unresolved fine line between saints and sinners.
Awarded the 16th Bradford Fellowship in photography at the National Media Museum, Harrison’s work has been exhibited globally. He has showcased at Rencontres d’Arles photography festival, Tate Britain, Imperial War Museum and the German Historical Museum. And, with his photographs included in the collections of the V&A Museum, the National Media Museum and Bibliotecque Nationale de France, it's safe to say the successful photographer will continue to inspire for years to come.
You can see Harrison's series at Hit the North, an upcoming exhibition at Central Library in Manchester from 19 April until 30 June 2018. Find out more about his work at chrisharrison.no.
This article was written by Jack Ramage.