COME AND DIE
TA: What’s good?
HH: Currently sitting in a tattoo parlor with a very sore arm. I’m down in NOLA prepping for a shoot 100 miles off the coast, so the proper pirate thing to do is get some fresh ink before casting out to sea.
TA: Who were you before you picked up a camera? how’d that moment change the course of your life?
HH: Before I picked up the camera I was finishing my freshman year of college with little to no direction on what I wanted to do. I had changed majors 4 times & was in full recognition that I was not ready to commit the money or time into a career that I wasn’t certain I was designed for. Shortly after ending up back in my hometown, I met a kid hitchhiking through the area named Michael Portugal. He was a photographer, skateboarder & most importantly a friend to those who needed one. He was radically living out his faith in God as a nomad & before long I was leaving with him. We hitched the west coast bottom to top, saying yes to every adventure/challenge that poked its ugly head up. During the trip he taught me the basics of photography & things have just evolved ever since.
TA: How do you see your life today as opposed to what you envisioned for yourself as a kid?
HH: Oh man. I wanted to be a herpetologist (one who researches & studies reptiles and amphibians) my entire childhood. I used to run around wearing Steve Irwin-esque khaki shorts with my field guide, catching anything that could run away from me. Snake bites were temporary tattoos long before I started getting permanent ones. I still love it though. Yesterday was spent alligator hunting in the bayou during a rainstorm (to no avail).
TA: We know you get around. What is the most sketch situation you've gotten yourself into during your travels?
HH: Ah. So my buddy Mikey & I were driving my car through Arizona right after crossing the border from Mexico & we were very ready to be home. We had just left Portugal in L.A. & were cruising back to Missouri because I had a job in Colorado I was trying to get to. While on a long stretch of road we encountered a couple southern boys who didn’t take too much of a liking to us (probably due to the fact that we were a couple skinny, tattooed punk kids burning cigs with the windows down having a damn good time). A bit of road rage (instigated by them) ensued, and after they tried to run us off the road, extra measures needed to be taken. Mikey flaunted a pistol as we cruised past them & they stomped the brakes & got off at the next exit. About 10 minutes later we took note of the two cop-suburbans behind us, followed by 2 cop-chargers & a Sheriff's car. We got pulled over by over a dozen cops, all with guns blazing, aimed directly at the back of my car. Mikey & I got out slowly with our hands up, doing as they said. We both walked backwards slowly to the sound of their voices. While standing parallel, facing away from the same people who are supposed to be protecting us, I suddenly remember Mikey has a huge anarchy sign tattooed on his chest. I watched as they asked him to turn around slowly to face them.. The look on their faces were priceless. Mikey went to jail that night & I ended up driving alone to Albuquerque, New Mexico to stay with a friend I met through Instagram. The next day we picked him up from jail & did our best to shake off the incident.
TA: Who is inspiring you right now?
HH: Currently I’ve been getting really stoked on Theo Gosselin (Instagram: @theogosselin). I am caring less & less about the instafamous extravagance of upper-echelon vacation “adventure” & more and more about honest moments that make me feel something. Our society is saturated with media & the well-filtered prim & proper makes me bored. Give me something broken, something confusing, something different.
TA: What is inspiring you right now?
HH: Lately I’ve been really inspired by the irony & subtle beauty of normality. Corralling siblings in trailer park driveways, businessmen in suits who’ve traded their time on this planet for the all-mighty dollar, elderly folk who spend their time using their words & stories to shine a light on the darkness that blinds today’s youth. People, man.
TA: Where do you call home? does your location play a role in your creativity?
HH: Home is in Branson, Missouri right now. My family, friends & girlfriend all live there. I am actively involved in a ministry that works with kids living in families that have been broken by addiction. Photography will always come second to a lifestyle that is actively serving & loving on fragmented communities. The energy that comes with such involvement is inspiring to me & the exposure to such dark scenarios definitely lends to a paradigm shift in my “creative eye”. I value sunsets and log cabins a hell of a lot less than human interaction now, for example.
TA: Anyone you’ve crossed paths with that made a major impact on you as an artist?
HH: Portugal (as listed above). My cousin (@beidly) let me use his 35mm film camera when I was at a peak interest point in my photographic genesis, he took out a lot of his time to teach me what he knew. Christian Gideon (@christiangideon) was a big encouragement in my early stages as well; he’d invite me to tag along on shoots & he’d give me tips about composition, lighting, etc., -stuff that still lay a role in my work today.
TA: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community or are you more of a lone wolf?
HH: Definitely need the creative community. My friends are all constantly creating, collaborating & rejoicing as one another succeeds. There’s typically never any competition or selfishness in my circle of influencers which makes generating rad content super fun.
TA: What drives you to keep pushing forward?
HH: My relationship with God is one of my key motivators to continue to create substantial content & to tell stories that matter.
TA: What is one of the biggest challenges you face as someone who is following their passion.
HH: I do get occasional pushback from friends and family members who don’t understand the passion behind what I do. I’m the only person in my family to drop out of college, get tattoos, hitch hike, dumpster dive, etc., so I used to feel like the blacksheep all the time. Lately it feels like the people who know me are on the same page though.
TA: Are you happy with your work?
HH: It ebbs & flows. I, like many, am my own biggest critic. Anytime I feel like I’ve embodied the feeling or vibe of a moment, I’m content. Photos are portals, man.
TA: Plan b?
HH: Mission work probably. I’d like to eventually move overseas to a 3rd world country & share my time & faith with the people who don’t have our gratuitous luxury.
TA: Aside from photography, do you have any other creative outlets?
HH: Skateboarding takes up just as much if not more time as photography. I started skating a year & a half ago or so and try to skate every day. Something so organic and raw about surfing those asphalt waves.
TA: Favorite web resources?
HH: I prefer paperback resources.. If I am going to spend time getting in a creative headspace, I’ll usually go thrift some old national geographic magazines and get lost in those perfect moments captured by the greats of previous eras.
TA: Whats next?
HH: Tentative plans for this summer/fall are a trip to Seattle, followed by some hitchhiking down the coast & hopefully jumping some freight trains. Might be spending some time in Mexico with a friend who has a spanish teacher who lives down there.. I try to keep future plans as unplanned as possible, -helps keep me in the moment.