Photographer Rosie Hardy is an inspiration who shows it is okay to be vulnerable and show true human qualities, says Orla Gartland
Last year I hopped across to Manchester to meet a photographer called Rosie Hardy. It was a stressful time to say the least. I was in the midst of submitting the final tracks for my first EP and hoped Rosie would be the one to capture an image striking enough to use as the front cover and iTunes artwork for the release.
After listening to some of my tunes, Rosie explained to me four image concepts that came to mind, with some clever post-production manipulation involved in each (she’s quite the Photoshop wizard). Given the little time we had it all seemed so ambitious, but something about her passion made me trust her.
The shoot lasted less than two hours. I stumbled into her flat, had my face painted by a nice make-up lady and off we went. Despite our time pressure, the craic was mighty. I’m an absolute newbie when it comes to photoshoots and the likes but the atmosphere was great and within minutes my nerves seemed to melt away.
I’m no photographer myself, but just as a creative person I found Rosie inspiring. She held her bizarre concepts in mind throughout the shoot and executed each within five minutes or so. It was sort of like being round with your GP getting an injection. The hype beforehand was overwhelming, but once it finished I was left there like ‘That’s it? It’s over?’
One of my favourites from the day (which accompanies this article) features me casually flying through an open window. The shot was made up of 3 or 4 different images all shot in the carpark below Rosie’s flat. It was hard to imagine the final shot whilst flailing around, pretending to swim with my belly balanced on a dining chair.
I’ve been chasing that music dream full-time now since I finished the Leaving Cert last June. Between tours I’ve been lucky enough to meet and work with all sorts of creative people; musicians, writers, filmmakers, artists, producers. It involves a lot of travelling and re-introducing yourself but heck, it’s the best fun ever.
Having so many people drift in and out of your life in such rapid succession means only a few really stick with you, Rosie Hardy being one. I realised a few weeks back that I waste a huge chunk of my life as a consumer of YouTube videos with no substance, so whenever I found myself killing time online I instead starting watching TED talks.
TED Talks have been given by everyone from Stephen Hawking to Bono. Not every speaker has such a high profile, but each has something brilliant and thought-provoking to say. Just type ‘TED talks into YouTube to find ‘em, they’re well worth a browse.
Rosie Hardy came to mind for me this week when her TED talk, “Creativity and Happiness” hit YouTube. As someone who often struggles with writer’s block and frequent self-doubt, what she said really hit home.
She speaks about how those in creative fields are “taking what makes you feel alive and caging it.” She admits how people don’t often publicise how “you can cry at night because someone said you’re not good enough.”
Rosie’s work is celebrated and admired by every other photographer I’ve met. She’s shot photographs for Maroon 5, The 1975, stars from Made in Chelsea, The X Factor and The Only Way is Essex.
When someone so successful is brave enough to be so publicly vulnerable, so human, it’s feels like something special. For those just treading water and starting out with any kind of venture, I guess knowing that even those at the top of their game aren’t invincible is oddly encouraging.