What Photography Means To Me: Harrison O’Garro

Our blog series aims to celebrate the personal meaning of the cultural and creative industries to people, from industry professionals, students and general audiences. This month, photographer Harrison discusses how pursuing photography satisfies his curiosity and independence and the ways in which photography crosses subject boundaries for inspiration.

I first got into photography after choosing to study it as one of my four GCSE options. In my first few lessons, I remember being tasked with documenting my ideas based on my first topic of study, which was ‘Nature Into Abstraction’. I had a lot of ideas and a senior member of staff popped in to speak to my photography teacher during lesson time and was amazed with the amount of ideas I had come up with. Fast-forwarding to the end of my second year, I was tasked with filling up a sketchbook related to my chosen theme ‘Outline’. This was my favourite part of the course because it allowed me to express myself and use a whole host of ideas. In terms of inspirational figures in my photographic journey, I would say that my photography teacher played a big part in me making the decision to get into photography as he was a very charismatic person who recognises my fierce independence.

I enjoy photography because of the long journeys, the extensive research tasks, the planning and the learning of different cultures and lifestyles. Photography is everywhere and I feel that the flexibility of this subject doesn’t get enough attention. I enjoy these because they are crucial to the sustainability of human life and play a part in us developing a better understanding of the environment we live in. For me, the feeling of being rewarded for the work I put into capturing each image is what makes photography worthwhile.

My favourite types of photography are transport , street , identity, nature, and sports. I remember watching a YouTube series that was produced by Londonist Ltd, titled ‘Secrets of the Underground’. This series inspired me to incorporate more ideas, and this prompted me to change the way I captured images. I enjoy these styles of photography because they are very flexible; they can be linked to or influenced by a subject matter that doesn’t necessarily have a photographic origin e.g. a photo-shoot based on plants can be inspired by a piece of literature and a musical composition can be inspired by an image of a garden.

Learning new editing techniques has always been very important to me and my growth as a photographer. My favourite types of edits are double exposure edits, glitch edits, light manipulation edits (e.g. solarisation), colour edits and black and white edits. Learning how to execute these editing styles has led to me developing a passion for creating surreal images using real-life images that I have captured. A technique that I came up with and occasionally use is ‘selective screen glitch’ technique, which involves selecting specific areas of an image, shifting them out of position and adding colour to the areas that have been shifted out of position.

A selective screen glitch edit I produced in May 2020. The original image was taken outside Twickenham Station on June 10th 2019

Since I left sixth form in August 2018, I have carried out over twenty photo-shoots in different locations in South East England. I am inspired by the idea that photography is not just about converting light into imagery, but is also about being disciplined, inspiring others to be active, finding a niche and enjoying the process. Photography isn’t just a skill, it’s a passion that allows us to relive events and help us find our identity.

Harrison is an aspiring photographer, video producer and musician. Follow him on Instagram @harrisonogarro.