Love is the origin of all creations and the camera has always been a great instrument to traverse the deeper side of the relationships people share with each other. Let us say an “inexperienced”, trying to avoid the word “bad” photographer, is someone who is a dispassionate, disconnected and unempathetic lens observer who photographs from the perspective of an ‘objective’ viewer, rather than an emotional, subjective human. Some photographers and image makers never bore of making photographs and that is simply because it is their love for their subjects which is the most important and not just photographing to have a large archive.
The best advice is no advice, but a piece of professional advice on photography will be: only making images of the things you love in life, is one of the ways to have undying passion and enthusiasm for the craft. Great love is needed to achieve the best photography or filmmaking because only love is capable of inspiring and sustaining the patience needed to strive towards truth in a motion picture, it is the glowing warmth and that analytic profundity that accompanies the birth of art. And, unbeknownst to a lot of artists who are very good at their craft, love is a theme that has been widely explored throughout the stages of their career, either through painting, music, fashion, film, and photography is no exception.
Life is fragile and delicate, and those who are carefree with how they live are always interesting individuals. Photographers who fall under this category make images with a zest that can easily be felt upon first gaze at their work. If you walk into a scene and find yourself asking “Who lives like this“ you might have just stumbled on a great photograph, the same applies to photographers whose viewers often wonder what their lives must be like for them to produce the kind of images they make. In a way, carefree is being in love with life, and images that are carefree come from being in love with the subject, in love with the moment, in love with the feeling the moment brings and in love with the importance of what capturing such a memory would mean later in the future. It is for these reasons that we spoke to Ruby Harris, and in this journal project, she explains why she lives like that.
Hello Ruby, and welcome to Random Photo Journal. Briefly introduce yourself, What do you do and what got you started on your filmmaking and photography journey?
I’m Ruby. I grew up in the bottom of the South Island of NZ. I am a director and a cook. I love swimming, dancing & biking around. I bought a camera when I was eight, my babysitter took me to the shop and flirted with the cashier so we got a discount on a pink fujifilm point-and-shoot. I had been saving up by selling my rabbits and guinea pigs. I have always had a camera since. I love it. For recording my friends and family and as a way to meet new people. I loved it then, and I love it now. Always fun to share and make images with people.
It’s easy to watch films and make of it our own meaning but it is also better to hear from the horse’s mouth, what is your film “Pet Day” really about?
Haha. I haven’t spoken on Pet Day in a year or so! Pet Day is loosely inspired by my life and it’s about how our parent’s experiences affect us whether we are aware of it or not. It speaks to the ways we are brought up which is influenced by what our parents have experienced. I wanted to show that through rural New Zealand, friendship, parent-child relationships and love. Love guides that film.
In the series of images, you shared with us, which is your favourite image, and what is the story behind it?
They all make me a little bit emotional. I don’t know if I have a favourite. They make me feel a connection to home and the people that I look up to. Actually, I know. It’s the B&W one of the young women looking at the sand. I wasn’t going to include it but I really love it. That day, my niece Amali, who is 10 years younger than me, and I went to a friend’s birthday party, dropped them a cake then drove to the beach for sunset. When we got there we sprinted down to the water and the tide was so far out there were huge pools of water which we splashed in. Amali had never been to a beach with black sand before and we were dancing around and then watched the sun go down behind the ocean, pretty special evening.
Since most of these images are made by iPhone, Is equipment important in photography or film?
Noooooo. No. Nah. We all have access to things we can make images with. Equipment is not important. I am trying to remind myself it is not important as I don’t always have access to fancy shit. But what does matter is being given the opportunity to use different or fancier equipment to explore and challenge yourself with different ways you can shoot.
Are there other photographers whose work you enjoy and draw inspiration from?
I don’t want to cringe here but Edith Amituanai is an incredible photographer. I also love the images created by Random Photo Journal. I love work that is honest and styled, but real. It’s all about how you view your world. I think those photos give me a lot of inspiration visually and politically to be truthful and to appreciate what is already around you.
In your opinion, what makes a film a good one?
I love to be questioned or challenged. I love to see something new. Fuck it up. A good film is one that knows its intention. When it knows what it wants to say and you can take that from it. That’s what I think. Although sometimes I like to be left questioning… I know when it leaves you thinking about it after it is finished.
Mission statements aren’t farfetched with most creators, so we were wondering if that applies to you too, in the sense of: what message do you plan to pass across with your films or creative work, is there a perception of yourself you anticipate from the industry? Do you have several messages to pass one after the other or is there a fixed „if you see this work then you know it’s Ruby Harris“ signature attached to your work?
What is my perception of myself!!?? Good laugh. Loud laugh. I perceive myself as determined and pretty friendly. I like to have a lot of fun. Whoever has the most fun wins I believe even if it’s really serious you have to find the fun otherwise what’s the point? I constantly want to be challenged, critical and excited about the unknown. What the industry thinks of me is up to them but I hope to keep surprising people with what I can do.