We know very little about UK-born, LA-based photographer and creative director Eliot Lee Hazel. He’s just as mysterious as his work for editorials and videos, usually defined by well composed cinematic images that are rough and stylish at the same time. He’s known for his collaborations with various musicians and cutting edge bands like Basement Jaxx, Beck, Cat Power, Morcheeba, Thom Yorke and Yeasayer. His pictures can be magical, unusual, surreal, provocative, or disturbing, but they all have in common a unique sense of imagination that invites the viewer to associate them to unspoken dreams and untold stories. Eliot’s images provoke more questions than answers, and that is precisely the job of a true artist.
What can you tell us about your relationship with photography throughout the years?
It has taken many forms, it’s a shape shifting matter. It’s like a passionate love affair or a long time romance. We have our ups and downs, but we know we are stuck together until death do us apart.
What is your methodology at work?
Make sure my camera bag is packed, and not to forget it.
What are, if any, your main subjects of interest? And how do you approach them?
Architecture and solitude. I approach them slowly…
Nature also occupies an important place in your creative universe. What are the elements that interest you the most?
Landscapes that remind me of how fragile we are.
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It seems that the characters in your pictures serenely accept the norms and rites of the natural world. Is that so?
They are ruled by the natural laws of the universe, I guess.
Human figures are very much present in some of the compositions, but not in a traditional way. They might even seem to take the form of plants or animals and their genre may be ignored. What can you tell us about it?
I’m not a big fan of typical poses and it makes things a lot easier when I can tell someone to stand like a plant, or an animal of their liking.
The poignancy that emanates from some of your works as well as an insistence in showing beauty in a profound sense might move many viewers. What is the meaning of beauty for you?
That’s something the viewer decides on. As we all know, that beauty comes in many forms.
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Your powerful images manage to awaken the viewers, would you agree?
I can barely control my own mind, let alone the mind of others!
What is your connection with your public?
Seeking comfort in our insignificance.
And what is your opinion on the Image Society we live in?
We are what we see.
What can you tell us about your work for the bands Morcheeba and Yeasayer?
I happened to shoot Morcheeba by chance as my girlfriend at the time was styling the band, and the producer was so kind to let me shoot a few snaps on set. The first time working with Yeasayer was similar, as my friends Radical Friend directed their videos and let me take some behind the scenes shots, and some of those images got used for promo and such. I just happened to work again with Yeasayer a few weeks ago, as they asked me to shoot their promo images for their new album. They are a creative bunch, which is a plus as we get to pluck each others brain, and find a happy medium that works.
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In my opinion, some of your photographs are quite abstract in their form and we can almost listen to sounds through the images. Have you ever considered to exploring or even moving to video art?
I am working on one as we speak, so keep your eyes out!
Socrates said that: “our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness.” Would you agree?
I might agree, but then again I tend to drive my friends mad due to my sporadic mind that some might call madness.
Can you share with our readers your next project?
What is behind your choice for photography?
Capturing something that hopefully brings joy and interest to my eye and others...
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