A big inspiration for Harry, while he was making the work, was Nomadland, the Oscar-winning film featuring Frances McDormand and directed by Chloé Zhao, that follows a woman in her 60s who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living in a van. “I watched it halfway through the trip and felt a deep connection to the lives and stories in that movie,” Harry remarks. “The phrase ‘I’ll see you down the road’ really sucker-punched me and in a way helped shape how I was feeling.” He found the parallels between his and the main character’s journeys reassuring, and while “taking on this nomadic lifestyle for five weeks obviously isn’t the same as being a nomad full time, I was able to draw upon the same themes in that story to help me with my own grief,” he adds.
When the trip came to an end, “I felt a weight being lifted,” Harry tells us. Although the trip served to begin the grieving process after all these years, he’s currently in the process of seeking professional help through therapy “as I don’t want to give the impression that a five-week trip in Scotland can heal all of your problems”. What he hopes the project does prove, however, is that “life is tough, dark and challenging but it also has light and love. Finding that light for yourself and empowering yourself isn’t a selfish act as I once thought, but vital for finding happiness.”
He has plans to turn the project into a small book or zine with sales going to charity Calm. “It’s important to me that my journey on the road can have a positive impact on those who need help and support. That to me is what photography should all be about. Sharing stories and helping one another where we can,” he says. A queer photographer, this notion is what weaves its way throughout all of Harry’s projects and he often uses his camera to further social equality and justice, as well as representation of the LGBTQIA+ community. The medium became a safe place for him during school, where he could express himself without judgement but also excel in a subject that came more naturally to him as someone with dyslexia and dyscalculia. As his journey with the camera progressed, his appreciation of the medium became more profound: “I loved that anyone can take a photograph. Even though the gatekeepers in the art world are predominantly cis men, I found as a queer creative I was able to tell and share stories that I cared about and connect with others who want to hear those stories and share their own.” And that’s really the crux of Tales From the Road. It hones in on a shared experience of humanity through an interpersonal lens – it’s at once universal and hyper intimate. It encourages empathy and self-reflection and above all, it’s simply a testament to the importance of honesty, communication, strong relationships and self-love.