We had the good fortune of connecting with Harp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Harp, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
I believe the most significant decision I made that contributed to my career and success was deciding to become completely vulnerable and visible to the world around me. For a long time I hid my art and things I loved to do. I felt that my ideas and creations would be too bizarre, unusual or eccentric. I didn’t know exactly how people would react or accept the things I desired to show the world that I believed were mystifying. After hiding in the shadows for so long one day I was listening to ‘Instant Destiny’ by Tame Impala and there was a few lines that really struck a nerve.
” I’m about to do something crazy
No more delayin’
No destiny is too far”
Right then I knew if I took a leap of faith it would be the first step to the success, that was already written in my destiny. I took a chance and to my surprise was profoundly shocked to see the encouraging response I got from people. My goal is to make any photo I capture or film I direct look out of the ordinary. I want people to feel like they are looking at a painting or an unheard of world or planet that they instantly feel like they need to visit. I’m all about the illusion and fantasy because I spent many years in my head imagining these colorful dream lands that I used to escape from reality. It’s a blessing I get to create these places from my mind through a lens and finally feeling confident and unapologetic about sharing it with the world.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My journey to where I’m at now was not easy one bit. I went to school for 4 years at North Carolina A&T State University for Communications and English then another 2 at Los Angeles Film School before I even started putting out my work professionally. I wanted to soak up as much knowledge about my craft before I made any moves. I also wasn’t too sure about what I wanted to do. I just knew I loved writing and movies.
The last two years I spent in film school were not easy, we had long hours on set, full day classes, and shoots on the weekend that barely gave me any time for a job or social life. It was a full time commitment. I originally went to film school for Writing and Directing with no intentions of ever being a cinematographer/photographer. I still found myself around that time being the one capturing the moments of the people around me just for memories and fun. I guess that’s what sets me apart from others is because nothing about my art was forced. I studied being a storyteller for 6 years so telling a story through a lens with color, people, and everything else around me came so naturally. It kind of seemed like it was destined for me to do so. I wanted to give up many times but honestly the people around me truly helped me overcome that and made sure I kept going.
Now that I’m a full time photographer I don’t have as much time to write as I used to but I plan on taking some of my stories and shooting a couple short films in the near future. I’m currently working on a clay stop motion that I’m super excited to share with the world. I want people to see that I can do more than just take photos and I have so many cool, twisted, and fun stories I want people to experience. My ultimate goal is to push out a lot of stop motion and short films by 2022. I love horror and musicals so I want to find a way to highlight that in most of my films.
I’m 27 now so by the time I’m 30 I want to get back to writing full time and publish a few novels. I’ve always wanted to write a fantasy series.
I’m a pretty private person so I guess everything I want the world to know about me, my brand, and story they will have to learn through the art. I like to keep a bit of mystery surrounding “Harp”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
So if my best friend were to be coming in town for a week, there’s a lot spots I would take them! They would probably be worn out by the middle of the week. Of course I would have to show them around La La Land first if this is their first time here. Drive up Mulholland Drive, hike Runyon, see the stars on Hollywood Blvd, shopping on Melrose, walk down Santa Monica Pier, go skating in Venice, the basic stuff. I would try to get most of the tourist things out the way early in the trip.
As far as food my favorite spots to eat are Nice Guy, A Beautiful Life Jamaican, 3rd Base, JOEY’s, Met Her at a Bar (great brunch), BossaNova (they have my favorite pasta), Silverlake Ramen. Ubatuba Acai, BOA Steakhouse,
I’m super chill when I’m just hanging out, getting work done, or just trying to catch a vibe. I like to sit at Aroma Cafe or the Huntington Library just to get a peace of mind. I find myself going to Little Tokyo a lot as well in my free time the vibes over there are untouchable. A walk around Silver Lake or Burbank is cool too.
Going out to drink is my specialty so we would hit my favorite bar in the city Good Times At Davey Wayne’s just about every night! I love Saddle Ranch, Berkshire House, The Patio at The Academy, Employee’s Only, Hollywood Hookah, Mama’s Shelter and just about any bar on the strip of Santa Monica Blvd.
It’s also important to me to get out of LA on their visit because I spend a lot of time outside of LA myself. I would take them down to Laguna Beach which is my favorite place to just get away sometimes. Maybe up to coast to Santa Barbara as well. I love the desert, so Joshua Tree would be a cool option too. My favorite drive in theatre is in Montclair, Ca “Mission Tiki” that’s a great place to catch a good film with some awesome food. I love their nachos.
I’ve only been in LA for three years and kind of frequent the same spots so my goal is to explore more of Los Angeles while I’m here.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family and friends who saw the vision and talent in me before I did. They pushed me harder than I pushed myself. If it wasn’t for the people around me, I likely wouldn’t be doing the things I’m doing
Also, I suppose the people that hurt me in the past, I don’t know I kind of thrive off the pain, heartbreak, and rejection. I go even harder just to prove to the people that didn’t see me as much that I’m bigger than how they treated me. One of my favorite lyrics about this is
‘Took all the pain and I ran with it
Took all the fame and I ran with it
I took a few losses and ran with it”
A lot of people underestimated me.