I’ve learnt to try and be really open to everything. We’re constantly being bombarded with imagery, and you’re building up a catalogue in your head of the little things that stick with you. Like, seeing an old woman at a bus stop in Rome with pink hair and lots of clips in it. You’re constantly being thrown these things and storing them away. That’s why the internet is a bit of a killer, because you’re all looking at the same things. I like to hunt for images, looking through books, going out and finding an image that feels exclusive, so then when you take influence from it, it feels more special.
AM: When it comes to session work, do you find more satisfaction in doing shows or shoots?
PH: Both, although in the beginning, the control that comes with being in a studio felt more comfortable, because you’re in a more intimate kind of environment, with a team all striving to make the best image. I remember the interview you did with Sam McKnight, he said session work is all about collaboration and I completely agree. My dream was always to work with David Sims, he was my photographic idol, the work he and Guido did together is so prolific. It was incredible when it happened. Working with David on set, his approach is really organic, it taught me to work really quickly and intuitively, reacting to what I saw. During the six years I spent working with him I learnt so much about beauty and how about hair can be used to build a character, an identity. If you think, for example, about the Chelsea cut, worn by the skinhead girls in the 70s, without that extreme hair the look wouldn’t contain the same power, that sense of rebellion.
AM: You’ve already mentioned a few really memorable moments from your career so far, which would you say has been the most pivotal for you?
PH: I think a career high for me was working with Alexander McQueen, the hairs still stand up on the back of my neck when I think about it. It takes me back to being in that Toni & Guy salon in Birmingham, looking at all his shows and the amazing things he did with Guido.