Photographer JAMIE HAWKESWORTH’s travelogue photographs, taken for the last issue of More Or Less, struck a chord with designer JUNYA WATANABE and inspired this unique collaboration.

Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth
Words by Charlotte Cotton
Still-life photogrpahy by David Farago

For 10 years, Jamie Hawkesworth’s close photo­ graphic observations have rippled out into the cultural world. Translating the fortuitous and the fleeting into photographic form has been Hawkesworth’s approach ever since he was a student in Preston, when he would ask travellers in the looped arcade of the bus station if he could take their portraits. There he learnt about light by circulating in the top­ lit waiting room of the Brutalist architectural space, and developed the essential patience to wait for an encounter to unfold in front of his camera.

A decade on, with a photographic practice that has taken him from highly original fashion campaigns to finding a distinctive alchemy in pictures of global locations (coming full circle with the publication of his book Preston Bus Station in 2017), Hawkesworth took some time to travel and reflect. Journeying northeast by road from Los Angeles up to the Haida Gwaii archipelago on Canada’s Pacific coast, his aim was to photograph less – if at all – and write more about his experiences. Many of us can relate to the act of stepping back from a learnt action to take account of where a practice has taken you. Hawkesworth made his way to a shoreline cabin in Haida Gwaii, where the local café was inside a reconditioned school bus, to write every day and take occasional photographs. In this remote and almost out­of­time place, he made some of his most subtle images to date. He describes them as “kind of non­photographs”, more sentiment than narrative in their poetic sense of time and place.

“I think the brand shares the same spirit as Jamie’s work, which is that they prompt one’s curiosity” – Junya Watanabe

 

During a stop­off in Vancouver along the way to Haida Gwaii, Hawkesworth met up with his friend and More Or Less editor Jaime Perlman, who rightly suspected that this journey of self­reflection would lead to an interesting cache of photographs, and invited Hawkesworth to consider this magazine as a space to publish. And it was within the pages of More Or Less that fashion designer Junya Watanabe saw these subtle photographs and, for both personal and creative reasons, approached Hawkesworth about the prospect of translating into garments for the Comme des Garçons Homme brand.

“When I saw the photographs in the magazine,” says Watanabe, “I wanted a T­shirt where I would be wearing Jamie’s photographs for myself. It’s a very personal reasoning. I thought it would be interesting to be able to share this feeling with my customers. I think the brand shares the same spirit as Jamie’s work, which is that they prompt one’s curiosity. Just as his fans are drawn to his artworks among so many other photographers, I feel that our customers are attracted to Homme.”

For Hawkesworth, the experience of his work being amplified in the context of Watanabe’s individualistic creative practice has been a delight. “It was a complete surprise: they were photographs that I thought looked really nice in a friend’s magazine, and I never thought that it would go any further than that. The pictures have a really quiet way about them, so I couldn’t imagine how they would work as fashion. But when I saw the collection, with the photographs cropped, it actually makes them even more mysterious. In reality, it worked and they look really touching.”

The Homme capsule collection of shirts will be available from spring 2020