Harley Weir celebrates female creativity in new film series for Chanel and i-D

Photographer Harley Weir has created a series of portraits and short films for Chanel and i-D celebrating the work of five creative women – from a beat poet to a dancer, a sound artist, a photographer and an actress

Christine Sun Kim, photographed by Harley Weir for Chanel and i-D
Christine Sun Kim, photographed by Harley Weir for Chanel and i-D

Harley Weir graduated from Central Saint Martins with a degree in fine art in 2010. She has since become one of the most sought after photographers in fashion, shooting images for Dazed, i-D, Pop, AnOther, The Gentlewoman and British Vogue, as well as Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney and Gucci.

Her latest project is a series of portraits and short films documenting five female creatives. Weir travelled around the world to shoot the series, visiting deaf sound artist Christine Sun Kim in Berlin, beat poet Zariya Allen in Los Angeles and dancer Manthe Ribane in Johannesburg. She also travelled to Paris to meet actress Oulaya Amamra and spent time in Tokyo with photographer Momo Okabe.

Weir worked collaboratively with each woman to capture their daily life, process and inspiration. Films and images document the cultures and landscapes that have shaped each artist’s work – we see Sun Kim riding her bicycle through the countryside and swimming in a lake, Amamra at home with her mother and Ribane dancing with children on the streets of Soweto.

Manthe Ribane, photographed by Harley Weir for Chanel and i-D
Manthe Ribane, photographed by Harley Weir for Chanel and i-D
Momo Okabe, photographed by Harley Weir for Chanel and i-D
Momo Okabe, photographed by Harley Weir for Chanel and i-D

Each artist also reflects on their practice and themes explored in their work – Okabe discusses gender, sexuality and finding beauty in things people might consider ugly, while Allen explains how writing poetry helped her get in touch with her emotions.

Oulaya Amamre, photographed by Harley Weir for Chanel and i-D
Oulaya Amamra, photographed by Harley Weir for Chanel and i-D

The project was commissioned by Chanel and i-D for The Fifth Sense, a digital campaign celebrating women in the creative industries. It is the second project commissioned for the campaign – last month, set designer Es Devlin created a large-scale installation in Peckham inspired by scent.

There’s an intimacy in Weir’s portraits and films – from images showing Amamra stretched out on a bed streaked with sunlight to another of Sun Kim lying in water with her eyes closed. Films combine snippets of music and ambient noise with commentary from each artist and are beautifully shot.

Zariya Allen photographed by Harley Weir for Chanel and i-D
Zariya Allen photographed by Harley Weir for Chanel and i-D

You can watch the series and see the full set of images on the Fifth Sense website. Weir has also created a free zine, available at the following locations:

UK: Royal College of Art, Glasgow School of Art, Claire de Rouen, Donlon Books on Broadway Market, The Photographers Gallery

France:  La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Librairie Yvon Lambert, Librairie du Palais de Tokyo, Librairie OFR, Centre Pompidou (Librairie Flammarion au rez-de-chaussée), Le Bal (espace d’exposition dédié à la photographie et l’image documentaire), L’Institut Français de la Mode :

Los Angeles: Seit Books, The Last Bookstore, Skylight Books

Japan: Cow Books, Gallary Target, Gallary Naruyama, Aoyama Book Center

You can read more about Weir’s work in our Photography Annual, out later this month.

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