Jamie Hawkesworth’s British Isles

The photographer travels around his homeland in his new book. He talks to us about rediscovering home turf and the lengths he went to in capturing it

In the vast majority of photographs in Jamie Hawkesworth’s new book, it looks as though it was raining only minutes before. It’s the kind of full-bodied light that comes as the sun first breaks through the clouds, reflecting intensely off surfaces slick with rain. Given it’s a body of work made around the British Isles, which also gives the book its name, it’s perhaps unsurprising.

The British Isles brings together photographs taken from 2007 to 2020 – a collection of work that spans Hawkesworth’s own journey with photography. He began taking pictures during a mock crime scene exercise as part of his degree in forensic science and criminal investigation, and later switched to a photography degree instead. In Preston, where he studied and also connected with the creative collective Preston is my Paris, Hawkesworth produced his acclaimed photo series, Preston Bus Station, and before long had secured his spot on ‘one to watch’ lists far and wide.

All images by Jamie Hawkesworth, courtesy the artist and Mack

He has followed up those early endorsements with evocative fashion campaigns for brands including Alexander McQueen and Loewe, captivating documentary images made everywhere from Romania to the Antarctic, and generous photographs that illuminate the everyday. Last year, he shot the British Vogue cover story celebrating a clutch of the nation’s key workers (Narguis Horsford, the London Overground driver featured in the issue, makes a joyous cameo in The British Isles).