Harley Weir Code Red

When it comes to psychology and who we inherently are, multiplicity is often stigmatized. Simplicity feels easier, almost safer, to accept. Maybe because we assume that we can control simple things. Nobody likes to feel out of control. When a situation becomes an emergency, we call it code red—in the case of the most recent collection of work by Harley Weir, Code Red explores a crisis and simultaneous celebration of selves. While she’s garnered a devoted audience by way of her chromacolor captures of celebrities; from Bella Hadid, to Bjork, to Rihanna, to Pamela Anderson; Weir has now turned the lens on herself… or selves. The crispy sheen of fibrous polyester, a contact lens that’s migrated to the white of the eye, the foamy give of a latex mask—Weir uses these props to extrapolate on her alternate personas. She challenges the conventions of the individual experience through embodiment—from the characters buried deep within her psyche, to fleeting proximity infatuations, any memory serves as fodder. As subject, photographer, and at times voyeur, Weir muddies the boundaries that delineate the individual. Who are you under the mask, is that me looking out at you? – Rebecca Storm

What are bodies for?

I try my very best to remember that they are to function. While the function for sex gets me decorating it like an idiot most of the time, I try to be thankful it’s in working order.

What’s the scariest thing about owning a body?

Not having full control over it.

How would you like to be immortalized, if at all? 

I’d like to be buried under a peach tree and have the fruits grow with a little bit of me within.

Who were you in a past life?

I think a servant or a wasp.

Is your new series Code Red intended to induce fear?

Not particularly, it’s mostly me being my different selves for a change. Though I was fearful to show so much of it, so maybe a little fear bleeds through.

Can disguise bring freedom?

Absolutely, it gives you the shield to be yourself behind, or to not be, to transform… or fade into an archetypal camouflage, to disappear.

Is there therapeutic value to creating “dark” imagery? 

I feel most of what I do is very light. I like dark imagery very much. But I feel too conscious of others so rarely allow too much of that darkness to spill, at least in a straight photography sense… when I make abstract work without the use of the camera, that certainly becomes therapeutic and spills sincere darkness. Something with the eye of the camera and my eye, it’s too real to be real for me.