Interviews / Women Film-makers

SWEET AS HONEY: A Q+A with photographer/videographer Hana Haley

Hana Hayley Q&A

Photography by Hana Haley, text overlayed by Rena Johnston

The moment I came across Hana Haley’s work, I instantly fell in love. There is something entirely captivating and dreamy about her photography. I could spend hours scrolling down her tumblr or flickr, absolutely mesmerized by her impressive collection of nostalgic, pastel-colored photos. Every picture is a story within a story– which is why it came as no surprise to me when I heard that she makes short films as well. Oh and how wonderful they are. Before you go check out her magical films and photos, read this little Q&A below and get to know Hana better.

When did you get started?

The timeline of my photography phase begins with myspace in 2005 when I got a little camera for the sole purpose of taking profile photos. My friends eventually started asking that I take their profile photos, too, and so I became the myspace “photographer” in that way (i.e. lounging around sexily in bathtubs wearing tutus and glitter eyelashes). It wasn’t until 2009 I got my first analog camera, and by then I had a really nice idea of how I wanted my photos to look, and so I started shooting incessantly with stylists and models (while also trying to impress a male photographer I liked, haha) and now it’s already been 5 years! With this background in photography and after creating so many visual stories, naturally I felt inclined to focus more on film-making and directing.


How/why did you start? (Why did you start to make films?)

Film has always been the plan for me. I knew when I was 6 years old that I wanted to make my life about movies because it encompasses everything I love: story, visuals, emotions, acting, music. I have all my schooling in acting theory and am working with a commercial directing agent right now, but no one really knows this because my Internet presence focuses on my photography. The truth is that photography was this accidental thing that has turned into a very prominent part of my life, and lately it feels like a big distraction. I’ve just now begun to invest my time into my film-making and am shooting a lot less photography.

What do you use?/What do you prefer?

I’ve shot all my little videos with my own Canon 5d Mark II, except for the ‘Solestruck’ video which was shot on the badass Arri Alexa, which my agency was able to provide me along with a DP. I prefer not to film my shots my own but work with a cinematographer who is able to rent higher quality lenses to fit my 5d or rent a higher-end camera in general. It’s interesting going from taking fashion photos with an old 70’s camera to filming videos with an HD digital camera… I have to be prepared for the very different aesthetics.

What is the process? How long does it usually take?

Photoshoots don’t take long at all… these things require so little of me creatively, which is why I get a little bored with it now. I just finished filming my first narrative short which has taken me a year so far. My process is very slow and involves a lot of reiteration.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Music is the biggest influencer on my creativity… when I’m listening to certain songs visions, pictures, scenes, and even dialogue starts blooming immediately.

What’s your favourite thing about what you do?

I love what I do because it offers an anonymous connectivity between me and thousands of strangers. I love feeling connected and sharing my thoughts/expressions with others.
What are some tips you have for people just starting out?

Don’t rush it and stay patient. I try to tell myself I have until I’m 99 years old to get things done. Letting go of the concept of time really helps me.
What is art to you? Define it:

Ohh, that’s a bulky question this early in the morning (it’s 7:20 A.M.) but I would say art is imagination, which is my absolute favorite thing about humans. Whenever there are really nasty things happening in the world, somehow art is able to redeem it.

Check out some of her lovely videos:

Phantom Girl
http://vimeo.com/67921512

Alexandrea Anissa (Fashion Video)

http://vimeo.com/80180285

Solestruck (Fashion Video)

https://vimeo.com/96866710

Her first photography book called “My Eyes Are Full of Honey” was released November 1st, 2014 and her first official short film “Dreamless” finished filming back in October. You can fall in love with her magical world through her website, flickr, tumblr, vimeo, instagram and facebook! And don’t forget to purchase her lovely book here! I have no doubt in my mind that we will be hearing a lot about Hana Haley in the future.

By Rena Johnson


RENARena (/Lae·na/) is a 16 year old high school student from the USA. She loves green tea, browsing the Internet, reading books (favorites include The Bell Jar, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Catcher In The Rye, Slaughterhouse-five), and watching/making movies. She adores Sofia Coppola with all her heart and enjoys all Wes Anderson movies, and sometimes pretends to be Margot Tenenbaum. She also really loves Amélie, The Virgin Suicides, An Education, Ginger and Rosa, and 500 Days of Summer. She blogs over at so-oblivious.

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