In Focus: Heather Hazzan 

In our new column In Focus we’re talking about aspiring photographers who have their own aesthetics and also got something to say to the world. Tonight’s guest is Heather Hazzan — a 30-year-old photographer based in New York and a plus-size model in the recent past.

Heather Hazzan has always dreamt of joining the world of fashion. In the teenage she started her career as a model in the conventional sense and paid a heavy price for achieving the goal. Pursuing the ideal size 0/2 standard, the girl lost 60 pounds, that’s when she decided to say stop — to body control and attempts to meet someone’s expectations, but not to modeling.

 

As Heather couldn’t even think of leaving fashion industry, she joined Ford Modeling Agency (Scottsdale, Arizona) as an assistant. Having to work with plus-size models (namely, taking their portraits) gave her the insight: girls with nonstandard body shapes could be represented in a better way. She started to improve her shooting skills and evolve the vision craving to create a more natural look for the models. That’s meant for her, the photographer’s gaze should become more empathetic or, bluntly, it must be #girlgaze.

 

 

 

“I always had an eye, but I thought, Let’s back this up with some skills”.
(Heather Hazzan, from the PDN Online article by Rebecca Robertson, 2019)

Under that particular hashtag our heroine published her own photographs, and it was Amanda de Cadenet herself, fashion and portrait photographer, the head of the #GirlGaze digital media company, who noticed the talented works by Heather. Such a special acquaintance helped Heather Hazzan to go big, starting working with Teen Vogue, Self, Glamour, and Allure. Today among her clients are such editions as Condé Nast, Rolling Stone, Playboy, The Hollywood Reporter, Marie Claire. The photographer also shoots for the commercial campaigns by Bobby Brown, Victoria Secret, H&M, and many other famous brands.

 

 

 

However, that’s only half the story. While working for Ford Modeling Agency, Heather became a model herself. Yes, she was back, however, in the new capacity. This time as a plus-size model. And in some sense that was an accident, too. The heroine learnt about V Magazine contest calling for women of all shapes and sizes to apply for the chance to be featured in the glossy pages, applied herself and won the competition! In comparison with her weight during the straight-size modeling period, Heather gained 70 pounds and never looked back.

 

 

 

 

 

“My passion for photography also surfaced during my transition from straight size to plus size”.
(Heather Hazzan, from the interview with Coco + Cowe, September, 2012)

 

 

Heather spent 4 years working as a plus-size model full-time, however, now she is more into photography. The girl says, modeling doesn't really fulfill her, as there are so many other things one can use his/her energy for. Now Heather Hazzan is on her way to shooting for high-end fashion, making bigger statements about female gaze in photography through her subjects.

By the way, what are they like, women pictured by Heather? Oh, it’s an inspiring mix of vulnerability and dignity, authenticity and, yes, glamour, since we talk about fashion photography. Primarily, her subjects seem to be enjoying themselves accepting their appearance and personality unconditionally — from that perspective, every imperfection (far-fetched, in fact) looks captivating. May it be the photographer’s recipe for success? Obviously, for Heather Hazzan it’s all about attitude.

 

 

 

“I have a really relaxed set. I’m vulnerable with myself and my team, and I think when you let your guard down a little bit, you allow for everyone else to be vulnerable and take chances”.
(Heather Hazzan, from the PDN Online article by Rebecca Robertson, 2019)

P.S. One last thing about Heather Hazzan, she never studied photography or anything of this sort. Having started in journalism, she switched to … sustainability. Quite a change, isn’t it? Yet that explains something about Heather’s relationship to the world and so her artistic vision.

 

 

Heather Hazzan’s website: heatherhazzan.com
Her instagram: instagram.com/heatherhazzan

 

 

TEXT / Julia Kryshevich