Candid and intimate, the photographer’s images document the overlooked beauty of us day-to-day lives
In photographer Hazel Gaskin’s own words, beauty is “something that is unique” within all of us. By that definition, her photos are bona fide capsules of pure bliss, capturing moments of quiet beauty in the mundane everydayness of life.
Gaskin’s distinct eye for documentary storytelling came naturally from the beginning. Growing up near the coastline in the suburbs of Dublin, he began snapping stills of seaside locales whenever he could. Since then, she has remained inspired by – and connected to – her seaside community, despite wanting to “leave Dublin and move to London” for as long as she could remember.
From taking pictures on the beach to experimenting with her “first proper camera” while traveling in Japan, photography steadily woven itself into the fabric of Gaskin’s DNA. “I just couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” she explains. Scrolling through her Instagram feed today, her work is a mix of ethereal documentary images and dreamy portraiture, all infused with rebellious charm. Gaskin’s work is inherently inspired by the ideas of symbolism and pageantry, he says, and how that manifests in the everyday.
What could be just two girls wearing Nike trackies and riding electric scooters on an estate, or thorny roses budding against the bricks of a high-rise, becomes something special through Gaskin’s lens. It’s hard not to be hypnotized by these tranquil yet arresting photographs, which often capture the calm before the storm: a mid-air flip-trick in the afterglow of a fading sunset; the crescendo of a gravity-defying cliff-jump; the spark of a cig before taking that first deep drag. Her intimate eye blurs the boundaries between the spectator and subject, inviting the viewer to feel a part of the scenes she photographs.
Currently based in southeast London, Gaskin has continued to cut his teeth on a growing number of editorial and fashion shoots for the likes of Maison Valentino, Stella McCartney and Thebe Magugu, as well as capturing many stories for Dazed. Here, we catch up with the Dublin-born who turned New Cross native on her greatest influences, current obsessions, and her predictions for the future of beauty.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up?
Hazel Gaskin: I grew up in a suburb on the outskirts of Dublin through the 90s and 00s. [It was a] the place that from the outside seemed pretty unremarkable, but it definitely had a lasting effect on me. It was pretty anarchic, I was a typical rebellious teenager… always in trouble. Ireland in general was in transition, it was an interesting time to grow up. My brother and sister are a lot older than me so I was exposed to music and rave culture very early on. I wanted to leave Dublin and move to London for as long as I can remember.
How did you get into photography?
Hazel Gaskin: I started taking photos when I was out going to clubs with my friends, and it just developed from there. Then I went to Japan and bought my “first proper camera” and documented the trip, and the rest is history…
What are you trying to communicate through your work?
Hazel Gaskin: I wouldn’t say there is one message I am trying to communicate. I am influenced by ideas of community, symbolism, culture and pageantry and how that manifests in the everyday.
What’s your earliest beauty-related memory?
Hazel Gaskin: Hair crimping! Also putting glitter nail varnish on my eyelids as I thought it would be more permanent… It didn’t have the desired effect.
Describe your beauty aesthetic in three words.
Hazel Gaskin: Functional, fast, unfussy.
Which fictional character do you most relate to?
Hazel Gaskin: Suzy in Curb Your Enthusiasm is who I am channeling right now…
Who is yourbeauty icon?
Hazel Gaskin: An obvious one, but LeeLoo in The Fifth Element – she’s captivating.
When do you feel most beautiful?
Hazel Gaskin: When I’ve had sleep.
It is the sixth day and you are creating humans. They can look however you want them to. What do they look like?
Hazel Gaskin: I know it’s boring but I wouldn’t change how they look… I would, however, put in a caveat that humans don’t destroy and consume all of life around them!
If you could have a new sense on top of your existing ones, what would it be?
Hazel Gaskin: Enhanced vision!
If not your body, is there anything you would like to leave behind? An artwork you haven’t done yet, a book, a bloodline?
Hazel Gaskin: More trees.
What is the future of beauty?
Hazel Gaskin: Hard to say where we go from here… It’s pretty wild at the minute with people trying to augment themselves to look like their virtual version. There could be a reset? Or maybe it’s going to keep advancing and everyone will have access to achieving their AI version of themselves! Hopefully, we all don’t end up looking like cats…
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