Christian Harris, a promising new fashion designer out of SCAD, received a lot of national press on his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) thesis – God Save the Prince. He researched Nashville fashion photographers and his inquiries led to Nossi College of Art. Harris contacted us because he was interested in capturing outfits from his men’s collection at Camp Freedom in Dover, Tenn. Three Nossi students stepped up to the task: Eric Wright, Colton Mai and Charlie Adams.
Camp Freedom has special meaning for Harris because he grew up with severe hemophilia, a bleeding disorder making every day life more difficult. Camp Freedom exists for kids with bleeding disorders so they too can experience normal, summer fun. “When you have hemophilia as a child, you grow up in a bubble and are told you can’t do much because you might get hurt,” said Harris.
Meeting countless friends and mentors at Camp Freedom, Harris knew it was the best location to return with photographers and capture his avant-garde collection. Harris’ inspiration for the collection stemmed from Russian Royalty in the early 1900’s. The House of Romanov and Prince Alexei suffered from hemophilia when treatment was not yet available and the average age of mortality was only 11.
Harris’ collection is captivating in its exaggerated silhouettes, designed to mimic the result of typical symptoms including internal bleeding – deformed and swollen joints – caused by the disease. He wanted to show the garments at their best and make sure they live up to the photography. He even received positive feedback from Zach Posen.
Harris reached out to Nossi College of Art after perusing the website and viewing student portfolios online. He loved their work and soon discovered Reeves Smith, the Photography Coordinator for Nossi College. He took a chance, thinking it would be a long shot that Smith and Nossi College would be interested in helping. “(Smith) responded really quickly and so positively, it was like everything was suppose to happen,” said Harris.
That is because Nossi College is constantly seeking community involvement to give students real experience in the creative industry. Through #NossiAllAccess, students in each program (photography, video, design and illustration) collaborate with community businesses, people, non-profits and events to gain invaluable experience before graduation. Working with Christian Harris was a perfect chance for fashion photography students to work with a fashion designer and models on location.
Nossi photographers Eric Wright, Colton Mai and Charlie Adams volunteered to be part of the shoot and traveled north to Land Between the Lakes. Taking the entire afternoon to work with models – Luke, a ballet dancer, and Matthew, a doppelganger to Prince Alexei – the execution was flawless with great collaboration. Even the weather cooperated when it was suppose to storm.
“The whole day was nothing short of magic,” said Harris.