We took a trip to the Camberwell home of Wallpaper* Magazine's photographic director, Holly Hay. Chatting art school, career transitions, juggling work life and home life, Holly guides us through her minimalist, clean, and monochromatic family home. Check it out below...
GOODHOOD: You studied Fashion Communication at Central Saint Martins. How did this influence your career path?
HOLLY HAY: My BA was my introduction to everything I do now. Before that I did the Art Foundation at CSM and was very much on a fine art trajectory at that time. My photography tutor told me about the Fashion Communication with Promotion course and thought a more applied approach to making work would suit me. It was a tiny course, around 11 of us I think and I decided to apply for only that. A slightly risky tactic looking back. I was having a brilliant time so I’m not certain how much work I did but I met the people who were to become very important to me developing my career. They still are.
GH: How did you initially get your foot in the door of the creative industry? What made you switch from photographer, to working with and commissioning other photographers?
HH: I was working as a producer and studio manager for Garage Magazine when the magazine first started. It was my first job at a publication and a friend at CSM had told me about the role and recommended me to his friend who was the Fashion Editor there, the heavenly Chloe Kerman. I was taking pictures on the side but being part of that small, grass roots team gave me the opportunity to discover what I really loved and what I could be good at.
GH: How did you find the transition?
HH: I have never looked back. Around the same time I met my husband who is a photographer and dedicated to the practice like I never could be. He helped make everything much clearer to me.
GH: How would you describe the aesthetic of your home?
HH: Minimal but with a lot of pictures.
GH: What’s the key to a healthy work/life balance?
HH: Remember to enjoy the moments in between. Work wins are great. A weekend spent with family and friends, also great but I try to remember to enjoy the walk through the park to drop my son at nursery before bracing myself for the busy commute or enjoying the process of buying and cooking the weekend breakfast.
GH: What does a Sunday at home look like?
HH: I take my son Mungo swimming on a Sunday morning which I love. We walk and talk on the way there and then meet my husband somewhere locally for brunch afterwards. We plan something together in the afternoon. Either an exhibition or meeting up with friends, then I make supper and the boys watch a film and we slip into a slow, cosy, long Sunday evening at home.
GH: What is the inspiration behind your interior design choices?
HH: Love every piece you choose and somehow they find a way of working together. I don’t try to fill the flat, I take my time to make decisions about what I want, no lukewarm feelings.
GH: You are Wallpaper* Magazine’s photography director, a freelance art buyer, a commissioning editor and your husband, George, is a photographer. You must naturally have a lot of prints; how do you decide which ones make it on the walls?
HH: Projects we are working on are not necessarily the ones you want to live with on your walls everyday. We are often working on stories of images. Pictures that work best side by side with another. Singling something out to be printed and framed feels quite different to that. I suppose most things on the walls at home have a sense of calm about them, there are a couple of exceptions but a lot is quite anonymous almost.
GH: You’ve got a lot going on in terms of career, how do you juggle it?
HH: I try not to spread myself too thinly and listen to my instincts when it might be a great opportunity on paper but not something I can add great value to. I bring on extra people for my freelance projects when I need to. Life has to win.
GH: Best record you’ve bought in the last year
HH: Max Richter’s Vivaldi Four Seasons.
GH: If not London, where would you and your family live?
GH: What’s the first print you bought when you first started collecting?
HH: A little print of a dancing boy by Malick Sidibé.
GH: Do you collect anything else, other than photographic prints and art?
HH: I am more of a seller than a collector with everything else. My husband and I do a car boot sale once a year to re-set. It’s amazing how much you accumulate by accident.
GH: Favourite city to explore?
HH: I spend a lot of time in both Paris and Copenhagen and love seeing more of both places and feeling more at home every time I visit.
GH: Favourite homeware store?
HH: Merci in Paris, HAY house in Copenhagen, The New Craftsmen, London, Conran Shop (the South Ken one), Goodhood (of course) and my own curation of objects (MAG.A.ZIN).
GH: Most loved object in the home and what does it mean to you?
HH: A photograph of Mungo when he was a few months old by my husband which hangs by my bedside.
GH: Do you have any advice for upcoming and emerging photographers in 2022?
HH: Remember to make pictures. I meet many photographers who get very consumed by what they ‘should’ be doing and for whom. They end up talking themselves out of doing their favourite bit, taking photographs!