A BOOK BY HAWKEYE HUEY
EDITED BY AARON HUEY
“Hawkeye has a unique and captivating perspective” -Rolling Stone
“No doubt, Hawkeye has a bright future in photography ahead of him.” –TIME
In April of 2014, when Hawkeye Huey was 4 years old, his father (National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey) bought him his first camera. The two started an 18 month long adventure traveling together around the American West making photographs, meeting strangers, chasing light, and learning how to see. They climbed Salvation Mountain, went into the chutes at the Cody Night Rodeo, visited the markets of the Navajo Nation, and cruised the Las Vegas strip. Between the ages of 4 and 5 Hawkeye took nearly a thousand instant photos. Many of those photographs and their journey were shared on an Instagram account created for Hawkeye. Now in the hands of his father, these photographs will become a book.
It began simply enough: a father and son going on their first big trip away from Mom. They headed from Seattle, to the Salton Sea in Southern California, to make (and sleep), in blanket forts in the desert. On the drive south Huey bought Hawkeye an analog camera, like the cameras of his own youth. He chose that camera partly out of nostalgia for film and the scarcity of physical images today, but also because he didn’t want to see a 4 year old learn about making photographs by holding his finger on the touchscreen of an iPhone (until the device was filled with hundreds of photos of nothing).
He wanted to find a way to slow down the process. To make each frame mean something. To make it about meeting people, for each frame to become an interaction. And so it was.
Aaron and Hawkeye’s adventures have earned international recognition: for both the collection of photography and for the lessons of this father-son adventure in creative and engaged parenting. The Instagram account they used to share this journey has well over 100,000 followers, and Hawkeye has been named to Rolling Stone’s top 100 Instagramers, and Time magazine’s 50 Instagram accounts to follow, and his photos have inspired online stories from National Geographic Proof to the Huffington Post.
In that first set of photos Hawkeye laid out on the floor of a tent camp we could see a series of images filled with flaws, and smiles, and with body parts cut off. The images were neither perfectly sharp, nor were they able to be blown up to 8 feet wide for maximum effect in a gallery. Hawkeyes images were not yet influenced by Robert Frank, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, or Bill Allard.
Though Hawkeye created without influence, his father has very consciously placed this collection of images alongside a long list of legends in the well-trodden tradition of documenting the American West. Hawkeye has no concept of that, nor does he need to. He does not participate in those aesthetic debates or judgements. He doesn’t have a history & he doesn’t have an influence. He is busy with Legos. We hope that this collection of his images and the journey he took with his father will help you to see the genius of the creative vision that is inherent in all children.