Portrait of the artist
Tigerface © Hawkeye Huey
Seattle-based photographer Hawkeye Huey, age six, has camped in the desert, climbed mountains, encountered the free spirits of Slab City, and conferred with the citizens of Navajo Nation. His father Aaron, who happens to be a National Geographic photographer with a “very long and fancy” resume of his own, gifted Hawkeye with his first Fuji Instax two years ago before taking him on special father-son photo adventures throughout the Western United States.
COWBOYS INDIANS HOBOS GAMBLERS PATRIOTS TOURISTS & SUNSETS is Hawkeye’s first book, a chronicle of those restless weeks spent exploring. Over the course of a few months, Hawkeye shot hundreds of pictures, and Aaron encouraged him to follow every creative impulse. In conversation with National Geographic Proof, the elder Huey admits that his son sought out subjects and scenes he would never have thought to preserve on film, dragging dad along for the ride.
Hawkeye also endeared himself to even the most outwardly reserved and shy, eliciting candid gestures and unmasked faces. It was important to Aaron that Hawkeye shoot film so that he might have a tangible record of their wanderings, something to hold in the palm of his hand.
Hawkeye doesn’t abide by the rules of adult photography, and he navigates the world from a few feet below grown-up eye-level. For Aaron, COWBOYS INDIANS HOBOS GAMBLERS PATRIOTS TOURISTS & SUNSETS is about the freedom and innocence of Hawkeye’s boyhood. It’s about the ingenious and wayfaring vision of our early years, when everything is brand new.
Despite Hawkeye’s recent stardom and popular Instagram account, Aaron and his wife are set on allowing him to be a kid. He doesn’t know about his wide audience and instead is focused on the three mainstays of his young life: “Kindergarten, Legos, Star Wars.” We asked Hawkeye to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Preorder COWBOYS INDIANS HOBOS GAMBLERS PATRIOTS TOURISTS & SUNSETS here.
Gambler © Hawkeye Huey
Red © Hawkeye Huey
Is your dad one of your inspirations? Do you think your photographs similar to your dad’s or different?
“Mine have things more in the middle. And my pictures just come out, and I can’t make them lighter or darker. It’s all just in the picture. It just comes out like that, and I can’t change it.”
What’s your favorite memory from being on the road with your dad?
“The time a kid was riding a bull (steer) and got his head stepped on. But he was okay. I took his picture before he got on the bull. He had a big belt buckle.”
What advice would you give to other kids who are artists?
“Don’t forget to check if your camera lens says close up or far away before you take a picture.”
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned throughout your time as a photographer?
What do you think kids can do that grown-ups can’t?
“Have a bunk-bed.”
Do you think you’ll be a photographer forever or just for now?
“Just now. I’m going to be an engineer and build engines and rockets like the Saturn 5 or things that go underwater.”
Powwow, Oregon © Hawkeye Huey
Horseshoe Bend © Hawkeye Huey
Rodeo © Hawkeye Huey
Raven © Hawkeye Huey
Llama © Hawkeye Huey
Road Signs © Hawkeye Huey
Smokey the Bear © Hawkeye Huey
Sphinx © Hawkeye Huey
Rushmore © Hawkeye Huey
Vegas © Hawkeye Huey