Harry Pearce has released Eating with the Eyes, a book of 200 of his photographs depicting accidental events and idiosyncratic details that he has shot over the past decade. The collection uses the art of noticing to make clear Harry’s relationship to ideas, an approach that has driven his career as a graphic designer.
Harry's photographs are the culmination of a lifetime of practice that began during his childhood in the West Country, when his father gifted him with a Pentax camera. From this point onwards, Harry began meticulously documenting quirks, human interventions and coincidences. From these images he began to piece together a sometimes tragic, sometimes funny and always poignant continuity and rhythm in the world that surrounds us.
“I get lost in the process of recording seemingly accidental events," says Harry. "As time has passed, I’ve come to realise that there are no true accidents, only ideas trying to find us. We are surrounded by a constant stream of ideas, insights and visions. Every moment in every place. Abstract and accidental as they may seem, they are to my eyes precise, illuminating and elevating.”
"My life is graphic design, and always has been. Lots of things feed my work, and photography has been a dear friend all along. This book is a collection of images I love, springboards for ideas and thoughts. It is a very personal search for meaning in the most ordinary moments arounds us."
The book is an insight into Harry’s mind and shows a fundamental part of his creative process. It shows how he collects kernels of ideas that then develop into his work as a graphic designer, for clients including the Royal Academy of Arts, John Lewis and WITNESS, and with artists including Ai Weiwei and Anish Kapoor.
“This is a most beautiful book,” says Stefan Sagmeister. "It contains a very slow beauty, a beauty that took a long while to ripen, one that comes to this world gently. Harry Pearce’s hungry eyes present a satisfying, languorous meal.”
“Harry has always discovered a sense lyricism, mystery and poetry in the ordinary and mundane," says Paula Scher. "This is has long been apparent in his work as a designer. But It is even more striking and astonishing in his photographic works. Only his eye can discover the miraculous meaning in what we would all tend to dismiss and ignore. He makes us a gift of beauty out of seemingly nothing.”
The book was launched at London’s Royal Academy, for which Pearce created a visual identity in 2013. To enter the event, guests walked through the Royal Academy’s courtyard, currently filled with Ai Weiwei’s Tree, an installation of eight seven-foot tall trees. Tree is overlooked by a gigantic portrait of Ai Weiwei, taken by Pearce earlier in 2015.
Harry’s friends, clients and colleagues gathered over canapés and Berry Bros. & Rudd wine to be given the first glimpse of the book (which had only been delivered by the printers the day before). Speeches were given by Harry and Charles Saumarez Smith - the CEO of the Royal Academy. Saumarez Smith also wrote the book’s foreword, in which he says: “Here is someone who looks at the world of decay with intensity, the overlooked pattern, the colour of pain, the arbitrary lettering, the old typography of foreign newspapers, everything which is the opposite to controlled design”.