Food Photographer & Director
Debby Lewis-Harrison has worked in the world of advertising since she graduated in 2001. Formerly a stylist, Debby moved into photography specialising in food and still life photography, which led her to directing. Her work has a ‘perfectly imperfect’ feel to it and she works in both editorial and advertising. “The most satisfying part of my job is creating something from nothing. I love starting with an empty table top and finishing with a beautiful story. I’m fairly obsessed with colour and although the frou-frou of beautiful things greatly appeals I’m also a big fan of a simple and graphic style.
Career – To work out what am I going to shoot next, how to make it different, or beautiful, or amusing. As a former stylist my thoughts are very much about what’s happening in front of the camera rather than thinking endlessly about the technical side.
Personal – To try not to get too angry at the news. It’s very depressing to be a human right now, let alone a woman. Liberty must never be taken for granted.
Do the thing you don’t want to do first, get it out of the way and then you only have nice things to look forward to. I dislike procrastination, just do something even if it’s not perfect it will help you on your journey, reassuring you that what you’re doing is right or taking you in another direction you may not have discovered. Nothing changes if everything just stays in your head.
Spending less time endlessly scrolling on my phone and more time just thinking – people give you funny looks if you’re just staring off into the distance but I solve so many creative puzzles by letting my mind wander and not feeling the need to be constantly entertained.
Being kind and smiling at people, saying thank you and trying to brighten someone’s day, to show they exist and matter. London is a place that can feel quite lonely so if it’s possible for me to interact with someone in a positive way I’m happy.
Look up from your phone, take out your headphones and take in what’s happening around you. Explore your mind, listen to your inner voice, nurture alone time. We don’t need constant distraction, our creative brain is our own boredom-defying machine.
Career – Call or email that contact or person you want to work with. What’s the worst that can happen, they don’t reply or say no thanks? Chances are you’ll make a new connection and be on someone’s radar.
What do you love most about Your City?
Almost everything except the air pollution. I love the endless new (to me) areas to explore, the diversity, the chaos and the buzz. I love knowing that life is going on outside my front door.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
Coffee from Lantana in Fitzrovia, an amazing Australian coffee house, followed by avocado on toast with a poached egg from the Charlotte Street hotel, sat on the narrow front terrace watching the world come to life.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Sleeping unless I’m shooting in which case I’m dragging myself out of my favourite place. I like sleep and am very good at napping.
10:00 AM – Sat at my desk sorting through my emails, uploading an image or film onto my Insta feed, or heading into town for a meeting.
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
If I’m dashing about then a quick soup from the Nusa Kitchen near Moorgate is a delight or a salad from Whole Foods in Kensington. If it can be leisurely and relaxed then Arabica in London Bridge make delicious Lebanese food. But day to day lunch is just a trip to the fridge to stare blankly inside for a few minutes before deciding on some toast or a mini chocolate bar (or both).
7:00 PM – Either at home having dinner with my husband Kerry Harrison, who is also a photographer and director, or sometimes out with friends having a few after work drinks.
11:00 PM – More than likely reading my Kindle in bed. I’m a complete book worm and read at least one book a week if work allows.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
I pretty much drink Evian all day. I normally get through a 1.5 litre bottle a day and I carry a refillable bottle if I’m out and about. I don’t drink alcohol at home but if I’m out my favourite beverage is champagne (endlessly quaffable), Campari and tonic (2 or 3) or a very cold glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (no more than 3 glasses or I’ll regret it).
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
I use Instagram for promoting myself and my work although I’m very careful of ensuring I don’t spend too long on it. One of my favourite accounts is damiart96 who creates the most beautiful illustrations. The work is so life like and delicate it’s a pleasure to view. I also like celestebarber as it’s so refreshing to be made aware of some of the ludicrous poses that are rife in the fashion and entertainment industry. We’re programmed to accept that women may only look a certain way and to feel ashamed if we don’t fit into that ideal. And now men are being targeted in the same extreme way and I hope we can all fight the indoctrination together.
What should everyone try at least once?
I really believe everybody is unique so I don’t think there’s a one size fits all experience that every person must do. There are people who would tell me I must do a bungee jump which is never going to happen! I don’t want to inflict my tastes on others, we are all individuals so do what you enjoy doing. However, self awareness is a thing everyone should give a try. When you have negative thoughts it’s essential to work back from there and find out why you’re feeling that way, only then can you understand yourself better and life may become easier as a result.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
I detest getting lost, I have an utterly dreadful sense of direction so being lost is pretty much a daily occurrence. Having said that the one city in the world I can happily lose myself is Manhattan. It’s my favourite place, the atmosphere feels electric and there’s so much happening and to do. Plus because of the grid system it’s one of the few places I can actually navigate!