Today we’d like to introduce you to Warren Paul Harris.
At the age of 14, Harris was taught the fundamentals of film processing by his father, who learned the discipline while serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII. Processing his own film enabled Warren to explore photography with fewer financial limitations and utilize more creative printing techniques. While living in the Los Angeles area he enrolled in a photography correspondence course in 1970, picking up some valuable film processing and printing techniques as well as learning composition and exposure through his assignments.
He bought his first 35mm SLR camera, a Praktica IV-F, in 1970, graduating to Nikkormat cameras and Nikkor lenses in 1973. After the 1971 earthquake that brought Southern California to a standstill, the widespread loss of power (and insomnia brought about by abundant aftershocks), encouraged Mr. Harris to explore time-exposure photography for the first time.
Working as a Technical Engineer for Motown Records and having friends throughout the entertainment industry opened the doors to live performance photography, which proved to be a natural fit along with his exposure at an early age to the psychedelic music scene in San Francisco during the mid to late 1960s. This, combined with Warren’s background as a guitarist since the age of 14 – and a roadie with The Grateful Dead in 1968, (hence the quote at the beginning of this bio) proved to be a perfect training ground for Rock ‘n Roll photography. He has photographed Sly Stone, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Drowning Pool, Ted Nugent, Randy Travis and 3 Doors Down, to name a just a few.
Moving his family back to Marin County in 1975, Harris began his career as a Recording Engineer, working with numerous local and national artists, photographing their performances and promo materials, and honing his photographic skills.
In 1981, with increased fiscal responsibilities, Harris, as he puts it “hung up his cameras” to pursue a more lucrative career in the technical field, opening AudioCraft Engineering, and operating it for 6 years. Needing a change of environment, he joined Symantec Corporation as a Technical Marketing Specialist, for three years before opening his own computer consulting firm in 1994, which he relocated to Plano, Texas in 1999.
Harris credits an art class taken in Marin County in 1992, with vastly improving his appreciation of art and his compositional skills, while confirming his long-held belief in an inability to draw anything recognizable.
An epiphany in 2006, caused him to re-embrace his first love of photography, acquire new digital equipment, and attack the art form with a vengeance, determined to make up for what he feels is “lost time”. Never without a camera, Warren captures new images for his collection on a regular basis and has embraced digital manipulation to create his frequently dark and other-worldly images. In spite of being advised by a multitude of friends and relatives that “There is nothing to see in Texas.”, Warren pursues the obscure and fascinating beauty he finds throughout the vast expanse of the Lone Star State. Content to ride his Harley for hours at a time down endless 2-lane highways, exploring the myriad small towns that pepper the Texas countryside, he finds gems of Texas history everywhere he trains his lens.
A love of cemeteries causes him to explore any necropolis he stumbles upon in his travels. Warren has been making a concerted effort to explore, photograph and document obscure and historic graveyards that dot the Texas landscape as well as any he happens upon in his world travels. Necropolis Creep is the website featuring these collections.
In 2007, a local photographer evaluating Warren’s portfolio as a favor, pointed out “you have an interesting desolation theme going there.” which was interesting to Harris, as he had not consciously pursued this style. This statement, however, opened his eyes to his own attraction to abandoned buildings, vehicles and the like. Upon some introspection, he found it to be absolutely true that these scenes had always attracted him, which set him on the path to fill out his library of desolation images. Desolation Images is a project dedicated exclusively to this theme.
In 2010, Harris sold his computer consulting firm to dedicate more time to photography. This allowed him to relocate his studio closer to home in Frisco, Texas, which he uses for commercial assignments, fashion and glamour photography and a creative outlet for his own projects. He is putting his newfound free time to very good use traveling with his wife, while collecting new images for varying themes. In development are several coffee table books, the first of which, Texas As I See It, was published by Brown Books in November 2011.
He has freelanced for local newspapers and magazines as well as international publications over the years. Warren shoots freelance projects for local businesses and government offices, participates in art shows and has found a new love of High School sports through his coverage of these games for several newspapers. His work is on permanent display in City buildings, Frisco Square, Ebby Halliday offices and in the homes of local collectors across the Metroplex.
Referred to as a “Renaissance Man” on more than a few occasions, Harris loves cabinet making, welding, playing guitar, creating various projects (his wife has a custom, lighted shoe closet to prove it) and is as comfortable with electricity and electronics as he is with woodworking, plumbing, construction and plastic fabrication. He is an Amateur Radio operator and is active in the local storm spotter network. As early as his twenties, Warren was an accomplished calligrapher, a skill taught to him by a close friend in 1989. He has done some acting for commercials, local productions and a Korean Mini-Series, and enjoyed a minor career in the Voiceover field.
In a departure from photography, Harris has been exploring the creation of abstract digital art, some of which can be found at Vivid Pixelz.
Harris was also part of the team that created the first computerized house in Tiburon, California in 1983, interfacing all the computer systems, security and optical light collection devices. Warren also worked on the prototypes of the first digital 3D goggles while freelancing for StereoGraphics in San Rafael, California. He designed and built (or retrofitted) numerous recording studios over Northern California, including MC Hammer’s recording studio and custom home featured in several television articles, the home THX theater and rehearsal studio. His clientele included MC Hammer, Felton Pilate, Boz Skaggs, Randy Jackson and Ray Lynch as well as members of Huey Lewis and the News and Journey. He engineered studio projects as well as live performances at every major Bay Area venue from 1975 to 1992, when it “was time for a change” and he exited the entertainment scene for the last time.
A vegetarian since 1969, Warren is an avid target shooter (but clearly not a hunter), a Licensed Texas Investigator, performing data recovery and computer forensics for numerous court cases every year, and possesses a wide-ranging creative style as diverse as his background and interests.
Warren sleeps less than 5 hours a night, proclaiming “There’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead.” He loves to prowl the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex in the wee hours’ past midnight in pursuit of dramatic nocturnal cityscapes. Nocturnal Visions is dedicated solely to his Cities@Night Project. His wife has often suggested he open up a donut shop – or get a newspaper route to fill his abundant pre-dawn free time.
A 2015 feature article in the Dallas Observer characterizes Harris as “Grateful Dead Roadie Turned Prolific Texas Photographer”
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It is always a struggle.
As in all other arts, photography is a hard way to make a living, especially in an age where everyone has a 12-megapixel (or better) camera in their phone and thinks they can do the same thing for free.
Warren Paul Harris Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I shoot almost anything but weddings. I love to shoot rock concerts. It’s one of the things I am best at, probably because I am also a guitarist and spent 20 years in the music business. My core business and first love is architectural photography. I was the architect of record on several recording studios and was the acoustic consultant on many more… What I am known for is two things. Texas is the first. I published my first coffee table book, “Texas As I See It” in 2011 and by 2014 we had sold all 3,000 copies. I love the minutiae that makes the Lone Star State unique and have spent many years studying it.
The second thing I am known for is cityscapes. Skylines. of all kinds. In addition to simply photographing a great skyline, I frequently composite them together with multiple images, sometimes from different times, angles and even years apart.
Currently I am producing one of these for Delta Airlines that will be a 24-foot-wide mural in their Dallas call center. I was out late last night capturing several buildings I needed in higher detail for a piece this large.
I feel my compositing work stands head and shoulders above other skyline work. I love it when people see my work in a show and exclaim “Oh WOW! This happens a lot.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I received a phone call about 2 years ago from the curator for PBS NYC. She wanted the use of some of my images of Sly Stone for a series titled “Soundbreaking” which was produced by Sir George Martin. Ultimately, they licensed 12 images I had taken of Sly in 1975 for the series.
Seeing the first episode on TV with my work center stage was by far my proudest moment.
- Website: http://www.warrenharris.net
- Phone: 214-232-9503
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: warrenpaulharris
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WarrenPaulHarrisPhoto
- Twitter: @WarrenPHarris
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/warren-paul-harris-photography-dallas
- Other: http://www.modelmayhem.com/warrenpaulharris
Warren Paul Harris