As the de facto photographer for Rae Sremmurd, one of rap’s youngest and most lit duos, it would be easy for Myles Harris (@mylesxharris) simply to focus on the bright lights of the shows and video sets he shoots. But he prefers capturing the little mundane moments––naps, casual backstage chats, trips to the mall––in between the glitz and girls that often characterize #raplife.
“It’s not what people typically see every day, especially from their favorite artists. It gives you a feeling of really knowing them,” the 21-year-old says of his work.
Growing up in North Carolina, Myles knew by the time he was 11 that he would be a filmmaker and photographer. After finishing high school, he planned to study film in Florida. Atlanta was only supposed to be a stopover to see his dad, but once there, he realized it was the ideal city in which to build his dreams. He enrolled in the shortest audio technology program he could find and by chance ended up studying under Jeron Ward, who was then producing in Outkast’s Stankonia Studios. Once Jeron spotted Myles’ talent, he let him tag along to his sessions.
Naturally gregarious, Myles easily made friends everywhere, from his next-door neighbors, the rap group Two-9, to Mike Will Made It, one of the city’s most successful producers. His ease in making connections might have greased the skids of his career, but at the end of the day, he says, skills are what set you apart.
“You definitely have to be good with words in this industry. Everybody’s trying to do what you’re trying to do,” he explains. “You can talk your way into all these great relationships but your talent is really what separates you.”
One of the acts that recognized Myles’ talent was Rae Sremmurd, two brothers on Mike Will’s label, EarDrummers, who were just beginning to bubble with their song “No Flex Zone.” They saw and liked the videos Myles had shot for Two-9, and shortly thereafter, Myles put his stuff in storage and took off with the guys on their yearlong world tour.
No matter how exciting, those many nights of performances eventually do blur together, hence Myles’ preference for photographing his subjects’ downtime. Plus, “I’m not one to be all hype about being around celebrities. I look at everybody as humans, regular people who are talented at what they do,” he says. In Myles’ eyes, rappers really are like you and me — with just a little bit more champagne.
––Rebecca Haithcoat for Instagram @music