Unravelling Industry’s Dynamic Profiles: Meet Marie Harkness

Chidozie Obasi

Choosing a freelance pathway can sometimes turn out to be challenging. Nevertheless, for some it can be nothing but pure success. Boss-lady and Owner of the North-east’s acclaimed photographic realm “Hidden Heights Studio”, Marie offered to share her journey within fashion, likewise the tips which aided her to succeed in industry.



Hello there, so how are you doing today?

Hey, I’m good thank you!


Could you describe yourself in 4 words?

Introvert, Creative, Ambitious, Experimental.


What is your job role?

I’m a portrait, fashion and commercial photographer.


What is the favourite thing about your job?

Without a doubt, meeting so many unique, inspirational people and like-minded

creatives. I also enjoy the visualisation process, creating an idea in my mind and

making it come to life!


How did you start up and grow professionally?

I started in photography around 10 years ago, but probably decided to make a

career of it when I finished my degree in 2011.


I found it difficult to find a job which represented what I’d been studying for the last 3 years so I decided to start up my own business. I have had many proud moments in my career, ranging from my very first publication almost eight years ago to various publications globally.


Furthermore, I have shot campaigns internationally for leading brands. However, I’d have to say my proudest achievement is creating my brand up north: “Hidden Heights Creative Studio”. Three years ago, I decided to take a leap and expand the studio into bigger premises.

Currently, I’m seeing Hidden Heights grow from strength to strength.

Who knows where it will go to next…!


Why did you choose to follow the creative route as opposed to others?

Looking back, I was never going to be the 9-5 office job type.

During my school years it became clear that I was more artistic than academic.

I almost went down the path of Art and Design until I picked up my first camera.


At the time, I took interest in shooting landscapes and architecture, deciding to study

photography at college back home in Scotland: it was there that I found my love for

photographing thought-provoking people.

I went on to study a degree in Newcastle, which I now consider home!

This where my passion for fashion and portraiture came to life: feeling free to experiment with a variety of faces. My love for the creative industry continues to grow and I can’t imagine my career changing direction anytime soon.


Is there something that makes your persona unique?

I think as a photographer I have quite a chilled and laidback approach, which I

guess is quite unusual as a lot of photographers tend to be more vocal or persistent.

I’d like to think I’m quite adventurous, loyal, open minded and all-round creator.

I’ll pretty much go out of my way to help someone, I’m just little old me really…

what you see is what you get haha!


What is the biggest lesson you have learnt, being in the creative industry?

Things are not always as they seem.


Any tips you could give to anyone willing to start a career in Fashion?

For me making a sustainable business in the creative industry, always comes back

to: think outside the box, make moves but smart ones, take a risk, keep your

goals in mind, just do you and stay true to who you are.


The best thing you can possibly do is stand out in your own way, do something different, make your ideas become reality.


Would you like to express one last thing?

Thanks for asking me to be a part of this. Every time I do a Q&A, it gives me some

self-reflection on my career and I learn a little more about myself every time, so

thank you!


@harknessphotography @hiddenheightsstudio


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