Student entrepreneurs conquer the business world – House of Haft

Gabby Kepnes, Staff Writer

Little did Harrison Haft (12) know, a family safari trip would turn into a dreamy photography business.

At the end of sixth grade, Haft became interested in photography when his grandparents bought him his first camera. As he was not as confident as a photographer then, it was only in the eighth grade that Haft brought his talents to the school, he said.

“When I saw that people liked my photos, I figured I could start making money,” Haft said. “I sold [photos] through my website and also had gallery openings.” His openings took place at the International Center of Photography School gallery and small pop-ups in Brooklyn, he said.

Haft’s standard framed three by two feet photos sell for $500, while the same size unframed goes for $350, he said.

“The sale of my photos somewhat validated the quality of my photography because it showed me that people like what I make,” Haft said. “So, I can continue doing what I love and creating what I think is beautiful.”

This past June, Haft decided to add to his business by creating his own clothing, since he’s always had a passion for fashion and art, he said.

At the moment Haft is focusing on shirts, he said. “I make the shirts by recycling old artwork,” Haft said. “Most of the shirts have 16th Century tarot cards on them, which I’ve found online.”

Haft knows that his clothing isn’t necessarily his creation but he thinks it’s indicative of his taste, he said.

Soon Haft will be releasing other articles of clothing, like pants, he said. “Currently, I’m working on creating pop art and Alice in Wonderland designs,” he said.

Haft had to wait until he sold 50 shirts before sending out his first online order to his manufacturer.

“It was hard to sell shirts at first, since the manufacturer required the shirts to be high prices,” he said. “My friends were supportive until they realized it was $75 for a shirt.”

Along with his online businesses, Haft has personal portrait sessions available for his clients to book.

Bebe Steel (12), who often shoots with Haft, loves his unique artistic vision, she said. “He’s creative, interested in his business, and makes a kind of dream sequence [with his photos],” Steel said.

“One day, we had an impromptu shoot in his bedroom with bulb Christmas lights” Steel said. “He was shining a mirror on my face to make a circle around my eye, the lights were blue in his room, and I really loved how the pictures came out.”

“He really knows how to capture light and implement elements of fantasy,” said Priyanka Voruganti, (11) who also shoots with Haft. “I think his photos are iridescent and have a sort of supernaturalness to them.”

For Voruganti, Haft had experimented with taking photos of her with an old film camera rather than a digital camera, she said.

“I was wearing a furry red coat and big Indian necklace, so there was a cool contrast,” Voruganti said.

“I think my photography is a hit or miss – either you hate it or you love it,” Haft said.

Every photographer has their own way of seeing light and the lens, Voruganti said. “Harry has a good sense of how things look good together and really knows how to make a beautiful photo,” she said.