In the spirit of Irving Penn, with a splash of Andy Warhol’s colors thrown in, Habib’s unique ability to create award-winning imagery in both people and still-life photography has been used effectively in the fine-art and commercial worlds with clients ranging from Smirnoff and Schweppes to Canon and Sony.
I like very simple and graphic images, and I like strong color. I love the work of Andy Warhol. Bill Brandt was a huge influence on me at one stage. Jeanloup Sieff, as wel
DPP: You were educated in London, Paris and Milan. How does that play into your style?
Philip Habib: My work is quite eclectic. Also, the subject matter I choose for personal projects is influenced by my European background, for example, my series “The Future of America” on sororities and fraternities here in the United States. I came here and saw this phenomenon that doesn’t exist in Europe. It’s an American institution. I was really interested in it because it’s this little gap between leaving home and the workplace. It’s a place where teenagers develop and find themselves. The only rule is that they keep their grades up. I kind of feel like I missed out on that experience in Europe. By documenting it, I’m getting a sense of it. The only thing I knew about the subject up until then was from the movie Animal House with John Belushi. I discovered that a lot of the fraternity houses are pretty much just like that.
DPP: What are you going to do with this body of work?
Habib: I would like to create a book and a touring exhibition. In 10 years’ time, I would like to document the same students in their homes or work environments, which is going to be very different than their school ones.