The Autumn of Our Years

Photograph by Jon Mortimer

Most men fondly remember the day when they first witnessed their first whisker hair, poking out from beneath nose and chin. We would look upon this phenomena with bemused admiration. It was a sign of adulthood, of becoming a man. Of course that meant that more hairs would soon be sprouting elsewhere on our bodies, if they hadn’t already. We couldn’t wait until somebody noticed it too, and we would perhaps brush our upper lip or chin with a finger, trying to draw attention.

Then later on in life, there would come a day when we would look into the mirror, and gasp in horror at the sight of gray on our heads. We become a flurry of emotions thinking it’s far too soon, this can’t be happening now! But if we have lived a good life, and are wise, we come to appreciate the gray. We’ve earned it. For as the Polish poet Stanislaw Jerzy Lec once said: “Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” Harald Harschin of Dortmund, Germany, is a living testament to that saying.

Being the first male model I have ever interviewed, I almost don’t know where to start. I guess we’ll start with how you became  model. Is it a career you sought out, or were you approached about it?

People have always suggested that I should model, but my work was in the public sector so I didn't take it serious. Until recently, when a friend urged me to follow up on an offer and I did my first shoot, and found that I quite liked it and felt like it came naturally. Best decision I have made. It is like a whole new adventure in front of me.

Photograph by Joe Nunez

In my mind, a model is a model, is a model, regardless of age. However, you’re in that category of “senior models” with such luminaries as Carmen Dell’ Orefice, and Aiden Shaw who not only continue to do outstanding work, but also bring a certain je n'ais se quoi to the industry. What are your thoughts on the matter? Why is this happening now, as opposed to say, twenty or thirty years ago?

The perception in society what means being old now, is changing in last two years. Today, fifty is the new forty. Women and men of my age are the ones who have the money and the buying power. They are customers, and they want to be represented by people of their age and not by a teenager wearing a suit or a watch they are thinking to buy.  I am so old or young how I feel, and the number isn’t important. I have my style independent from my age like somebody said: “real style is never right or wrong. It's a matter being yourself“

I know you appeared in a recent issue of Forbes magazine, related to my previous question, but what other magazines have you featured in?

Yes I appeared in Forbes this year. I was featured by Exalta Magazine, Basic Magazine, Rare Fashion Magazine, and Model Magazine; additionally there were a couple on online features by various blogs and websites. Others are in planned for the next few months.

How much of what you wear in your photoshoots do you wear when not in front of the camera?

Here I can honestly say it's more than 80 % I am wearing when I am not it front of a camera.

Speaking of cameras, you’re also a photographer. Is this another of your professions, or is it for hobby?

No, it’s just a hobby. My profession is to stay in front of the camera and not behind.

Photograph by Sulaah Bien-Aime

When I was much younger, and before I had hair on my face, the idea of facial hair mortified me. In recent years, I realize I look ridiculous without it. How long have you had your beard? Has there ever been a particular time when you tired of it?

I am wearing my beard for about three years, and until now I am not tired of it. The beard is one part of my look and my style.

You have great hair, and your beard is obviously well kept. What sorts of products do you use to keep both looking so good?

For my hair I use mainly products from American Crew, and some form the Oh Man! line, which is a smaller company in Indonesia. For the beard I use a daily beard soap, beard oil beard balm and moustache wax, all by my favorite brand Fit for Vikings. I use all of the different scents they offer. Fit for Vikings is located in Norway.

 Photograph by Michael Sonnenberg

Photograph by Michael Sonnenberg

Do you occasion a fitness club, or does genetics do all the “heavy lifting” for you?

I go twice a week in a fitness club, mostly for weight lifting. I also play tennis on a weekly basis , mostly on weekends. This is how I stay in shape, together with a low carb diet.

It seems you have the ideal career right now, but what would you desire to do, had you not been a model?

Actually I am so happy with my career right now. I love my job. I love to meet and work with so many talented people, and to travel around. As I said, following this path was the best decision I ever made.

Check out Harald's portfolio, and follow him at Instagram.