So often photographers are asked how they balance commissioned work with personal projects, but British photographer Nigel Shafran would ask the question: why separate the two? This hasn’t always been his thinking, but through the editing process, the photographer has discovered a new way of looking at his practice. It’s an idea he’s been mulling over for some time, as we read in a 2010 interview in The Guardian and he says: ‘My work is about a build-up of images, often in sequences. There is a connection between them all. Basically, I’m a one-trick pony.’ Putting this introspection into a new landmark photobook, The Well highlights how Shafran’s commercial shoots are very much connected to one another, creating one overall project.
Showcasing images from the 1980s to the present day, here we see 256 photographs of Shafran’s, showcasing his unpretentious style where fashion photography meets street documentary. His approach was refreshing for the time and he made his name through shoots for i-D magazine and The Face. This book contains arguably his most famous series Teenage Precinct Shoppers, which was published in i-D in 1991. Having moved away from fashion in the early 2000s, it seems he still sees the industry as integral to his work, having named this book after the main image section, or centre spreads, in glossy editorial magazines.
Collaborating with independent publishing house Loose Joints, this is Shafran’s tenth photobook. Paperback, OTA-bound, The Well features interviews with luminaries of the industry, including Stylist Anna Cockburn, Fashion Designer Charlotte Cotton and Phyllis Posnick, Contributing Editor to Vogue magazine. This is a revelatory project for the author and a highly enjoyable book for the reader. A must-have for any fascinated by photography.
Loose Joints Publishing
376pp, 200 × 267 mm, 256 photos
OTA-bound softcover on multiple paper stocks