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Brian Griffin Photography

Bridgeman Images is proud to represent the work of the iconic British Photographer Brian Griffin, famed for his photographic portraits and album covers of music icons including Kate Bush, Iggy Pop, Echo and the Bunnymen, Depeche Mode and Elvis Costello. 

 

Brian's work was first exhibited in 1975, and he went on to receive the "Freedom of the City of Arles" photography award in 1987. He has exhibited internationally including solo exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, Art Museum Reykavik, Arles, Marseille and his work is held in the permanent collections of the Arts Council, British Council, Victoria and Albert Museum and National Portrait Gallery, London.

In July 2022, Brian Griffin answers our Senior Artist Liason's big questions.

 

Andre Courreges, French fashion designer, Paris (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Andre Courreges, French fashion designer, Paris (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

 

Brian Griffin was born in Birmingham on the 13th of April 1948. He grew up in Lye, a town in the Black Country until going to Manchester Polytechnic (1969-72) to study photography. Since 1972, Griffin has lived in London as a freelance photographer, receiving his first commission for Management Today in November 1972. In the same year, his works were first exhibited in the ‘Young British Photographers’. 

 

photo of Brian May, Queen Guitarist, London, 1990 (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Brian May, Queen Guitarist, London, 1990 (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

 

 

 

Bureaucracy, London, 1987 (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Bureaucracy, London, 1987 (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

 

Brian Griffin’s 1974 photograph ‘Rush Hour, London Bridge’ brought him national recognition - a print can be viewed today in the Victoria and Albert Museum. By the 1980s, Griffin was recognised as a corporate photography expert. 

 

photography by Brian Griffin: Rush Hour, London Bridge, 1974 (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Rush Hour, London Bridge, 1974 (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

 

At the start of the 1980s, Griffin began working in the music industry, he landed his first gigs with Stiff Records. His work shooting businessman translated well to many groups of the time who also dressed in ties and suits including The Jam and Elvis Costello and the Attractions. 

 

ELVIS COSTELLO Hollywood Hills,USA 1978 © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
ELVIS COSTELLO Hollywood Hills,USA 1978 © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

 

Griffin photographed a number of acts in the following years including Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode, R.E.M, Ringo Starr and Peter Gabriel. Many of Griffin’s photos appeared on various album covers of the era, notably that of Depeche Mode’s ‘A Broken Frame’. The image was also used by ‘Life Magazine’, on its front cover of a special supplement,‘The Greatest Photographs of The 80s’. 

His work has appeared in other publications such as The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, Radio Times, The Observer, Rolling Stone and Esquire. 
 

Depeche Mode, A Broken Frame, 1982 (photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Depeche Mode, A Broken Frame, 1982 (photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images


Griffin published the book ‘Work’ in 1988 alongside a one man show at the National Portrait Gallery. The work went on to be awarded the Best Photography book in the world at the Barcelona Primavera Fotografica in 1991. From 1991 until 2002, Griffin worked as a film director making TV commercials, Music Videos and Short Films. 

In 2003, Griffin returned to stills shooting ‘People and the City’ to help Birmingham's bid to be named the European City of Culture.


 

portrait of Christopher Lee, Actor, England (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Christopher Lee, Actor, England (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images


 

Griffin shot a documentary for Paul McCartney in 2004 and worked on numerous advertising campaigns including those for Sony and British Airways. For the London Olympics in 2009, Griffin launched -  in collaboration with Lord Coe and Dame Kelly Holmes the photography project ‘Road to 2012’ at the National Portrait Gallery.

 

Peter, Blake, Artist (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Peter, Blake, Artist (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

 

 In 2010 Brian Griffin’s portraiture retrospective ‘Face to Face’ was exhibited in Birmingham. In September 2013, the ‘Centenary Medal’ from the Royal Photographic Society was awarded to Griffin. This medal was given in recognition of a lifetime achievement in photography. His work has led him to photograph people such as British politician Sebastian Coe, actor Helen Mirren, artist Damien Hirst, actor/comedian Jonathan Ross and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. 


 

portrait of Damien Hirst, Actor, Stroud England, 2004 (photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Damien Hirst, Actor, Stroud England, 2004 (photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

 

Griffin developed a photographic style that has been referred to as capitalist realism. 

 

Woman Chainmaker, Cradley, England. 2010 (photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Woman Chainmaker, Cradley, England. 2010 (photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

 

Griffin’s work has also been described as being influenced by Symbolism, Renaissance masters and Surrealism, with ‘film noir’ lighting as he cites American director David Lynch as an influence.


 

Manolo Blahnik, Shoe Designer, Chelsea, London, 1978 (b/w photo),  / Private Collection / © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images


 

Recently, Griffin was commissioned and exhibited at ‘Marseille Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture’ and ‘Reference Works’ - a photography project which celebrated with a book and exhibition focused on the building and opening of the New Birmingham Library. A retrospective of Griffin’s corporate photography was held in Bologna, Italy in October 2013. 

Additional awards include - Most Outstanding Award for Self-Promotional Item, Design and Art Direction (for Portraits) 1988, Photographer of the Year, British Press Awards (shortlisted) 2006 and Best Books in Design, Creative Review 2016. 


 

Gilbert & George, Artists (photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Gilbert & George, Artists (photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

 

Who has influenced you and your work?

Growing up in the Black Country. Photography wise no one. 

What is your favourite time of the day to shoot?

Anytime.

What equipment and lighting did you use for the photos?

I'll use anything as long as it works.

In 1987, you received the "Freedom of the City of Arles" photography award - how did that come about?

By being exceptionally good I presume.

What has drawn you to the landscapes and people that you depict in your work?

I love the ordinary and everyday.

 

PHOTO PORTRAIT OF Donald Sutherland, Actor, Savoy Hotel London, 1986 (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Donald Sutherland, Actor, Savoy Hotel London, 1986 (b/w photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

 

What got you into shooting music in the first place?

I wanted to explore more opportunities for my photography.

How did this work compare to your corporate work? 

The business world yielded more surrealistic opportunities.

Who has been your favourite subject to shoot?

Margaret Thatcher and Iggy Pop.

You are working on a new book, what is the subject?

Gary is the title of my new book and he is the subject.

If you could invite 6 guests for dinner who would they be?

My four favourite speedway writers together with my partner Brynja Sverrisdottir and the film Director David Lynch.

 

View all images by Brian Griffin available on our website
 

Siouxie, 1984 (photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images
Siouxie, 1984 (photo) © Brian Griffin. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

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Can not find what you are looking for? Contact us. We are always more than happy to help you with your research, at no obligation or additional cost. 
 

Finally, if you want to register or connect to our site, you will be able to access several additional tools, including being able to download images and videos faster.

 

Source: 

https://www.briangriffin.co.uk/about/about

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