The renowned photographer Brian Griffin (Hon FRPS is visiting Nottingham to talk to members and visitors of The East Midland RPS region. Griffin is the photographer George Lucas built a studio for on the set of Star Wars where he photographed all the the stars of the film, and whose work captured the inventive spirit of post punk and synth Britain. Depeche Mode, OMD, Bryan ferry, Spandau Ballet, the MP Tony Benn and the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher are all past subjects of this world leading photographer who is now in demand all over the world talking to the new and current photographers
The Guardian newspaper’s Photographer of the Decade in the 1980s, he was working on a project in Iceland when he stumbled across the small town of Hofn in 2007.
It felt like “the most difficult place in the world to take pictures”, so he decided to rise to the challenge and spend a month there to see what he could do. He housed himself in Hofn’s hotel where, during the month, nobody attempted to talk with him, drink with him or join him for a meal. He spent every day on his own other than on the occasions that his wife visited him.
One photo opportunity emerged when his wife, Brynja, offered a local farmer £350 to spare the life of a newborn lamb. The farmer ended up being shot himself – with a Hasselblad.
Twenty years earlier Griffin studied at the Manchester College of Art and Design (called a polytechnic in Griffin’s day) during which time he built friendships with other young students of photography such as Martin Parr, Charlie Meecham, Peter Fraser and Daniel Meadows. It was Meadows who first mentioned Griffin to me when he described him, not really in photographic terms, but, to quote:
“We used Brian’s flat, we are not sure why, I think he had the best music”
Since those early days Brian Griffin’s career has received many accolades, Freedom of the city of Arles, France in 1987, a solo show at the National Portrait Gallery in 88, Guardian photographer of the decade in 89, Best photography book in the World 91, awarded by Barcelona Primavera Fotografica. In 2013 The RPS award him a Centenary Medal and the following year on March 3rd Birmingham City University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate for his lifetime contribution to the city.
Brian’s talk to The East Midland’s Royal Photographic Society promises to be a highly entertaining presentation showing a eclectic body of photography with a high sense of individual creativity the world of photography has rarely seen.
Our second speaker on the day is Shy Burhan who is fast building a following as a photographer based in Yorkshire’s Shipley and her social-documentary work is starting to be featured in exhibitions including a solo exhibition in Saltaire during 2015/2016.
She graduated from The University of Bradford in 1999 having studied Interdisciplinary Human Studies (IHS) from the University of Bradford in 1999 with a view to enter the financial sector, something she did do, but only after travelling around Europe after graduation and falling in love in Italy, with photography. In 2003 she returned to education, this time studying photography at Bradford College and then spent a decade in Yorkshire working as a professional commercial photographer in Yorkshire.
2014 saw her appointed as an enterprise officer for a local voluntary sector organization which helps local women interested in self employment.
Her camera was put to use again as in 2015 she embarked on a very ambitious documentary project photographing the emerging Real Junk Food Project.
Her work created a fascinating exhibition which she will talk about when she visits the East Midland’s Royal Photographic Society about and will also introduce her next project, which she is about to launch.