James Pfaff (b. 1965, Glasgow, Scotland).

James Pfaff’s work is chiefly concerned with the documentation and reconstruction of his own life and universe, a personal essay on the human condition. Drawing on his extensive photographic archive and personal journals he expresses himself principally through the medium of photography often later combining his images with the abstract form, paint, collage and the written word in contemporary response. The series Alex & Me (1998) can be considered as a point of departure.

Working since the 1980’s, he relocated from Glasgow to Hamburg, Germany in 1994 where he lived and was influenced by Hamburg’s St. Pauli district and its infamous Reeperbahn. It was during this period - in 1998 - that he would make the images that would come together to form his first artist's book Alex & Me/Danilo Montanari Editore (2016). 1998 would also see the first visit to Japan - a country that continues to inspire.

Moving to London in 2001 James continued to work and exhibit his own projects while working commercially. During this period, he was introduced to the artist Banksy and documented the artist at work in his then London studio and contributed two portraits for his book Wall and Piece/Random House (2005). One of the portraits was later acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London. The author of many other portraits including Eric Clapton, George Best, Malcolm McLaren, Daphne Guinness and Sean Ono Lennon his other editorial clients include, amongst others, Vanity Fair, GQ, ELLE, The Wire and The Face. Rolling Stone and Playboy magazine have both featured his work. Advertising and design clients include Nike (Wieden+Kennedy), First Direct (JWT), the Groucho Club and the Michelberger Hotel.

In 2015 James returned to his native Scotland, to Glasgow's west end, where he now lives and works. Currently, he is working towards his second artist book The Artist and Japan.

James is a mentor to both the New Photographers Guild (in association with Street Level Photoworks), Glasgow and The Cultural Enterprise Office, Glasgow.

In 2017 James was a guest-judge for the Fòcas Photography Prize.


Alex & Me*/Danilo Montanari Editore. 2016.

*Best Photobooks, Bitume Photofest selection, 2016.

*Best Photobook selection, Erik Kessels, Cosmos, Les Rencontres de la photographie, Arles 2016.

*Best Photobook selection, Stefano Stoll, (Images Vevey) 2016.

Permanent collections.

Harvard University, Fine Arts Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

École Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles, Arles, France.

Hellenic Centre for Photography, Athens, Greece.

Fotomuseum Antwerpen (FOMU), Antwerp, Belgium.

Aperture Foundation, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Gabriela Cendoya-Bergareche collection, Museum San Telmo, San Sebastián, Spain.

International Centre for Photography, New York, New York, U.S.A.

National Portrait Gallery, London, England.

Solo exhibitions.

UPCOMING: Alex & Me, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, Scotland, 19th April - 2nd July 2018.

Wonderland, Fabrica 584, London, England 2012.

Wonderland, Michelberger Hotel, Berlin, Germany 2011.

Japan, Curzon Soho Cinema Gallery, London, England 2008.

35mm Photographs, Foyles Bookshop Gallery, London, England 2006.

Group exhibitions.

The Photobook Exhibition, Athens Photo Festival, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece, 2017, (Alex & Me book).

The 2017 Book Awards, Les Rencontres de la photographie, Atelier De La Mécanique, Arles, France, 2017, (Alex & Me book).

FORMATO LIBeRo, The artist book from Joseph Beuys to Maurizio Cattelan, Museo d' arte Adria e Delta (MAAD), Adria, Italy 2016, (Alex & Me book).

Real and Imagined Lives, M Shed, Bristol, England 2012 - 2013, (Banksy portrait).


Alex & Me. Photomonitor (Dr. Katherine Parhar).

You Wouldn't Like It Here. Frame Zero (Ria Torrente).

Alex & Me. La Repubblica.


Alex & Me. NOTES Letters to photography (Dr. Elizabeth Reeder).

Alex & Me. 1000 Words Photography Magazine (Natasha Christia).

Alex & Me. Colin Pantall.

Alex & Me. Gabriela Cendoya-Bergareche.

Selected Talks.

Alex & Me: A primer. Recyclart Art Center, Brussels, (Extra Fort). 2017.

Alex & Me: A primer. Center for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, (Talk See Photography), with curator Francesca Seravalle and Dr. Elizabeth Reeder. 2016.

Alex & Me: A primer. Cosmos, Les Rencontres de la photographie, Arles, with curator Francesca Seravalle. 2016.

Book launches/Book signings/Live painting.

Alex & Me. L'Ascenseur Végétal Bookshop at Galerie Bettina, Paris, with curator Francesca Seravalle. 2016.

Alex & Me. Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, with curator Francesca Seravalle and Dr. Elizabeth Reeder. 2016.

Alex & Me. Unseen Book Market, Danilo Montanari Editore, Unseen Photo Fair & Festival, Amsterdam. 2016.

Alex & Me. Cosmos, Tipi Bookshop, Les Rencontres de la photographie, Arles, with curator Francesca Seravalle. 2016.

All images and text copyright © 1997 - 2017 James Pfaff. All rights reserved.