James Pfaff

James Pfaff

b. 1965, Glasgow, Scotland.

Forming a repository which continues to evolve throughout the years, my work is primarily autobiographical, a personal essay on the universal human experience. Currently, I'm working on my second artist book Act I, Act II, and a project concerned with the persuasiveness of colour. I'm using a multidisciplinary approach in which I embrace materiality, often drawing on my extensive archives both photographic and written. I express myself principally through the medium of photography, the rhythm and connected diversity of the works reflecting my life and art. The work Alex & Me (1998) is my point of departure. More Information: Download PDF.


I have been working since the 1980s, relocating from Glasgow to Hamburg, Germany in 1994 where I was impacted by Hamburg’s permissive and neon-lit St. Pauli district and its infamous Reeperbahn. It was during this period - in 1998 - that I would meet Alex and make the images that would come together to form my first artist book Alex & Me/Danilo Montanari Editore (2016). 1998 would also see my first visit to Japan - a country that continues to inspire me. Moving to London in 2001 I continued to work and exhibit my projects while still working commercially. During this period, I 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). The National Portrait Gallery in London later acquired one of the portraits (2007). I'm the author of many other portraits including Eric Clapton, George Best, Malcolm McLaren, Daphne Guinness and Sean Ono Lennon. My editorial clients include, amongst others, Vanity Fair, GQ, ELLE, The Wire, Monocle and The Face. Vogue, Rolling Stone and Playboy magazines have featured my work. Advertising, fashion and design clients include Nike (Wieden+Kennedy), First Direct (JWT), Clements Riberio, Courrèges, The Groucho Club and The Michelberger Hotel.

In 2015 I returned to Scotland, to Glasgow's west end, where I now live and work.

I teach photography part-time at the City of Glasgow College and am a mentor to both the New Photographers Guild (in association with Street Level Photoworks), Glasgow and The Cultural Enterprise Office, Glasgow.

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

In 2018 I had my first major solo show (Alex & Me) at Street Level Photoworks during Glasgow International (GI). The exhibition was nominated for The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2019. A work from the show, my wall composition with neon Alex & Me - Ever Been Changed By Someone? was awarded The Emma Herman-Smith Environmental Art Award for an artwork of merit in environmental art. During this time, I also published my first artist edition Alex & Me - Coda/Danilo Montanari Editore.

Additional documentation credits: Sebastian Böttcher (Exhibitions) and Apolonia Wieland (Portrait).


Education.

Glasgow College of Building and Printing (City of Glasgow College), Photography, Diploma.

Glasgow School of Art, Life Drawing, Short course.

Solo exhibitions.

GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL (GI) 2018: Alex & Me, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, Scotland, 2018.

Group exhibitions/Events.

Society of Scottish Artists, Annual Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 2018—2019. (Alex & Me - Ever Been Changed By Someone? and One Day?).

NIDA, International Photography Symposium, Nida, Lithuania, 2018. (Alex & Me - One Day?).

The Nuit de l’Instant 2018, Les Ateliers de l’Image/Centre Photographique Marseille, Printemps de l’Art Contemporain, Marseille, France, 2018. (Alex & Me - One Day?).

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).

Publications.

Alex & Me - Minigraph/Street Level Photoworks, 2018. Francesca Seravalle and Malcolm Dickson. Download PDF.

Alex & Me - Coda/Danilo Montanari Editore, 2018.

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.

 

Awards.

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize - nominated artist, 2019, Alex & Me.

The Emma Herman-Smith Environmental Art Award for an artwork of merit in environmental art, 2018, Alex & Me - Ever Been Changed By Someone?.

Society of Scottish Artists, 121st Annual Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh - selected artist, 2018, Alex & Me - Ever Been Changed By Someone? and Alex & Me - One Day?

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, Basque region, Spain.

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

National Portrait Gallery, London, England.

 

Reviews/Essays/Features/Interviews.

Alex & Me - Minigraph/Street Level Photoworks, 2018. Francesca Seravalle and Malcolm Dickson. Download PDF.

Alex & Me. Photomonitor (Sylvia Grace Borda).

Alex & Me. Der Greif (Alan Eglinton).

Alex & Me. The Scotsman **** review (Susan Mansfield).

Alex & Me. Studio International (David Gibson).

Alex & Me. The List **** review (Neil Cooper).

Alex & Me. Glasgow International (Erifili Gounari).

Alex & Me. British Vogue (Louise Long).

Alex & MePhotomonitor (Dr. Katherine Parhar).

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

Alex & MeLa Repubblica.

Alex & MePHASES MAGAZINE.

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

Alex & Me1000 Words Photography Magazine (Natasha Christia).

Alex & MeColin Pantall.

Alex & MeGabriela Cendoya-Bergareche.

 

Selected Talks.

Alex & Me. Edinburgh Photobook Club, Edinburgh Central Library, Edinburgh, 2018.

Alex & Me. Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, Walk and talk, 2018.

Alex & Me. Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, with curator Francesca Seravalle and Tim Clark (1000 Words Photography Magazine), 2018.

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—2019 James Pfaff. All rights reserved.