As one of Britain’s most influential portrait photographers, Brian Griffin achieved early recognition for his work in the 1970s and 1980s, developing a style which has since been referred to as Capitalist Realism.
He began work aged 16 as a trainee draughtsman in a Black Country factory, but with a desire to leave home and following an introduction to photography through a local camera club, Griffin enrolled at Manchester Polytechnic to study photography graduating in 1972.
In 1975 Griffin was included in the group exhibition Young British Photographers.
Much of his early career was focused in the advertising and commercial world and he ran his own production company – Produktion – working as a commercial director for many years.
Returning to photography he took inspiration from fine art, film and literature and has exhibited his art photography internationally, receiving commissions from many European cultural institutions including Rencontre D’Arles Photography Festival.
In 2010 Griffin had a major retrospective of his portraiture Face to Face in Birmingham and in 2013 he received the Centenary Medal from the Royal Photographic Society in recognition of a lifetime achievement in photography.
Griffin has published over twenty books and Work published in 1988 was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery. In 1991 he was awarded the Best Photography Book in the World prize at Barcelona Primavera Fotografica.
For one of his more recent book projects, Himmelstrasse, Griffin took a series of photographs of the railways that transported World War II prisoners to deaths camps in Poland.
His book Pop, a collection of his record covers and portraits was a sell-out success and in 2016 Griffin was inducted into the Album Cover Hall of Fame.
For the London Olympics Griffin worked on the photography project Road to 2012 for the National Portrait Gallery.
His photographs are held in the permanent collections of major art institutions including the Arts Council, British Council, Victoria & Albert Museum and National Portrait Gallery, London.
Griffin received an Honorary Doctorate from the Birmingham City University in 2014 and was made Visiting Professor by the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland in 2019.
Brian Griffin has been the patron of FORMAT International Photography Fetival since 2009.