Award-winning British photographer Zed Nelson on why he’s keeping shtum about his current project, Gun Nation, Love Me, The Family and whether there’s hope for the future of humanity.
Zed Nelson lives in London, where he grew up, and his work has been published and exhibited worldwide. Having gained recognition and major awards as a documentary photographer working in some of the most troubled areas of the world, Zed has increasingly turned his focus to Western society, adopting an increasingly conceptual approach to reflect on contemporary social issues.
Gun Nation, a disturbing reflection on America’s deadly love affair with the gun, was Zed’s seminal first book. The project has been awarded five major international photography prizes and is regarded by many as the definitive body of work on the subject.
Love Me, Zed’s more recently published second book, reflects on the cultural and commercial forces that drive a global obsession with youth and beauty. The project explores how a new form of globalization is taking place, where an increasingly narrow Western beauty ideal is being exported around the world like a crude universal brand. The project spans five years, and involved photography in 18 countries across five continents. Love Me was nominated for the 2011 Deutsche Borse Photography Prize, short-listed for the Leica European Publishers Award for Photography, and received First Prize in the 2010 Pictures of the Year International awards. Previous awards include the Visa d’Or, France; first prize in World Press Photo Competition; and the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, USA.
Zed’s work has been exhibited at Tate Britain, the ICA and the National Portrait Gallery, and is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum and he has had solo shows in London, Stockholm and New York.
In episode 099, Zed discusses, among other things:
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“I tried, and have continued to try, to find a way that photography produces enough money to live and do projects and then I’ve always just used the money for personal work... long-term projects I believe in and want to do.”