Ken Griffiths


Ken Griffiths was one of Britain’s most distinguished photographers. A New Zealander by birth, he studied at the Royal College of Art, in London. In 1971, the Sunday Telegraph Magazine voted him Young Photographer of the Year; subsequently he contributed to a wide range of periodicals, among them the Sunday Times Magazine, Traveller, Geo, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Life, Stern, the Observer, the Independent Magazine, and Departures. Griffiths also travelled the world on advertising campaigns for clients such as British Telecom, Chrysler, Ford, Pirelli, British Airways, IBM, BP, Renault, Smirnoff, Visa and Volvo. Between commercial assignments, he pursued personal interests that resulted in photo essays on the village of Sant’ Eusanio Forconese, in the Abruzzo, the Texas Panhandle, London’s Smithfield meat market, landmine victims of Angola and Cambodia, the Welsh in Patagonia and the controversial Three Gorges dam project on the Yangzi River. Griffiths’ work, renowned for its sensitivity and compassion for the human condition, is included in several public and private collections, among them the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Barbican Centre, the Ralph Lauren collection, the Bruce Bernard Collection, the Getty Museum, the Wilson Centre for Photography, California and the Rothschild Collection, Paris.

"Photography is a very personal art form and all photographers have their own ideas of what makes a successful image. I can only speak for myself. Wegee, Martin Chambi, Dorethea Lange and Don McCullin are four legendary photographers I admire because they recorded what they saw. They did not manipulate or change a wrinkle. Although I understand Wegee would sometimes move the body before the police arrived to get a more dramatic result. I believe that removing wrinkles as digital photography allows takes away one leg of the chair of photography, which is when the shutter is clicked that is the truth or real moment. I firmly believe that one of the strengths of photography is  that it can make a record of what is in danger of disappearing and anything which interferes with that kills the reality of the moment."

Ken Griffiths, May 2010