Born: Uganda 1965. Grew up in London, UK.
Education: Westminster University, London. Degree in Photography and Film-making.
Awards: Visa d’Or at the International Festival of Photojournalism, France; World Press Photo Award for Daily Life; World Press Photo Award for Contemporary Issues and the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, USA.
His work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate Britain, and is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Zed Nelson has had solo shows in London, Stockholm and New York.
Zed Nelson gained international recognition as a documentary photographer but his more recent work focuses on contemporary social issues. He first came to my attention following a series of articles entitled ‘Gun Nation’, reflecting on America’s gun culture, that were published in the Guardian last September.
The front cover image was both shocking and intriguing. It grabbed my immediate attention and made me want to read further. The ‘Gun Nation’project spans over two decades featuring the original images taken 20 years ago alongside those of today. The result is astonishing; the only major difference is that the images are now in colour. Time appears to have stood still and not only in the photos. When we read the testimonials of those interviewed, past attitudes continue through present day.
The following images are taken from Nelson’s recent work and second book, ‘Love Me’. it is a reflection on “the cultural and commercial forces that drive a global obsession with youth and beauty”. The project took place over five years, and includes work made in 17 countries across five continents. I am particularly impressed, not only by the final photographs, but by the determination, dedication and sheer hard work that Nelson undertakes throughout his work.
There is a direct simplicity to his photography which is both pertinent and provocative. The images in his projects work as part of a documentary whilst standing alone to tell individual tales.