Chris Steele-Perkins

British, b. Burma 1947

At the age of two, Chris Steele-Perkins moved to England from Burma with his father. He went to school at Christ's Hospital. At the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he studied psychology and worked for the student newspaper; he graduated with honors in 1970 and started to work as a freelance photographer, moving to London in 1971.

Apart from a trip to Bangladesh in 1973, he worked mainly in Britain in areas concerned with urban poverty and subcultures. In 1975 he worked with EXIT, a collective dealing with social problems in British cities. This involvement culminated in the book Survival Programmes in 1982. He joined the Paris-based Viva agency in 1976. In 1979 he published his first solo book, The Teds; he also edited the Arts Council of Great Britain's book, About 70 Photographs.

Steele-Perkins joined Magnum Photos in 1979 and soon began working extensively in the developing world, in particular in Africa, Central America and Lebanon, as well as continuing to take photographs in Britain: The Pleasure Principle explores Britain in the 1980s. In 1992 he published Afghanistan, the result of four trips over four years. After marrying his second wife, Miyako Yamada, he embarked on a long-term photographic exploration of Japan, publishing Fuji in 2000. A highly personal diary of 2001, Echoes, was published in 2003, and the second of his Japanese books, Tokyo Love Hello, in March 2007. Then he published Northern Exposures, Northumbria Press, 2007, an investigation into country life in the North of England, and more recently England, My England, Northumbria Press, 2009, a personal retrospective of 40 years of photographing the English.
He continues to work in Britain, documenting rural life in County Durham.

 

Education

1967/70  Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Honours), University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 
              UK

Awards

2008       Royal Photographic Society Terrence Donovan Award
2004       Sasakawa Foundation grant, Japan
2000       World Press Photo (Daily Life), Amsterdam, Netherlands
2000       Visiting Professor, Musashino Art University, Tokyo
1999       Sasakawa Foundation grant, Japan
1994       La Nacion Premier Photojournalism Award
1994       One World Award ("Dying for Publicity")
1994       Co-operative Society Award ("Dying for Publicity”)
1990       Gahan Lectureship, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA (unable to accept)
1989       Robert Capa Gold Medal, International Center of Photography, New York, USA
1988       Tom Hopkinson Prize for British Photojournalism, The Photographers' Gallery, 
              London, UK
1988       Oskar Barnak Prize, World Press Photo, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Exhibitions

2007        From Haswell Plough to Harajuku - Host Gallery, London, UK
2007        How we are - Tate, London, UK
2007        Tokyo - Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan
2007        Northern Exposures - Northumbria University Gallery, Newcastle, UK
2005        Eurovisions - Beaubourg, Paris
2005        Echoes - Leica Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2003        The Teds - 292 Gallery, New York, USA; Stephen Daiter Gallery,
               Chicago, USA
2002        Mt Fuji - MAC (Midlands Arts Centre), Birmingham; Gainsborough's House, Suffolk, 
               UK; Impressions Gallery,York; Pierce Hall Art Gallery, Halifax, UK; National Theatre,
               London, UK; Grandship, Shizuoka, Japan; Darlington Arts Centre, Darlington,
               Durham, UK
1999/00   Afghanistan - Perpignan Festival, Perpignan, France; Side Gallery,
               Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK; Fotogallery, Cardiff, UK
1999        Nomansland - Photo Gallery International, Tokyo, Japan
1993        Cross-section - Hong Kong Festival, Hong Kong
1992        Africa, Work in Progress - Visa pour l'Image, Perpignan, France
1990        The Pleasure Principle – Galerie FNAC, Paris, France
1986        South Africa - Galerie FNAC, Paris, France
1985        Lebanon - Magnum Gallery, Paris, France
1985        Famine in Africa - Barbican Gallery, London, UK
1983        Beirut, Camerawork, London, UK
1979        The Teds, Camerawork Gallery, London, UK
1974        Face of Bengal - Camerawork Gallery, UK

Collections  

Arts Council of Great Britain, UK   
Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK  
Photographers' Gallery, London, UK  
Side Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK  
Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA  
National Gallery of Victoria, Australia  
Bibiothèque Nationale, Paris, France
Galeries FNAC, Paris, France
Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
National Portrait Gallery, London.

Books

2007       Northern Exposures, Northumbria University Press, UK
2006       Tokyo Love Hello, Intervalles, France
2003       Echos, Trolley, UK
2001       Fuji, Umbrage, USA
2000       Afghanistan, Westzone Publishing, UK; Marval, France
1992       St Thomas' Hospital, St Thomas' Hospital, UK
1989       The Pleasure Principle, Cornerhouse Books, UK
1983       Beirut Frontline Story (with Caroline Tisdale and Selim Nasib), Pluto Press, UK
1982       Survival Programmes: In Britain’s Inner Cities (with Nicholas Battye and Paul 
              Trevor), Open University Press, UK
1979/02  The Teds, Travelling Light, UK; Dewi Lewis Publishing, UK