Stuart Franklin • Photographer Profile • Magnum Photos

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"I love photographing. It's that simple"

- Stuart Franklin

b. 1956


Based in London, UK


Available for commissions
& assignments

Stuart Franklin was born in London in 1956. Having left school at 16, he went on to study photography at West Surrey College of Art and Design. His photographic career began when he started to work for The Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph Magazine in London and later with Agence Presse Sygma in Paris.

During his time at Sygma (1980–85) he absorbed the skills of news photography, and also followed Henri Cartier-Bresson’s approach to photography; as he puts it, “curious, gentle, surreal with beautiful compositions – his work influenced just about everything I attempted.”

In his words, “At Sygma photographers arrived from Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon unloading their Domke bags and their stories. Later I felt confident enough to tell my own. I covered the 1983 Nigerian exodus, the Heysel Stadium disaster, the Beirut bombing of the French and American bases, the civil war there and in Sri Lanka, the conflict in Northern Ireland and finally the 1984–85 famine in Sudan.”

In Khartoum, Stuart shared a flat with Sebastião Salgado for a few weeks. Salgado worked with Magnum Photos in Paris – founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Seymour, Robert Capa and George Rodger. Stuart was invited to join in the summer of 1985 and has been a full member since 1989, serving most recently as the agency’s elected president between 2006-2009.

It was during 1989 that Stuart took his acclaimed photographs in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, where a demonstration for freedom ended in a massacre. After that, he began to move away from news into magazine feature photography.

Between 1990 and 2004 he photographed about twenty stories for National Geographic Magazine. During this time, Stuart decided to pursue a better theoretical understanding of some of the issues he confronted, by embarking on a period of academic study in 1997. He graduated with a first class degree in Geography from Oxford University and went on to complete his doctoral thesis there in 2002.

In 2005, he undertook the series of large-format photographs of Europe’s changing landscape that has led to his book, Footprint: Our Landscape in Flux (Thames & Hudson, 2008).

During 2009, Stuart traveled to Mali and the Middle East and co-curated the Noorderlicht Photo Festival 2009 with an exhibition entitled Point of No Return on the continuing conflict in Gaza. In a change of approach to documentary, Stuart undertook a course of training at the UK’s National Film and Television School in observational documentary. Subsequently, Stuart worked on his first long-form documentary Runners, together with film work for ESPN.

During 2010, Stuart continued with his project Farmscapes supported and funded by the Scottish National Galleries. The work was first exhibited at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2012. During 2010-13 Stuart completed a long-term landscape project Narcissus, exhibited during in 2012/13 in Ålesund-Norway, Kristiansund – Norway, London, Paris, and Edinburgh.

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Selected works


The Time of Trees

Stuart Franklin

Taking us across 5 continents, photographer Stuart Franklin explores humanity's complex relationship with trees

Open story

From the Magnum Shop

Most Recent

Arts & Culture

Hotel Afrique

Stuart Franklin

Past Pop UP
London, United Kingdom

The Medium is the Message: Magnum Pop-Up at the Barbican Centre

Magnum Photographers
Jun 24 - 30 · Free


The Making of Icons

Stuart Franklin


D’ici / From Here

Stuart Franklin

Past Exhibition
Paris, France

From Here

Magnum Photographers
Until May 31


Stuart Franklin

Arts & Culture

Exploring the Relationship Between Nature and Society: Stuart Franklin’s Analogies

Stuart Franklin

Arts & Culture

Derek Jarman’s Garden

Magnum Photographers

Theme | 18 Stories


Upcoming Course
London, United Kingdom

Magnum and LCC Intensive Documentary Photography Course – Summer 2019

Magnum Photographers
Aug 1 - 21 · Fully booked

Theme | 19 Stories


Theory & Practice

Stuart Franklin: Landscape as Metaphor

Stuart Franklin

Past Artist Talk
London, UK

Magnum Photos Now: On Landscape

Stuart Franklin
Nov 14 2018

Theory & Practice

“I can work with no talent, I can’t work with no commitment”

Stuart Franklin

Past Workshop
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Landscape Photography Workshop with Stuart Franklin in Oman

Stuart Franklin
Oct 25 - 28

Upcoming Course
London, United Kingdom

Creative Documentary and Photojournalism Course with Magnum Photos and Spéos in London

Magnum Photographers
Sep 13, 2019 - Feb 28, 2020