Stephen Gill

Stephen Gill (*1971, Bristol, Great Britain) likes to test the limits that photography imposes on him. As a conceptual artist – and also a bit of a sociologist and poet – he experiments with various unusual techniques in his documentation of the district of Hackney in East London. Among his working methods were burying photos (Buried), creating lavish collages with flowers and seeds (Hackney Flowers) and placing objects in the camera so that they left their traces on the film, causing confusion about the scale of the images (Talking to Ants). His aim was to encourage the spirit of the place to become trapped in the emulsion like amber creating a series of surreal interventions in the photographs. He physically inserting bits and pieces of detritus inside the camera body before photographing his local surroundings. Streets, housing estates, markets and canals provide the backdrop for images embedded with various forms of plant life, insects, plastic and even tiny fragments of broken glass from a car headlight. Objects thus appear simultaneously both behind and in front of the camera lens, creating curious juxtapositions between surface and reality. As a result, flatness counters depth to disorientate our perception of different pictorial planes. What we get is a multi-layered and heightened sense of place, form and texture that works to harness not just what the area looks like but also how it feels.

Gill’s photographs are now held in various private and public collections and was exhibited in different international Galleries and Museums such as the London National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Agnès B Collection, the Victoria Miro Gallery, the Sprengel Museum, the Tate Modern, the Centre National de l’Audiovisuel, the Archive of Modern Conflict, the Photographers’ Gallery, the Palais des Beaux Arts, the Leighton House Museum and the Haus der Kunst. Gill had numerous solo exhibitions at festivals such as the Recontres d’Arles, the Toronto Photography Festival and the PhotoEspaña. In Summer 2013 the Foam Amsterdam dedicated Gill a big retrospective „Best Before End“.

Solo exhibitions


"Stephen Gill. Vom Dokument zum Experiment Fotografien, Projektionen, Bücher, Objekte" Museum für Photographie Braunschweig, Germany
"Stephen Gill from document to experiment" Museum of Photography Braunschweig, Germany

"Nobody’s library; Stephen Gill’s Photobooks & Young PhotoBook" Halle 267 Braunschweig, Germany

"Stephen Gill Night Procession" Jojuin, Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Japan


"Stephen Gill" La Filature, Mulhouse, France


„Fatigue Laboratory“ Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland

„myeyefellout“ The Photographers' Gallery, London, Great Britain


„Talking to Ants“ Dillon Gallery, New York, United States
„London Chronicles“ Pôle Image, Centre photographique, Rouen, France

„Buried flowers coexist with disappointed ants" Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland

„Best Before End“ GP Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
„Series Photographs“ Galeri Image, Aarhus, Denmark

„Talking to Ants“ Shoot Gallery, Oslo, Norway

„Best Before End“ Foam Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

„Coexistence“ Centre National de l’audiovisuel, Luxembourg

„Outside In“ GP Gallery, Tokio, Japan

„Outside In“ Gungallery, Stockholm, Sweden

„Coming up for Air“ GP Gallery, Tokio, Japan

„Hackney Flowers“ Gaain Gallery, Seoul, South Korea   

„Hackney Flowers“ G/P Gallery, Tokio, Japan


„A Series of Disappointments“ Gungallery, Stockholm, Sweden

„Anonymous Origami and Buried“ Leighton House Museum, London, Great Britain

„Hackney Flowers“ The Photographers' Gallery, London, Great Britain

„2005 Toronto Photography Festival“ Toronto, Canada

„Invisible and Lost“ Photo España, Real Jardín Botánico, Madrid, Spain

„Stephen Gill Photographs“ The Architectural Association, London, Great Britain
„Field Studies“ The State Centre of Architecture, Moskau, Russia


„2003 Recontres d’Arles Photography festival“ Arles, France

„Hackney Wick“ The Photographers' Gallery, London, Great Britain

Selected group exhibitions


„Hackney Flowers“ Goa Photography Festival, Panjim, Goa

„Festival de l'image possible“ Liège, Belgien

„Water“ Pondy Photo, Pondicherry, Indien

„The State I am in“ Internationale Photoszene Köln, Cologne, Germany

„Beneath the Surface“ Victora and Albert Museum, Somerset House, London, Great Britain
„Earth Effect“ Fotografia Europea, Reggio Emilia, Italy
„Beastly/Tierisch“ Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland
„The return to reason“ Wendi Norris Gallery, San Francisco, United States

„Urban Spirit“ Christophe Guye Galerie, Zürich, Switzerland
„Bieler Fototage 2014“ Biel, Switzerland

„Thresholds“ Belfast Exposed, Belfast, Great Britain

„Residual Traces“ Photofusion
„Juxtaposition“ See Studio, Hackney Wick, London, Great Britain
„Retrospex“ Elevator Gallery, Hackney Wick, London, Great Britain
„Et Cetera“ Hoxton Art Gallery, London, Great Britain
„No Exit – Off Ground – Helsinki Photography Biennial“ Helsinki, Finland

„Photography Calling! Photography and the Present“ Sprengen Museum, Hannover, Germany

„Inaugural Exhibition“ Christophe Guye Galerie, Zürich, Switzerland
„The Year in Pictures“ (from the blog 

„Something That I’ll Never Really See“ Bhau Daji Lad, Mumbai, India

„Outsiden In / Strange and Familier“ Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Brighton, Great Britain
„An Accrochage“ Galerie Zur Stockeregg, Zürich, Switzerland
„London Calling“ James Hyman Gallery 25, London, Great Britain
„Danziger Projects“ New York, United States
„The New Old“ Invisible-Exports, New York, United States

„Book a Table“ Rocket Gallery, London, Great Britain
The Museum of Hackney Wick, Hackney, London, Great Britain
„Sound Escapes“ Space, Hackney London, Great Britain
„I am by birth a Genovese; and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic Forde“ Espace d'art contemporain, Genf, Switzerland
„I am by birth a Genovese“ Vegas Gallery, London, Great Britain
„After Color“ Bose Pacia, New York, Great Britain
„That Rose-Red Empire“ Danielle Arnaud Gallery, Hackney, London, Great Britain
„Pioneering Colour Photography meets Contemporary“ Galerie zur Stockeregg, Zürich, Switzerland

„Borderspaces“ Schwartz Gallery, Hackney, London, Great Britain
„What You See Is What You Get“ CNA, Luxemburg
„Anonymous Origami and Disappointments“ St. Ann’s Warehouse, New York, United States, Haus Der Kunst, München, Germany

„European Eyes on Japan“ Kagoshima Museum of Art, Kagoshima, Japan

„Terrains D’Entente, Paysages Contemporains“ Rencontres d’Arles, Arles, France
„Says the Junk in the Yard“ Flowers Galleries, London, Great Britain
Photography and Cinema“ Tri Postal, Lille, France
„Something That I’ll Never Really See“ The V &A, London, Great Britain
„State of Work“ Fotohof Gallery, Salzburg, Austria

Courtauld Institute of Art - Somerset House, London, Great Britain
„Click, Double Click“ Palais des Beaux Arts, Bruxelles,    Belgium

Haus Der Kunst, München, Germany

„Traces & Omens“ Noorderlicht Photo Festival 2005, Groningen, Netherlands 
„Photography 2005“ Victoria Miro Gallery, London, Great Britain
„Marks of Honour“ Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands 

„Photo London: Capital of Culture Through the Lens of Twelve Photographers“ The Photographers' Gallery, London, Great Britain

„Airport“ The Photographers' Gallery, London, Great Britain


PHotoEspaña Photography Boook Award 2011 has awarded Nobody “Outstanding Publishing House of the Year”

A Series of Disappointments, Photo Eye, Best books

Hackney Flowers, Shorlisted in Arles Book Award
Hackney Flowers, Photobook award, Kasseler fotoforum
Anonymous Origami, runner up in Specific Object Award
Anonymous Origami, shortlisted Photo Espania Book award
Hackney Flowers, Photography Book of the year, The Times

Buried, Shorlisted in Arles Book Award
Hackney Wick – Winner of Photo Eye best books
Buried, Photo District News Award, Best Books

Winner of Vic Odden Award
Hackney Wick, Shorlisted in Arles Book Award
Invisible, Photo District News Award, Best Books

Invisible, Shorlisted in Arles Book Award

Field Studies, Photo District News Award, Best Books
Winner of John Kobal Book Award for “A book of Field Studies”

Field Studies, Shorlisted in Arles Book Award

John Kobal 10th Anniversary, National Portrait Gallery

John Kobal Portrait Award

World Press Master Class, The Netherlands

John Kobal Portrait Award
Ernst Haas Golden Light Award, USA

Kodak Pet Portrait Award


The Museum of London
National Portrait Gallery, London
The Victoria and Albert Museum
The Photographers’ Gallery
Martin Parr Collection
Palais des Beaux Arts
Leighton House Museum
Haus der Kunst
Sprengel Museum