Spencer Murphy is part skilled technician, part artist. He believes his images should be able to grace a billboard and hang on a gallery wall, and that’s certainly true of his work for Channel 4 Racing. These pictures of exhausted, mud-splattered jockeys spearheaded a hugely successful commercial campaign, and one went on to win the 2013 Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize.
Born and brought up in Kent, Spencer studied at Falmouth before developing his own practice which now spans everything from still-life to action photography. He is very well-known for his portraiture, and has a fantastic ability to photograph people rather than their personas, capturing famous faces like Mark Rylance and Eric Cantona in powerfully original ways. Unsurprisingly many of the world’s top publications have called on his talents, including The Guardian, TIME and Dazed.
Alongside his commercial and editorial commissions, Spencer uses his personal work to experiment with the unexpected and the unusual. For example in Canary In A Coalmine, his extraordinary series of modern-day miners, he played around with indirect ways of conveying emotion. He likens himself to a filmmaker in creating an overall narrative and he enjoys blurring the boundaries between painstakingly crafted imagery and happenstance.
Clients include The Art Fund, Channel 4, Evans Cycles, IKEA, Lotto, National Theatre, Royal British Legion, Save the Children, The Scar Free Foundation, Surfers Against Sewage, The Telegraph, TfL, Vogue Italia, and Wilderness Reserve.