The Well by Nigel Shafran: when commercial photography meets critical reflection

Loose Joints presents a landmark publication featuring the work of Nigel Shafran, the influential British photographer known for his meditative, domestic, and humanistic approach to photography. Entitled The Well, the brand-new book recounts Shafran’s engagement with the world of commercial photography, a space where he found unexpected creativity, controversial critical insight, and ironic commentary. His relationship with the world of commercial photography began in the mid-1980s when he was a teenager; it continued through the years of the iconic i-D and The Face, and evolved into a recent revival of his idiosyncratic approach to fashion shoots in the pages of Vogue and others magazines.

Teenage Precinct Shoppers, i-D, 1991 © Nigel Shafran 2022 courtesy Loose Joints

Only recently, Shafran began to understand his ongoing commitment to the commercial world as a project in itself: indeed, The Well – the industry term for the main image section of a magazine – provides a space to critique and reflect the world of fashion from within, bringing its characteristic straightforwardness and ability to disarm the viewer into this charged and complicated world.

Air Apparent, American Vogue, 2019 © Nigel Shafran 2022 courtesy Loose Joints

Curated and designed by Linda van Deursen, The Well revisits Shafran’s commercial and non-commercial practice, with interviews and reflections between Shafran and his colleagues.

The Well by Nigel Shafran is published by Loose Joints.