Christto & Andrew
Glory of the artifice and Liquid Portraits
During the seventies I started my career as a professional photographer and I was commissioned initially by business magazines Two examples of this kind of work are Alan Brown, Head of Training Services Division of Manpower Services London (1980) and Chris Law, Accountant, London (1976). I tried to change the way these business people were portrayed. Enjoying the way I had photographed these business executives, the music industry started working with me. Also at that time I obtained my own studio, so I could develop technically my photography. Here I present two examples of that work, Siouxsie (1984) and Nick Turner of Inner City Unit (1981).
At this time, a large business development took place in the City of London. It was named Broadgate and was born out of a visionary insight into the new needs of business. “The Big Tie” was a photographic series that I invented in order to promote the opening of the new ice-skating rink, the progress of the building construction, plus show the model of the complete development. Under pressure I came up with the idea during the train journey to where I had to deliver my concept. That was one day an executive leant into the model and his tie came out into reality. Each time he leant into the model his tie would appear out of the sky in the same place in reality. This was stopping work on the building site so a set of workers were despatched to capture the tie and pull it out of the sky, it then fell across the main street and stopped all the traffic. The workers then gathered the tie and marched it through the building site until they reached the ice rink, where the executive’s tie formed a carpet and the workers becoming a guard of honour. Looking down into the model the executive saw his tie, grabbed his ice skates and entered into the model, walked up the magic carpet and then skated on the new outdoor ice rink.
Received “Freedom of the City of Arles, France” award in 1987. Published the book “Work” in 1988, with a one-man show at the National Portrait Gallery. Work went on to be awarded with the “Best Photography Book in the World”, at the Barcelona Primavera Fotográfica, in 1991. In 1989 the Guardian newspaper proclaimed him to be “The Photographer Of The Decade”. Also Life magazine used his photograph “A Broken Frame” on its front cover of a special supplement “The Greatest Photographs Of The 80’s”.
From 1991 until 2002 worked as a film director, making TV Commercials, Music Videos and Short Films.
In 2003 worked on Birmingham’s bid to become the European Capital of Culture, followed by a retrospective at the Reykjavik Art Museum, in Iceland, in 2005. Then, in 2007, he produced a book and an exhibition for the Royal opening of St. Pancras Station and High Speed 1, in London. In 2009 he became the patron of the Derby Festival of Photography, which position he continues to take.
For the London Olympics, in 2009, he launched the photography project “Road To 2012” at the National Portrait Gallery. In 2010, in Birmingham, he had a major retrospective of his portraiture called “Face to Face”.
In September of 2013, he received the “Centenary Medal” from the Royal Photographic Society, in recognition of a lifetime achievement in photography.
In 2011 he has been commissioned and exhibited at “Marseille Provence 2013 European Capital of Culture”; and also collaborated, with a book and an exhibition, in “Reference Works”, a photography project to celebrate the building and the opening of the New Birmingham’s Library. This was followed by a retrospective of his corporate photography in Bologna, Italy, during October 2013. On March 3rd 2014, he received a Honorary Doctorate by Birmingham City University for his lifetime contribution to the city of Birmingham.
His work is featured in many museum collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery, both based in London, Reykjavik Art Museum, in Iceland, Arts Council, in London and Folkwang Essen Museum, in Germany.