Nick Turpin is a British street photographer and advertising and design photographer. He is based in London and near Lyon, France. He studied an art and design foundation course at the University of Gloucestershire
, specializing in photography; then a BA in photography, film and video at the University of Westminster
. Whilst at university he showed his second-year photojournalism stories to the picture editor at The Independent
and in 1990, aged 20, quit his course to be a press photographer for the newspaper. He left The Independent
in 1997 for a career in advertising and design photography that would finance his street photography (for example he photographed the cover of Bridget Jones's Diary
(1995) by Helen Fielding).
Turpin established the first international collective of street photographers, In-Public
, in 2000 with the intention of bringing together like-minded photographers to hold exhibitions, produce books, and conduct workshops. Colin Westerbeck, writing in Time in 2011, said Turpin was "notable for having been instrumental in a collaborative documentary project"
, namely In-Public
. He left the collective in 2018.
His work has been published in his own book, On The Night Bus
(2016), and in various survey publications, as well as being included in a number of group exhibitions. He publishes through Nick Turpin Publishing
, makes short films, and gives workshops on street photography.
"There is something about the making of photographs in public places that resonates with me more than any other kind of photography. I think it simply suits my personality.
It’s nice, when taking pictures in the street, not to have to participate in any way in the stream of life passing you by. It makes me feel special to be there but not to be chatting, not to be shopping or not even to be heading for somewhere else. I feel like I am invisible to the passing crowds. This in turn leads to a loss of my sense of self, which is the finest feeling of all.
Having worked for several years both in newspapers and advertising, I am fascinated by the things that I ‘choose’ to photograph when I leave the house with my camera but without a ‘story’ or ‘brief’ to fulfill. These ‘choices’ are revealing,in some way, of who I am.
I go to the busiest, public places to discover something very personal and private. It is an inescapable truth that the resulting photographs are as much about my inner state as they are about the external world they were made in. They are all self-portraits.
It is important to me that my personal pictures don’t have to ‘do’ anything. They don’t have to sell in a gallery or sit well beside the ads in a magazine. I don’t have to make pictures that are easily categorised. They are not reportage, there is no subject, they are not art, there is no great technical craft or aesthetic beauty. They are just pictures about life. For these reasons, Picture Editors, Art Directors and Curators don’t know what to do with them, where to put them. I like that."
-- Nick Turpin