He was born in Lausanne in 1956. He studied film and photographic arts at the Polytechnic of Central London, where he was he was taught by Victor Burgin. He received a BA (Hons) in Film and Photographic Arts in 1980 and a Masters in Philosophy in 1988 for a project on Exoticism and Representation. From 1985 to 1993, he has taught Photographic Studies at the Derby School of Art and from 1993 to 1997 at the University of Westminster. He is now Professor and Head of the Photography Programme at the Royal College of Art.
A monograph of his work, Real Allegories, is published by Steidl in 2006. The editor was Ute Eskildsen, former Curator of Photography at the Folkwang Museum, Essen. In 2013, Punks, a series of documentary portraits taken in 1976-1977 in London in collaboration with Karen Knorr, was published by Gost. He is currently completing Walker Evans: Kitchen Corner, Alabama 1936, a book about a single photograph, to be published by Afterall, one work series.
Recent exhibitions include Fotografia Contemporanea dall’Europa Nord-occidentale, Fondazione Fotografia, Modena (2015); Anima Mundi, Max Lust Gallery, Vienna (2015); Vers le Neutre group show curated by Francette Pacteau, Centre d’Art et de Photographie, Lectoure, France (2015); Waren und Wissen (Objects of Desire), Artists engaging with the discourse of the ethnographic collection, Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt (2014); Acedia, Ibid London (2013); Another London, Tate Britain (2012); Signs of struggle, Photography in the Wake of Postmodernism Victoria and Albert Museum (2011).
He is represented by Ibid. London & Los Angeles.
The opinion of things: still life, allegory and photography22 - 23 - 24 gennaio 2016