Simon Norfolk is a landscape photographer whose work over twenty years has been themed around a probing and stretching of the meaning of the word ‘battlefield’ in all its forms. As such, he has photographed in some of the world’s worst war-zones and refugee crises, but is equally at home photographing supercomputers used to design military systems or the test-launching of nuclear missiles. Time’s layeredness in the landscape is an ongoing fascination of his.
His work has been widely recognised: he has won The Discovery Prize at Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2005; The Infinity Prize from The International Center of Photography in 2004; and he was winner of the European Publishing Award, 2002. In 2003 he was shortlisted for the Citibank Prize now known as the Deutsche Börse Prize and in 2013 he won the Prix Pictet Commission. He has won multiple World Press Photo and Sony World Photography awards.
He has produced four monographs of his work including ‘Afghanistan: Chronotopia’ (2002) which was published in five languages; ‘For Most Of It I Have No Words’ (1998) about the landscapes of genocide; and ‘Bleed’ (2005) about the war in Bosnia. His most recent is ‘Burke + Norfolk; Photographs from the War in Afghanistan.’ (2011).
He has work held in major collections such as The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Getty in Los Angeles as well as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Wilson Centre for Photography and the Sir Elton John Collection. His work has been shown widely and internationally from Brighton to Ulaanbaatar and in 2011 his ‘Burke + Norfolk’ work was one of the first ever photography solo shows at Tate Modern in London.
He has been described by one critic as ‘the leading documentary photographer of our time. Passionate, intelligent and political; there is no one working in photography that has his vision or his clarity.’ He is currently running at a pretty nifty Number 44 on ‘The 55 Best Photographers of all Time. In the History of the World. Ever. Definitely.’