Harry Borden is a British portrait photographer based in London. Arguably Britains foremost celebrity portrait photographer, his subjects have included Robin Williams, Ewan McGregor, Jamie Oliver, Tony Blair and, the Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher. Examples of Borden's work are held in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London and National Portrait Gallery, Australia.
In 1998 Harry's burgeoning career as a leading portrait photographer was marked by an award in that year's John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award. At the prize-giving event at the National Portrait Gallery he first met Anne Braybon who had joined Management Today as a commissioning art editor to relaunch the magazine. Already well-known for his work for the Observer, American GQ and Esquire, Borden quickly became equally celebrated for his portraits of leading business people in Management Today. Following this, in June 2005, Borden had his first solo exhibition at the The National Portrait Gallery in London. Harry Borden: On Business included 30 portraits of leading business leaders. The National Portrait Gallery currently holds more than 100 examples of Borden’s work in its photographic collection.
Harry is undeniably fascinated by power. Working also for Forbes and Fortune Magazine, his portraits are loved by the powerful and the everyday viewer alike. We are obsessed with power as a society, we often chase it for ourselves in various ways and resent or look up to those with it. In some way or other, every single one of us has a relationship to power, in the way we think and act. Harry's portraits never try to undermine the power of their subject, but they often humanise and relate to them.
Harry's Photo Postcard is taken from his 2017 book Survivor, A Portrait of the Survivors of the Holocaust, published by Octopus, a series of portraits of those that survived under a Nazi regime trying to kill them. Harry invited each of the survivors he photographed to write something to accompany their portrait. Some notes read - “I survived Hitler,” says Sam Goodman “That is my revenge.” Jadzia Opat writes: “I am happy to be still here.” Cesia Altstock recalls: “They took my mother and pushed me back with the butt of a gun – I knew I would never see her again.”.
In an interview with British Journal of Photography, on the series Harry says:
“At the age of 40, having spent half my life photographing famous people, I wanted to do something with meaning,” he says. “I grew up on a farm in Devon in England. My dad, Charlie, was a resolutely atheist Jew who derived nothing from his background except a fear of anti Semitism.
“When I was a boy, he once told me that the Nazis would have killed us. I was shocked. I attended a Church of England primary school, sang in the choir and had always considered myself a Christian like my mum.
“I think it was my dad’s ambivalence towards this heritage – and his disturbing revelation that it had once been deemed punishable by death – that really motivated me to create this body of work.”
Moving from the economically and socially powerful, to those whose power comes in the strength of surviving.
Don't miss your chance to purchase work by one of the world's most prolific photographers, buy your ticket here now. The photographs will be on display at theprintspace, Shoreditch from 12th – 24th October, with a Private View taking place at 7:30pm on 12th October.