James Pfaff (b. 1965, Glasgow, Scotland) lives and works in Glasgow. Pfaff’s work is chiefly concerned with the documentation and reconstruction of his own life and universe, a personal essay on the human condition. Drawing on his extensive photographic archive and personal journals he expresses himself principally through the medium of photography often later combining his images with the abstract form, paint, collage and the written word in contemporary response.
The series Alex & Me (1998) can be considered as a point of departure. Working since the 1980s, he relocated from Glasgow to Hamburg, Germany in 1994 where he lived and was influenced by Hamburg’s St. Pauli district and its infamous Reeperbahn. It was during this period – in 1998 – that he would make the images that would come together to form his first artist’s book Alex & Me/Danilo Montanari Editore (2016). 1998 would also see the first visit to Japan – a country that continues to inspire him.
Moving to London in 2001, James continued to work and exhibit his own projects while working commercially. During this period, he was introduced to the artist Banksy and documented the artist at work in his then London studio and contributed two portraits for his book Wall and Piece/Random House (2005). One of the portraits was later acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The author of many other portraits including Eric Clapton, George Best, Malcolm McLaren, Daphne Guinness and Sean Ono Lennon, his other editorial clients include, amongst others, Vanity Fair, GQ, ELLE, The Wire and The Face. Rolling Stone and Playboy magazine have both featured his work. Advertising and design clients include Nike (Wieden+Kennedy), First Direct (JWT), the Groucho Club and the Michelberger Hotel.
In 2015 James returned to his native Scotland, to Glasgow’s west end, where he now lives and works. Currently, he is working towards his second artist book The Artist and Japan. James is a mentor to both the New Photographers Guild (in association with Street Level Photoworks), Glasgow and The Cultural Enterprise Office, Glasgow. In 2017 James was a guest judge for the Fòcas Photography Prize.
Alex & Me
Alex & Me is an intimate autobiographical account of a road trip from Toronto to New Orleans and then back north to New York – a broken love affair between a man and a woman.
Originally appearing as a critically acclaimed photobook ‘with a strong diaristic scent’, the project is the outcome of the creative tandem between Glasgow-based photographer James Pfaff and two women; Francesca Seravalle, curator, and Alex, the protagonist. The exhibition marks the 20th anniversary of the road-trip.
Supported by Francesca Seravalle, curator.
Fri 20 April – Sun 1 July
Mon – Wed & Fri– Sat, 10am-5pm
Thu, 10am-8pm (for Gi dates only)
Sun, 12 noon-5pm