Eddie Wrey is known for his ethereal stylized documentary photography and deep vibrant palettes, shooting campaigns for global fashion houses like Miu Miu, Dior etc but also personal work like this Adjamé collection. A celebration of strength and agility of the women vendor sellers at this main market place of West Africa called Adjamé. Showcasing both the wealth of produce of the region as well as Wrey’s distinctly sculptural and painterly signature.
For many photographs the camera is like a vessel through which they approach people and new cultures around them. Is that something that resonates with you?
The camera is an interesting device. My first memory of a camera was my dad’s, who was an avid ameuteur photographer who had his own dark room. We would often go on summer road trips, where they would always be Olympus floating around. As young as five years old, I would pick it up and somehow everything through that lens made that world that much more compelling – it removed me from reality. From then onwards, the camera always presented me with some form of escape. In terms of photographing people, I have realised in hindsight how the camera has often been the catalyst for special moments – conversations that I have had or portraits that I have taken. My photography is all about having that encounter, and hoping that whoever was on the other side of the camera, shares that.
As a child London-based photographer Eddie Wrey moved from the English countryside to Sri Lanka. He had been playing around with cameras for as long as he could remember, but it was only later in life, as a professional photographer, that he realised how much his upbringing had infused his work.
While Wiltshire offered rolling green hills and quaint villages, it was Sri Lanka with his explosive colour palette, cacophony of noise and bustling communities that would really leave a permanent mark on his style and aesthetic. ‘Saturation, colour and vibrancy was definitely instilled in me through my exposure to South Asia from a young age”. He graduated with a degree in Chemistry from the University of Bristol, but rather than spending his days in a lab, he switched to the darkroom, where his technical eye and creativity could merge. Today he travels around the globe – from Djibouti to Uzbekistan, from Côte D’Ivoire to Cuba – combining his commissioned high end fashion work for brands like Miu Miu and publications such as AnOther, with more personal, documentary and still life work.
Here he reflects on how he uses his camera as a tool to foster a deep appreciation and familiarity with diverse cultures, what key developments he traces in his photographic journey and how fine art and fashion photography feed each other.
If you look back to where you started as a photographer, what are some of the key developments you can trace in your work?
I would like to think that I am constantly evolving, and that each new photograph has a little bit more of the last. Being in a dark room, you have a lot of time to scrutinise your work. What I have noticed is that a consistent factor to my work has been the intuitive approach, and I am eager to bring that more into the studio, instead of just shooting on location. I actually started out as an assistant to a studio photographer, and I find bringing a high degree of control to one’s work an exciting prospect.