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Caroline Irby

Photographer Overview

I've been chasing light since my father gave me his old Olympus when I was 13. I graduated with a Masters in French and Philosophy from Edinburgh University in 2000, then spent a decade covering humanitarian stories internationally (mostly in Africa and French speaking countries), for NGOs, UN agencies and magazines (Newsweek, the Sunday Times Magazine, the Guardian Magazine, the Observer Magazine, the Saturday Telegraph Magazine, Foto8, Marie Claire, Grazia, the Financial Times Magazine, the Independent etc).

In 2010 I became a mother, and turned my eye to stories and commissions closer to my home, in London. For my first book, 'A Child from Everywhere', I found, interviewed and photographed a child from every country in the world now living in the UK (185 children in total). This project later became a Channel 4 mini-series.

Commercial work for clients such as Canon, BT, Airbnb, the National Trust, Burberry and Persil is always people-focused, and has a very natural, documentary feel. I have been lucky to photograph some of the best known faces of our time. My approach to portraiture is quite minimal: I like to use a very paired down kit, ideally just daylight and reflectors, so I can focus better on the person in front of me.

My children are now old enough for me want to travel again, and I continue to shoot abroad as well as in the UK, particularly for the UN, documenting their work with refugees.

In 2020 my second book, 'Someone Else's Mother', which tells the story of the Filipina woman who raised me, and the four children she had to leave behind, was published by Schilt - the project was fifteen years in the making!

Nearly 30 years now after I first looked through a viewfinder, I still love immersing myself in the magic of light and picture making.

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