"The most important thing is: You don't give up. Believe in what you
are doing. The moment you stop believing in a story you are doing
then that story is over."
Simon Wheatley joined Magnum Photos as a Nominee in 2005.
British, b. Singapore, 1970
Though he was born in Singapore, Simon Wheatley spent his teenage
and college years in the UK, and graduated from Manchester
University in 1993 with a degree in American and Latin American
Studies. He began to take photography seriously after he moved to
Budapest in the mid-1990s.
In recent years Wheatley has focused on marginalized urban areas,
with a particular interest in issues of youth and urban
regeneration. He has spent considerable time in Amsterdam, where he
photographed the end of the ‘liberal’ era. His reportage, “Liberal
Limits", pictured subjects including veteran heroin addicts living
in youth hostels, as well as disenchanted Moroccan youth.
Wheatley then returned to the UK where he began to photograph
London’s council estates (public housing developments) in an attempt
to explore some of the country's most impoverished areas. He
composed a series of work around such subjects as the Lambeth Walk
street market and the area around Elephant and Castle. Through his
work on the estates, he became intimate with a number of youths who
introduced him to “Grime", a culture based around British urban
music in East London. As a result, he was offered numerous fashion
projects, despite insisting, "My work isn't cool." Instead, he says,
despite the glamour and style of some of the young people he
documents, grime is a violent world in which people are often drawn
into violence and drugs.
Simon Wheatley became a member of Magnum in 2005, and continues to
live and work in the UK.
1993 American and Latin American Studies, Manchester University
2006 FOAM in van Loon-Exploration - Museum van Loon, Amsterdam,