Brian Shuel

This website is pure self-indulgence. No photographer in his right mind would put 6991 pictures on-line and expect anyone to wade through them all at once. So we have divided them up. Each section has a brief account of what it is about. If you want to know more, follow the prompts – but you don't have to.

About me

Biography, links, contact.


This is mainly about Folk Singers of the 1960s. The pictures were as a result of work for Topic and Transatlantic Records, though they expanded far beyond the needs of these two labels. There are also some pictures by John Harrison, one of the original Watersons, who I taught for while so even I can’t tell the difference! There is a list of performers and more background here.


This vast collection is all about the customs, traditions and folklore of the British Isles, particularly 'Calendar Customs' which happen in the same place on the same day every year. It by no means covers all the customs there are but I did manage to get to 200 or so between 1963 and 1993 There are almost 3000 pictures so you will appreciate some help to find your way around them here.


Freelance professionals gets to photograph hundreds of people, from the Royals to the homeless. My portrait career started with the houseful of actors we found ourselves living with in the early 1960s and spread through jobs for publishers, newspapers, mighty companies, design groups and the like. Many of my Music and Custom pictures are essentially portraits. There is a list here.


I have been in love with London since the day I arrived from Dublin in January 1954. I regard myself as a Londoner by adoption. I am not listening to cries of rage from beyond the M25. This is a quirky view of the kaleidoscopic nature of this great city. There is always something going on but, for me, it is enough just to wander the streets...

British Isles

As this section will testify, I have been to almost every part of the British Isles, except some offshore islands and Co Donegal. It is on places and things not covered in Customs, Bridges or London. The pictures were often shot on commissions but mostly just for fun. The ones of Coventry Cathedral and Aberdeen were me trying to get my head around a new digital camera!


Bridges have been a lifelong interest, don't know why. It is a joint project with my wife Sal, who did most of the research. The captions are as informative as the pictures, which range from tiny clappers to the mighty Humber Bridge. Some are there for their beauty, others for engineering interest or the genius who designed them, and a few were picked up on our travels abroad.


Collections is supposed to be about the British Isles but I get to show these because my family own the picture agency! They are mostly holiday snaps, but definitely not of the ‘Sal-in-front-of-the-Eiffel-Tower’ genre. We tend to be city folks. There is a lot on New York, which I love almost as much as London, also Amsterdam and the Netherlands through work for Schiphol Airport.


For want of a better word, but it is perfectly obvious what most of these actually are. Some of these were shot in the course of real work, some for Collections, but all are me as an illustrator, graphic designer, and insatiably curious photographer on the lookout for the weird and wonderful...


These are from our own collection of books and antiquarian prints, which is more or less confined to images of Customs and Bridges, and items from library of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. They reassure me that the customs and bridges I have been photographing really did exist centuries ago, and in many cases how little they have changed.


The sections above don’t in any way cover my whole collection so you can do a keyword search using the “Search” box on every page.

You can enter multiple words. If you do then the results will include all the keywords, but not necessarily where they appear in the order you entered them. If the word order is important then wrap your search in parentheses () and the exact query will be searched for. For instance searching for “Severn Bridge” will return all bridges on the River Severn, “(Severn Bridge)” will just return the Severn Bridge.