Brian Shuel

This website is pure self-indulgence. No photographer in his right mind would put 7265 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. If you want to know about me, likewise!

About

Biography, links, contact.

Music

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.

Customs

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 and more background.

Portrait

Freelance professionals get 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 late 1950s 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.

London

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 my very personal view of the kaleidoscopic nature of this great city. There is always something going on but, for me, the real fun is just to wander the streets...

British Isles

I do love the rest of the British Isles as well, though. I have been to every part except some offshore islands and Co Donegal.  This section is on places and things not covered in Customs, Bridges or London. The pictures were shot half on commissions and half for fun, sometimes both, or on speculative projects. I did enjoy a trip to the sticks, but don’t ask me to live there!

Bridge

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.

World

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 selfies or ‘Sal-in-front-of-the-Eiffel-Tower’ genre. They are mostly about cities especially New York, which I love almost as much as London. Amsterdam and the Netherlands materialised through work for Schiphol Airport.

Abstract

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

Illustrations

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 the 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.

And

The sections above cover the majority of the collection, but some outliers may have been missed. You can do a keyword search for any picture in the collection 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.