Biography - James Wakefield

Urban Exposure
by James Wakefield

Thank you
for taking the time to look at my work.

For the last twelve years my interest in photography has developed from a passion into an obsession. I am now 23 years old and have recently completed the legendary photography degree course at Manchester Metropolitan University.

In my lifetime I have amassed a personal photo collection of more than twenty thousand film and digital images. It has only been in the last couple of years, however, that I have begun to consider my future as a professional photographer. The intensity of the degree course made me consider deeply what it is that I want my work to represent.

The projects currently on this website give a good indication of the progression I have made in recent years, and where my work is heading.

My initial obsession with the urban landscape has taken my work in two separate directions. The initial one concerns aesthetic based photography, looking at form and 'beauty' in an urban context; particularly where this relates to architecture, urban decay, and generally the non human aspects of the urban landscape.

The second approach is what I consider to be the most important to my development and recognition as a photographer. Initially my social documentary based approach was developed through street photography, but as I have realised the restriction of this environment due to its sheer immensity, I have started to concentrate on a true documentary style which involves long term dedicated projects that explore the very essence of the human condition.

The first major project to channel this new direction was completed in America in the summer of 2004. Although the work was shot primarily in the street, it makes a distinct social and political commentary not seen in my previous work. Upon my return to Britain, I spent nine intensive months editing, structuring and self publishing the work into a quality hardback book.

The book has received critical acclaim from the British photographic press and has provided the foundation for a disciplined and considered approach to future projects.

The two other projects that were completed in my final year were a serious challenge not only to my photographic approach but also my attitude to life in general.

My Still Looking and Jane & Debbie projects were specifically designed to take me away from the street environment, but they ended up achieving significantly more than that, and the Jane & Debbie project especially looks to be the most challenging and emotionally involving project I am likely to have ever undertaken. I urge you to explore these projects in more detail on this site.

Now i have completed my degree, I am in the limbo stage between graduation and the real world. I realised a very long time ago that the current approach to my photography is unlikely to make me any money for at least ten years, however, I have refused to allow this to be a barrier to my progression. My work will continue.

Over the next few years i plan to execute several major documentary projects exploring the political and social aspects of life that fascinate me so much.

You can help me fulfil my obligations as a photographer by purchasing a print, or my limited edition book.

Enjoy the work on this site. I urge you to return the favour and take five minutes to send me an email - with your comments, questions, praise and criticism.

James Wakefield - 2007


Amateur Photographer - 9 May 2005
MMYou - 15 June 2005
Absolute Leeds - Aug 2005
AP 'Viewfinder' - 20 Aug 2005
Yorkshire Evening Post - 11 Sep 2005
Apogee Photo Magazine - Feb 2006
Practical Photography - May 2006
Amateur Photographer - Sept 2006
upcoming features:
Noo Journal - June 2007
Digital Photographer - June 2007