Brent Stirton, born in 1969, studied journalism at Durban Technikon, South Africa. While still a student, he began writing about the violence in KwaZulu-Natal for South Africa’s most critical newspaper, The Weekly Mail , during 1988 and 1989. Unable to find photographers to accompany him into the troubled regions, he began taking photographs to illustrate his own stories in 1989. Following an Honorable Mention by World Press for his first photographs, he was hired as a regional stringer for Reuters in 1989.
In 1993, at the age of 23, having received no formal training in photography, he was appointed Chief Photographer for Scope Magazine (Republican Press) in 1993. He photographed Scope features on violence in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Burundi and Angola, and began to work for both the South African and International Red Cross.
From 1994, Stirton worked full time as a freelancer. Appointed Chief Photographer for Living Magazine (South Africa), he traveled widely on assignment, and also produced international advertising campaigns, including for Camel. Among his awards during this period, he won the Mondi Award for Magazine Photography in 1997, and was runner-up in both 1996 and 1998. He also won an Ilford Press Photography Award for his documentary work in India and Borneo in 1997, after being the runner-up in 1996 for work in India and Rwanda.
In 1996, he signed with the Paris photo agency Gamma, and moved to New York in 1998 to join Gamma’s partner, Liaison Agency, shooting assignments for The New York Times and NY Times Magazine, Newsweek, Time, Life, Forbes, George, Geo, Stern, Der Spiegel, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Figaro, Paris Match, Dutch Panorama, The Sunday Times UK, Madame Germany, and Marie-Claire UK, among others.
In 1999, several of his prints were included in the exhibition “Postcards from South Africa” at Axis Gallery, New York, and his photograph entitled “Death Row, Pretoria” illustrated an issue of the Art in Review section of The New York Times.
In 2000, two of his photographs were included in the exhibition “Distinguished Identities: Contemporary African Portraiture” at the Staller Center for the Arts, State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was also included in the exhibition, “Shooting Resistance: South African Photography, 1976-1994,” at Axis Gallery, New York.
In 2000, Stirton relocated to London to join the RPM agency. He was honored in both the 2000 and 2001 London Photographic Awards.
Apart from his work with various agencies, Stirton is currently working on several photographic series that pursue his own interests, including a portrait portfolio on international prostitution. He is currently a finalist for both the Agfa and ICP Young Photojournalist awards for 2001.
Visit Brent’s website to learn more about the artist.