Many books of Waplington's work have been published, both self-published and through Aperture, Cornerhouse, Mack, Phaidon, and Trolley. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Tate Britain and The Photographers' Gallery in London, at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA, and at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford, UK; and in group exhibitions at Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy and Brooklyn Museum, New York City. In 1993 he was awarded an Infinity Award for Young Photographer by the International Center of Photography. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, Victoria and Albert Museum and Government Art Collection in London, National Gallery of Australia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Royal Library, Denmark.
Life and work
Waplington traveled extensively during his childhood as his father worked as a scientist in the nuclear industry. He studied art at West Sussex College of Art & Design in Worthing, Trent Polytechic in Nottingham and the Royal College of Art in London.
From 1984, Waplington would regularly visit his grandfather on the Broxtowe Estate in Aspley, Nottingham, where he began to photograph his immediate surroundings. Friends and neighbours of his family became his subject matter of choice. He continued with this work on and off for the next 15 years and from it came two books (Living Room and Weddings, Parties, Anything) and numerous exhibitions.
His book Other Edens (1994) focused on environmental concerns and, although it was conceived and worked on at the same time as Living Room, was seen as a major departure in style and content. This work is global in nature and its ideas are ambiguous and multi-layered.
Other bodies of his work include Safety in Numbers (1997), a bleak study of the ecstasy drug culture in the mid-1990s; The Indecisive Memento, a global road trip where the journey itself was the artwork (1999); Truth or Consequences (2001), a pictorial game based on the history of photography using the town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico as a backdrop, inspired by the rules of the 1950s television show; and You Love Life (2005), in which he uses pictures taken over a 20-year period to construct an autobiographical narrative.
Learn How to Die the Easy Way (2002), Waplington's contribution to a group exhibition in part of the Venice Biennale 2001, expressed a yearning for the artistic and commercial freedom that the web might yet expose and a celebration of the dislocated reason behind conventional thoughts and media.
Waplington's graphic novel Terry Painter was made in collaboration with Miguel Calderon in 2003. This and other projects with Calderon including The Garden of Suburban Delights have been exhibited in Europe and the US.
In December 2007, the project space at the Whitechapel Gallery in London showed his slide show of found internet photos, entitled You Are Only What You See. The work was available at the time bound together in 10 publications of 100 images each, and there was a separate catalog of original photos by Waplington called Double Dactyl (2008).
Waplington worked on a major book project with the fashion designer Alexander McQueen during 2008/2009, called Working Process (2013), the title refers to both McQueen's working process as a fashion designer and Waplington's working process as an artist making photo books. In March 2015 this project became the first one-person exhibition by a British photographer in the main exhibition space at Tate Britain in London.
In 2011 Waplington self-published Lackadaisical, using a print on demand service, his response to increasingly expensive photobooks. It was later edited and expanded in the form of another edition called Extrapolations.
While continuing to make photographic works Waplington has since 2010 devoted most of his time to his practice as a painter.
Waplington participated in the photography collective This Place, founded by Frédéric Brenner, contributing the book Settlement (2014), a study of Jewish settlers living in the West Bank, portrait and landscape photographs taken with a large format camera.
Publications by Waplington
- Living Room.
- Other Edens. New York: Aperture, 1994. ISBN 978-0893815875. Marianne Wiggins contributes an introduction.
- Weddings, Parties, Anything. Irvine Welsh contributes an essay.
- Safety in Numbers.
- The Indecisive Memento. London: Booth Clibborn, 1999. ISBN 978-1861541222.
- Truth or Consequences. London: Phaidon, 2001. ISBN 978-0714840543.
- Learn how to die the easy way. London: Trolley, 2002. ISBN 978-0954207977. Waplington's contribution to a group exhibition at Venice Biennale in 2001.
- Terry Painter. Self-published, 2003. Graphic novel, art directed, story and concept by Waplington and Miguel Calderon and illustration by Domingo & Celilia.
- You Love Life. London: Trolley, 2005. ISBN 978-1904563426.
- Double Dactyl. London: Trolley, 2008. ISBN 978-1904563679.
- Working Process. New York: Damiani, 2013. ISBN 978-88-6208-295-2.
- Surf Riot. New York: Little Big Man, 2011. Edition of 300 copies.
- Lackadaisical. New York: self-published, 2011. Edition of 100 copies.
- Second expanded edition. New York: self-published, 2011. Edition of 100 copies.
- Extrapolations. New York: self-published, 2011. Edition of 100 copies.
- The Patriarch's Wardrobe. Melbourne: PAMBook, 2012. ISBN 978-0980369663.
- Settlement. London: Mack, 2014. ISBN 9781907946523.
- Made Glorious Summer. Tokyo: Powershovel, 2014. ISBN 978-4-9902101-7-5. 3 volumes and 1 insert. Edition of 500 copies.
- Living Room Work Prints. New York: Little Big Man, 2015. Edition of 700 copies.
- Cunt Away. London: Morel Books. ISBN 978-1907071485. Irvine Welsh contributes an essay. Edition of 200 Copies
- We Live As We Dream, Alone. London: Morel Books, 2016. Edition of 500 copies.
- Neither A Salt Spring Nor A Horse. New York: Pacific Books, 2018. Edition of 400 copies
Zines by Waplington
- A Good Man's Grave Is His Sabbath. Deadbeat Club 32. Deadbeat Club/Little Big Man, 2015. Edition of 400 copies.
- Sesquipedalian. Geneva: Innen, 2017. Edition of 500 copies.
Book paired with another
- Working Process. Bologna, Italy: Damiani, 2013. Edited by Alexander McQueen. ISBN 9788862082952. With a foreword by Susannah Franke.
Significant solo exhibitions
- Living Room, The Photographers' Gallery, London, 1990–1991.
- Living Room, and Circles of Civilization, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, 1992.
- Other Edens, The Photographers' Gallery, London, 1994–1995.
- Weddings, Parties, Anything, National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford, UK, 1996.
- You Are Only What You See and Double Dactyl, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2007.
- Working Process, Tate Britain, London, 2015.
Significant group exhibitions
- The Dead, National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, 1995. Curated by Val Williams and Greg Hobson. Work by various photographers including Waplington, Nobuyoshi Araki, Krass Clement, Donigan Cumming, Hans Danuser, Andres Serrano.
- Learn How to Die the Easy Way, Venice Biennale, 2001.
- This Place, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York City, 2016. Photographs by Waplington, Frédéric Brenner, Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Thomas Struth, and Jeff Wall.
- A Handful of Dust, Le Bal, Paris, October 2015 – January 2016; Whitechapel Gallery, London, June–September 2017. Curated by David Campany.
Waplington's work is held in the following permanent collections:
- Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, UK
- Government Art Collection, London: 1 print
- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City[better source needed]
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City
- National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia: 5 prints
- Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA: 4 prints
- Royal Library, Denmark
- Victoria and Albert Museum, London: 14 pieces
- Jon Prosser, ed. (2000). Image-based research a sourcebook for qualitative researchers (Repr. ed.). London: Falmer. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-7507-0649-0. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- "Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process". Tate. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Exhibition History, 1971 - Present" (PDF). The Photographers' Gallery. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2017.
- "Photographs by Nick Waplington: The "Living Room" and "Circles of Civilization" Series". Philadelphia Museum of Art. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
- "Keeping it in the family". The Daily Telegraph. London. 19 October 1996. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
- "Learn How to Die the Easy Way: Nick Waplington" T J Boulting. Accessed 3 July 2017
- "This Place". Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "1993 Infinity Award: Young Photographer" International Center of Photography. Accessed 3 July 2017
- "Nick Waplington in conversation". Tate. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- "You searched for: Nick Waplington". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "5 Items found". National Gallery of Australia. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- "Artist/Maker's Name: Nick Waplington". Philadelphia Museum of Art. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
- "Udenlandsk fotografi". Royal Library, Denmark. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- "The Dead by Val Williams & Greg Hobson (1995)". Manchester School of Art. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- "Nothing Happens". Out. March 1999. p. 40. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- Güner, Fisun (5 July 2004). "Stop the funny business". London Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Press Release: Nick Waplington: 12 December 2007 – 20 January 2008". Whitechapel Gallery. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process". Tate. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- Lowe, Laurence (12 February 2015). "Photographer Nick Waplington's Solo Show at Tate Britain". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- Lewis, Tim (8 February 2015). "Why we're all still mad about Alexander McQueen". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Nick Waplington - Brighton Photo Biennial 2014". Brighton Photo Biennial. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "A Legendary Photographer (and McQueen Collaborator) Debuts Paintings". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
- Kershner, Isabel. "Top Photographers Try Looking at Israel From New Angles". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Hodges, Michael. "Snapshots of Israel". Financial Times. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Darwent, Charles (23 December 2007). "Nick Waplington, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London". The Independent. London. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Nick Waplington". The Daily Telegraph. London. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- Lubow, Arthur (11 February 2016). "For 12 Photographers, an Anxious Gaze on Israel and the West Bank". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- Aletti, Vince (16 March 2016). "Israel and the West Bank, Through the Eyes of a Dozen Visitors". The New Yorker. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- Weinreich, Regina (18 February 2017). "'This Place' at the Brooklyn Museum: Outsiders Photograph Israel". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "A Handful of Dust - From the Cosmic to the Domestic". Le Bal. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- "A Handful of Dust: Photography after Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp". Whitechapel Gallery. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- O'Hagan, Sean (8 June 2017). "Slain dictators and cities under attack: the photographers telling stories through dust". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- Hilton, Tim (6 April 1996). "They'll take the low road". The Independent. London. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
- "1 works found for Nick Waplington". Government Art Collection. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- Rachlin, Natalia (28 February 2015). "Nick Waplington's Photographs of the Late Fashion Designer Alexander McQueen Are On Display at the Tate Britain". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "Årsberetning 2007" (PDF). Royal Library, Denmark. Retrieved 17 October 2017.