Life and work
Waplington, the eldest of three children, 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 work include Safety in Numbers (1997), a bleak study of the Ecstasy drug culture in the mid-1990s, and The Indecisive Memento, a global road trip where the journey itself was the artwork (1999).
Waplington's next published work was 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. In this work the rules of the 1950s television show inspired the concept of Waplington's photographic project.
Learn how to die the easy way (2002) Waplington's contribution to a group exhibition in part of the Venice Biennale 2001, expresses 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. "If, as I suspect," says Waplington, "the Internet has broken the stranglehold of governments and large media corporations on mass communication, then we could be in for a very exciting period of development on a number of different levels. Would a breakdown of current modes of social, moral and political cohesion be too much for a man to ask for?"
His other photographic books include You Love Life (2005), in which he uses pictures taken over a 20-year period to construct an autobiographical narrative.
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 Art Gallery in London showed his slide show of found internet photos, entitled "Synethesia". Also published is a series of ten books of found imagery called "You Are Only What You See,", with 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 at the Tate Gallery in London.
In 2011 Waplington published the book 'Surf Riot'. He also self-published Lackadaisical, using a print on demand service, his response to increasingly expensive photobooks. It was produced in an edition of 100 copies and later edited and expanded in the form of another edition called Extrapolations, also in an edition of 100 copies.
Waplington participated in the photography collective This Place, founded by Frédéric Brenner, contributing the book 'Settlement', 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.
- Weddings, Parties, Anything. New York: Aperture, 1996. UK edition.
- The Wedding. New York: Aperture, 1996. ISBN 978-0893816070. US edition.
- Safety in Numbers.
- London: Booth Clibborn, 1997.
- London: Booth Clibborn, 2002. ISBN 978-1861540966.
- 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, with text 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.
- 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.
- Living Room Work Prints. New York: Little Big Man, 2015. Edition of 700 copies.
- Cunt Away" Morel Books:London Irvine Welsh contributes an essay. 200 Copies
Publications with contributions by Waplington
- The Dead. By Val Williams and Greg Hobson. Bradford: National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, 1995. ISBN 0-948489-15-4. With essays by Williams ("Secret Places"), Hobson ("A Horrible Exhibition"), Elizabeth Edwards ("Seeing How Others Die") and Thomas Lynch ("Embalming Father"); and photographs by Waplington as well as Nobuyoshi Araki, Sue Fox, Kasimir Zgorecki, Franco Zecchin, Thomas Werde, Belinda Whiting, Rudolph Schafer, Leslie Hakim-Dowek, Krass Clement, Donigan Cumming, Hans Danuser, Louis Jammes, Max Jourdan, Pete Max Kandhola, Ann Mandelbaum, Bastienne Schmidt, Andres Serrano, John Benjamin Stone, Clare Strand, Annet van der Voort, Elizabeth Williams, Neil Winokur, and Xavier Zimbardo. Published to accompany a touring exhibition starting at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, October 1995 – January 1996, curated by Williams and Hobson.
- "Nothing Happens". Out (magazine). March 1999. p. 40. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- 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.
- Kershner, Isabel. "Top Photographers Try Looking at Israel From New Angles". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Hodges, Michael. "Snapshots of Israel". ft.com. The Financial Times. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "The Dead by Val Williams & Greg Hobson (1995)". Manchester School of Art. Retrieved 21 January 2016.