Gordon Welters is a freelance photographer with a focus on documentarian work. His assignments are mostly for national and international magazines, newspapers (including the New York Times since 2009) as well as non-government organizations, enterprises and advertising agencies. In 2003 he studied photo journalism at London College of Communication. Since 2006 Gordon Welters is represented by photo agency laif. In addition to photographic commission, he works on personal projects that focus on relevant social issues.
How did you first get into photography?
I bought my very first camera when I was 20. I was eager to document my own life – the places I travelled to and the people whom I met on the way. Today I see photography as a means of discussing the identity construct.
What is the most challenging aspect of your profession?
For me, to delve deep into people´s life in a very intimate way and win their trust, for discovering life´s variegated facets. Building an emphatic rapport to an unknown person, within a short time, is the most challenging aspect of photographers profession, I think.
Behind the Silence, highlighting the discrimination suffered by disabled people. What motivated this series?
I had read Anton Chekhov´s Ward No. 6, a short story about a mental asylum in Russia. 120 years after this story was published, I decided to explore how the situation for the mentally ill had changed since then. At the Psycho-Neurological Internat No. 3 in Peterhof (Russia) I met volunteers from Germany and was deeply moved by her altruistic work for the disabled.
What has been the most gratifying moment in your career?
For the essay Go, my beauty I met Dana – a young woman, who was diagnosed with cancer, 19 days before she died. Almost every day I visited her in the hospital. Despite her illness, she stayed positive and a circle of special friends not only did supported Dana to the end, but also learned to support each other. In this way, a unique network was born. It was Dana, who wanted to share the idea of circle of friends with the outside world, as an support for the sick, their relatives and friends. The exhibition Go, my beauty moved many visitors, some of them were crying. It was then, that I realized that my essay had succeeded in moving the subject of death to the right focus.
Is there a photographer past/present that you particular admire?
I admire Eugene Richard´s work, because of the incredible closeness and sensitivity to his protagonists. For me, Anders Peterson shows an unobtrusive way to take very strong pictures. And I like Homer Sykes for his ability to depict everyday life with a twinkle in his eye.
[with excerpts from an interview with YOUMANITY, in 2014]
Among others for: Aftenposten, BZ Berner Zeitung, Dagens Næringsliv, de Volkskrant, Die Zeit, Die Welt, Financial Times, Handelsblatt, International Herald Tribune, NRC Handelsblad, NZZ am Sonntag, die Tageszeitung (taz), THE GLOBE AND MAIL, The Guardian, The New York Times / International New York Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Times / The Sunday Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Welt am Sonntag (WamS),
art – Das Kunstmagazin, Brigitte, CashFlow, Causette, chrismon, Corriere della Sera SETTE Magazine, Der Spiegel, Dein Spiegel, Focus, GEO, GEOlino, Impulse, L’Echo, L’Express, Le Point, M – Le magazine du Monde, Monopol, National Geographic Deutschland, NEWS Magazine, Newsweek, Nido, Sports Illustrated, stern, The Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE), The Fader Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, TIME For Kids,
Attac, Workers’ Samaritan Foundation Germany (ASB), Deutscher Bundesjugendring, Bundesfachverband unbegleitete minderjährige Flüchtlinge (BumF), German Federal Agency for Civic Education, Campact, Caritas Germany, Christian-Aid, Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB), Greenpeace, IG-Metall, medico international, Oxfam, The Elders, The Syria Campaign, Transparency International, UNHCR, United Services Union (ver.di),
Audi, AVM, BBC, Deutsche Post, Mounting Systems, Northwestern University, Open Society Foundations, SILVERKRIS (Singapore Airlines), startsocial e.V., Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Tchibo, VolkswagenStiftung and XING AG.
Among others in: Amnesty International (ai journal), ARD-aktuell Tagesschau, ARD Morgenmagazin, Augenblicke.de (Telekom), BEEF!, Brand Eins, Business Punk, DE Magazin Deutschland, De Morgen, Deutsche Bahn Stiftung, Der Freitag, Eine Welt Magazin, enorm, EuroBonus Traveler (SAS Scandinavian Airlines), Financial Times Deutschland, Fluter, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Haaretz, La Stampa, L’Espresso, Le Temps, Libération, manager magazin, Money Week, Monopol, NEON, Nouvel Observateur, Playboy, Rotary Magazin, Russian Reporter, advertising campaign by Scholz & Friends, Süddeutsche Zeitung, SZ Magazin, TIME, UNICEF News, welt-sichten and the WirtschaftsWoche.
|2015||Siena International Photography Awards, 1st place for “Go, my beauty” in the category: Storyboard|
|2014||Freedom to Love photography award, third place for “Behind the Silence”|
|2014||“Wort im Bild” (“words in images”), “Behind the Silence” won at this international photographic competition on the theme of literature|
|2014||n-ost Reportage Prize, “Behind the Silence” is nominated in the category: Photo Reportage|
|2014||Henri Nannen Prize, “Behind the Silence” is nominated in the category: Photo Reportage|
|2014||KOLGA TBILISI PHOTO AWARD, “Behind the Silence” is shortlisted in the category: Documentary|
|2013||UNICEF Photo of the Year 2013, honorable mention for “Behind the Silence”|
|2012||Henri Nannen Prize, “Go, my beauty” is shortlisted in the category: Photo Reportage|
|2011||International Photography Awards, 1st place for “Go, my beauty” in the category: People – Family professional|
|2011||International Photography Awards, honorable mention for my picture of the protest against nuclear waste transport in the category: Special – Night Photography professional|
|2011||Hansel-Mieth Prize 2011, honorable mention for “Go, my beauty”|
|2010||FotoDoks festival for current documentary photography, FotoDoks-Award for “Go, my beauty”|
|2010||PDN Photo Annual, my feature “Uprising” won in the category: Photojournalism|
|2010||International Photography Awards, honorable mention for “Go, my beauty” in the category: Deeper Perspective|
|2010||FreeLens Award for Young Photojournalism, as one of 60 photographers from around the world, I´m nominated for the Award with my story “Go, my beauty”|
|2010||Renaissance Photography Prize, shortlisted in the category Movement with a picture of my feature “Uprising”|
|2009||International Aperture Awards, Silver Award for a picture of my feature “Uprising” in the category: Photojournalism|
|2009||The Worldwide Photography Gala Awards (WPGA), honorable mention for a picture of my feature “Uprising” in the category: Documentary|
|2009||International Photography Awards (IPA), honorable mention for “Uprising” in the category Editorial – General News professional|
|2009||International Photography Awards (IPA), honorable mention for Woodstock Festival picture in the category People – Lifestyle professional|
|2009||Sony World Photography Awards, 2nd place for “Loveparade” and “Woodstock Festival” in the professional category Music|
|2009||G+J Photo Award, shortlisted in the category National Geographic Deutschland|
|2008||UNICEF Photo of the Year 2008, honorable mention for “Living on wheels”|
|2008||BILLBOARD/ PDN Summer Music Moment, Woodstock Festival picture won in the category: Crowd|
|2008||FotoDoks festival for current documentary photography, honorable mention for “Living on wheels”|
|2008||FreeLens Award for Young Photojournalism, as one of 60 photographers from around the world, I´m nominated for the Award with my story “Living on wheels”|
|2008||Nominated for the 2008 edition of the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass|
|2007||PDN Photo Annual, www.gordonwelters.com received award for web sites|
|2004||Ian Parry Memorial Scholarship, special mention|
|2004||Tom Webster Award for Photojournalism, shortlisted|
|2010||from Stiftung Kulturwerk of VG Bild-Kunst|
Screenings / Talks
|2016||Photoville in New York City, “A night with The New York Times” (NYT photo editors share highlights from their photographic coverage of some of the year’s biggest stories)|
|2016||fotoforum Impulse, Germany, “Behind the Silence”||2015||Triennial of Photography Hamburg/ Germany, “Behind the Silence”|
|2014||Festival FotoIstanbul in Istanbul/ Turkey, “Berlin” seen by street photography|
|2014||PHOTONEWS – 25th anniversary, Hamburg/ Germany, “Behind the Silence”|
|2012||8th Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap/ Cambodia, “Living on wheels”|
|2010||Attac – 10th anniversary, Frankfurt am Main/ Germany, “Block G8”|
|2007||Zaunfestspiele – Move against G8, Tacheles/ Berlin, “Block G8”|
|2018||Rückblende 2017 – Political Photography in Germany, Joint Exhibition (also Rückblende 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003 and 2002)|
|2017||Wohnungsverbund Staudenhof in Potsdam/ Germany, „KISS ME – the most beautiful triviality in the world“, Solo Exhibiton|
|2017||BELvue museum in Brussels/ Belgium, “Challenging Chances – Escape in Pictures“, Joint Exhibition|
|2017||Galerie Für Fotografie (GAF) in Hanover/ Germany, “Escape“, Joint Exhibition|
|2017||FREELENS exhibition »Bitte warten…« at the Wissenschaftspark in Gelsenkirchen/ Germany, Joint Exhibition|
|2017||Federal Press Office in Berlin/ Germany, “Challenging Chances – Escape in Pictures“, Joint Exhibition|
|2016/17||The Museum of Modern Art in New York City/ USA, “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter”, Joint Exhibition|
|2016||laif Gallery in Cologne/ Germany, “New in Germany”, Joint Exhibition|
|2016||laif Gallery in Cologne/ Germany, “Challenging Chances – Escape in Pictures”, Joint Exhibition|
|2016||federal state representation Rhineland-Palatinate in Berlin/ Germany, “Angekommen!? Fotografien zu Flucht und Ankunft in Deutschland”, Joint Exhibition|
|2016||FREELENS Gallery in Hamburg/ Germany, “Please wait…”, Joint Exhibition|
|2016||Rückblende 2015 – Political Photography in Germany, Joint Exhibition (also Rückblende 2014, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003 and 2002)|
|2015||Gallery Herzogburg in St.Veit an der Glan/ Austria, “Behind the Silence”, Joint Exhibition|
|2015||Triennial of Photography Hamburg/ Germany, “Living on wheels”, Joint Exhibition|
|2015||UNICEF – Children. The Presence of the Future, “Behind the Silence” at the KOLGA TBILISI PHOTO in Tbilisi/ Georgia, Joint Exhibition|
|2015||Freedom to Love photography award, “Behind the Silence” in London/ UK, Joint Exhibition|
|2014||6th European Month of Photography in Berlin/ Germany, “Living on wheels”, Joint Exhibition|
|2014||UNICEF – 25 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, “Living on wheels” on Frankfurt Book Fair/ Germany, Joint Exhibition|
|2014||KOLGA AWARD EXHIBITION, “Behind the Silence” and “Go, my beauty” is shown in Tbilisi/ Georgia in “The best photos of the year” – Exhibition, Joint Exhibition|
|2014||UNICEF Photo of the Year 2013, “Behind the Silence”, Joint Exhibition|
|2012||Zenith Fotopreis 2011, “Muslims in Germany” in Bonn/ Germany (Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland), Joint Exhibition|
|2012||The Browse Photo Festival Berlin 2012, “Go, my beauty” in Berlin/ Germany, Joint Exhibition|
|2011||UNHCR, “60 Years, 60 Lives”, Joint Exhibition|
|2010||FotoDoks festival for current documentary photography, “Go, my beauty” in Munich/ Germany, Joint Exhibition|
|2010||LUMIX festival for Young Photojournalism, “Go, my beauty” in Hannover/ Germany, Joint Exhibition|
|2010||Goethe-Institut, “Living on wheels” in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Joint Exhibition|
|2010||Renaissance Photography Prize, exhibition of shortlisted photographers in London/ UK, Joint Exhibition|
|2009||Sony World Photography Awards, winner’s exhibition, the Global Tour stops in Cannes, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Paris, London and Berlin, Joint Exhibition|
|2009||9th International Exhibition of Photography “Gjon Mili”, “Woodstock Festival” in the Kosovo National Art Gallery in Prishtina, Joint Exhibition|
|2009||Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie, “Living on wheels” in Darmstadt/ Germany, Joint Exhibition|
|2009||FREELENS annual meeting, “Exposure and truth” in Munich/ Germany, Joint Exhibition|
|2009||“Living on wheels“ in Potsdam/ Germany, Solo Exhibiton|
|2009||Neunplus Gallery, “Friday the 13th” in Berlin/ Germany, Joint Exhibition|
|2008||FotoDoks festival for current documentary photography, “Living on wheels” in Bad Aibling/ Germany, Joint Exhibition|
|2008||UNICEF Photo of the Year 2008, “Living on wheels”, Joint Exhibition|
|2008||LUMIX festival for Young Photojournalism, “Living on wheels” in Hannover/ Germany, Joint Exhibition|
|2008||“BLOCK G8” in Potsdam/ Germany, Solo Exhibiton|
|2004||The Ian Parry Scholarship 2004 in London/ UK, Joint Exhibition|
|2004||Degree Show of Postgraduate Diploma in Photojournalism in London/ UK, Joint Exhibition|
|2002||“Irian Jaya” in Potsdam/ Germany, Solo Exhibiton|
|2001||Journalistenbüro Spot, “Deutschlandbilder” in Taschkent/ Usbekistan, Joint Exhibition|
|2000||“Irian Jaya” in Brandenburg/ Germany, Solo Exhibiton|
|2000||“off art” in Brandenburg/ Germany, Joint Exhibition|