Life & Culture

Ian Kenneth Bird’s Beautiful Portraits of London’s Young Men

The Wolverhampton-born photographer previews his stunning new book, Untitled Portraits

  • TextTed Stansfield

Ian Kenneth Bird is one of the most exciting emerging photographic talents. Describing his approach to image-making as simply “honest and accessible”, his work is pure, considered and quietly beautiful. While he has won commissions from the likes of McQ, Dior Homme, 10 Men and i-D, among others, it is his own personal projects that hold the most importance for him, explaining that self-publishing has given him “the freedom to communicate and share my work however I want”.

Originally hailing from Wolverhampton, the 27-year-old photographer has published two books to date – Don’t Know What I Want But I Want It Now and Archie – and is launching his third, Untitled Portraits, this Thursday with an exhibition in Bethnal Green.

Comprising of a series of studio-based portraits, this book represents Bird’s work at its best. This is in part due to the fact that it combines his gift for image-making with another one of his talents: casting. “I spend a lot of time on casting,” he explains over email. “In some ways Untitled Portraits could be seen as a considered extension of my first publication, Don’t Know What I Want But I Want It Now.”

Streetcasting some of his subjects, Bird shot a total of 16 young men for this particular series, working closely with hairstylist Michael Harding on grooming. The book itself was designed by Bruce Usher Studio and is printed in a super limited edition run of 200 copies, which will be available to purchase at the exhibition and afterwards, online.

Untitled Portraits launches on Thursday, September 13, at 59 Old Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 6QA. Head here for more information.