Rare Disease Day - 28th February 2015

Introducing the world-renowned photographer, Mr Brock Elbank

Since June 2016, Caring Matters Now has been working in partnership with the world-renowned photographer Brock Elbank to produce the ‘HOW DO YOU C ME NOW?’ exhibition series, featuring some of the most inspirational children and adults affected by CMN in the world.

Brock Elbank always knew he wanted to make his living taking pictures, inspired as a teenager by Anton Corbjin’s artwork on U2’s The Joshua Tree.  After art school and university, Brock worked in a London studio where he stood in for a day as Corbjin’s assistant, shooting Ewan Mcgregor for Esquire.  Meeting his hero fired his ambition and a commission from Isabella Blow to shoot a story for the Sunday Times Style Magazine soon followed.  He began his career as a women’s fashion photographer but while working in the UK, US and Australia, Brock developed a bold distinctive approach which leant itself perfectly to male styling and portraiture.  He worked with clients like Nike, Coke, San Pellegrino, Toyota and Dove and in 2004 his Snickers campaign won a prestigious advertising industry award.

For nearly a decade Brock lived in Sydney where his work became more art based, moving away from commercial work and professional models in favour of a more studied approach to portraiture and still-life photography.  Brock states, I am fascinated by the private stories behind public faces.  For me, distinctive features, the freckles, scars, beards and tattoos describe a personality and a life.  Even his still-life images of flowers have a personal history – the roses planted in memory of his mother or peonies which were a gift from his wife.

Brock Elbank’s photographic portraits focus on particular features that unite a cross-section of people while simultaneously revealing their individuality.  His most well-known body of work stems from an ongoing collaboration with melanoma prevention charity Beard Season.  In 2015 Brock Elbank’s portraits of 80 bearded subjects were exhibited at Somerset House – drawing nearly 40,000 visitors in just over three weeks and generating over £1.75M in press worldwide for the show and more importantly the charity.

Following his Beard series, Brock Elbank launched his Freckles series, which was completed in the Autumn of 2016.  The Freckles series attracted a global audience with over 6,500 people applying for the 175 places. People from all over the world travelled to sit for his series which featured subjects from as far-a-field as Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Kuwait, Australia and the U.S. to name but a few.

In 2016 Caring Matters Now board of trustees made contact with Brock Elbank to start discussions about the possibility of producing a beautiful series of images featuring some of the most inspirational children and adults affected by CMN.  The aim of the series is to raise positive awareness of CMN across the globe, giving the clear message – to love the skin you are in!  Brock caught onto the vision and in June 2016, Caring Matters Now and Brock Elbank began our working partnership.

Brock states, “Caring Matters Now reached out to me with a vision to celebrate visible differences and to educate the general public about CMN.  As with all of my portrait series my work comes from a good place, a positive space.  Unique individual appearances are something I have always been drawn to and something I see as a strength.” 

Due to the rare nature of CMN it has been imperative that Jodi, Lucy and the trustees gave me the necessary room to produce a series of works that I felt presented the skin condition in a fresh and positive light.  The trust and bond that grew from the first day has been a testament to their ongoing support to their members and the research.

Caring Matters Now started out as a client, but soon became friends and now they’re more like family.  To be given the creative freedom is rare in these times and one hopes that the subjects documented on an international scale, reflects the charity’s desire to present each incredible individual from all walks of life in a way they all deserve.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for over 30 months and considering the charity took a leap of faith to produce this exhibition with little knowledge on how to make it happen, is a feather in the charity’s cap.  Their consistently positive nature is infectious as sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone to have positive impact in the world we live – and I feel that is what the charity, the trustees, the photographed participants, their families and myself have achieved with the ‘HOW DO YOU C ME NOW?’ exhibition series.

Good Luck to everyone involved and I genuinely hope the show attracts the press and success you all deserve.

The HOW DO YOU C ME NOW? series of images will be launched at the gallery@oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf in central London on Wednesday 13th March.  The gallery doors will open to the public on Thursday 14th March, 10am.
More details can be found here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *