Tim Flach

Tim Flach
Born (1958-04-16)16 April 1958
London, UK
Occupation Photographer

Tim Flach (born 16 April 1958 in London, United Kingdom) is a London-based photographer, artist and director, with work in several major international public collections, including the National Media Museum, UK and the Swedish Museum of Natural History. He is best known for his highly conceptual images of animals...[1] ...using principles of human portraiture… and a vocabulary of gestures and looks which seem to echo our own and play on our predispositions and sympathies.[2] He is the author of the books Evolution,[3] Equus,[4] Dogs Gods,[5] and More Than Human.[6]

Education and work

Tim Flach studied Communications Design at the North East London Polytechnic (1977–1980) and then Photography and Painted Structures at Saint Martin's School of Art (1982–1983).[7] He soon began to attract commissions and was working independently from 1983 and has since then contributed to the likes of National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, The Sunday Times,[8] The New York Times and New Scientist. His fine art prints are represented in London by the Osborne Samuel Gallery.


Flach's work has increasingly focused on animals, ranging widely across species but united by a distinctive style that is derived from his concerns with anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism. His interests lie in the way 'We shape animals, and we shape their meaning. Whether genetically, as with the featherless chicken of my photograph, or with the symbolism that gives a special significance to a dove but dismisses a London pigeon as a flying rat.'[9] He states that his images ‘aim to illuminate … the relationships between human and non human animals – to make an enquiry into how these relationships occupy anthropocentric space within the contexts of ethics, history, science and politics.’ [10] Flach's images have been described as a system for thinking, constructed and questioned by animal imagery: "Nobel Prize-winner author Elias Canetti penned an aphorism that could easily be applied to Flach – a person who 'thinks in animals as others think in concepts'."[11]

Flach’s often abstract photographic style has been described as “the perfect antithesis to anthropomorphism”.[12] "Flach employs the artistic technique of defamiliarization in many of his studio portraits, creating deliberately ambiguous close-ups, which present the subject at unusual angles in order to provoke questions from the viewer."[13] Surrounding many of these images, like a filter or a screen, is a sense of exploring the concept of Umwelt – the unique way of reading the physical environment that each species inevitably has.[9] Flach's inquiry is at once highly intellectual, subtly political, and at the same time charmingly visual. There are multiple agendas being explored that confront us with our behaviour in and around other living things.[9]


Evolution, 2013

Evolution is a collection of Flach's photography over the past fifteen years, and is an overview of the many ideas he has explored during his career.'Flach's photos show great respect for animals, nature and, if you like, creation in its entirety'[14] He is interested in using animals as 'biological objects', not framing them in the traditional confines in which a photograph of an animal is placed, and asks, what do these animals represent to us?, and how do we know and understand animals?, stating that 'Nature's blueprint is very different from what we humans make of it.'[15]

More Than Human, 2012

More Than Human,[16] is a photographic exploration of animal species ranging from mammals to marine creatures to insects. By removing the creatures from their natural environments, and shooting in a minimal studio setting, the images take on a curiously 'portrait-like'appearance, usually distinct to humans. Essays by author and creative director Lewis Blackwell and the foreword by Flach, explore the idiosyncrasies of particular creatures as well as pertinent ethical, political, cultural and scientific issues surrounding the relationships between human and non-human animals.

Dogs Gods, 2010

Flach's second book is a study of canines. It focuses on the diversity of dog breeds, revealing how their forms and capabilities provide a mirror to human development and identity over millions of years. Ahead of publication, The Economist's Intelligent Life magazine ran a 12-page feature,[17] noting how the images were in part a visual exploration of research into sensation and perception, such as the work of neuroscientist Morton L. Kringelbach. The article said "Flach's bestiary, apparently so self-contained and stylised, often reveals unexpected layers of meaning.”[17]

Equus, 2008

Equus,[18] is a comprehensive photographic study of equus: “the family of animals: that goes from Ass to Zebra, but is mostly Horses”[19] The studies in Equus fall into three categories; the first contains a range of close-up studio portraits, the second explores how location has played a part in shaping the horse, and the third examines the myriad ways humanity has shaped the horse.


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2015 Retina, Scottish International Photography Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland [20]

2014 More Than Human, International Tashkent Photo Biennial, National Gallery of Art, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

2014 Equus, L'Abbaye de L'Epau, Normandy, France [21]

2014 More Than Human, Kyotographie International Photography Festival, Shima Gallery, Kyoto Japan [22]

2013 More Than Human, 'Inauguration', Opiom Gallery, France [23]

2012 More Than Human II, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London, England [24]

2011 More Than Human, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London, England [24]

2011 Equus, 11th Pingyao International Photography Festival, China [25]

2011 Equus II, Chevaux du Monde festival, a Galerie des Colonnes du Palais Impérial de Compiègne, France [26]

2011 Dogs Gods, Lucy Bell Fine Arts, St Leonards, England [27]

2011 Dogs Gods, Dubinsky Fine Arts, Zurich, Switzerland [28]

2011 Dogs Gods, Bailly Contemporain, Paris, France [29]

2011 Dogs Gods, Fotoloft Gallery, Moscow, Russia [30]

2010 Dogs Gods, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London, England [31]

2010 Equus II, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Kentucky, USA

2009 Equus II, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London, England[32]

2009 Equus II, Independent Photographers Gallery, Battle, England [33]

2009 Equus, Camora dos Azuis, Lisbon, Portugal [34]

2008 Equus II, Crane Kalman, Brighton, England [35]

2006 Equus, Crane Kalman, Brighton, England [36]

2001 Thinking with Animals, Max Planck Institute, Berlin, Germany

2000 Thinking with Animals, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan

Selected Group Exhibitions

2015 Woof! L'exposition qui a du chien, Calais, France [37]

2013 The British Museum, Ice Age Art, England[38]

2013 The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, curated by Mark Leckey, Hayward Touring exhibition, Nottingham Contemporary, England[39]

2013 De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, England[40]

2011 Edinburgh Science Festival, Into the Deep, Scotland

2011 Fine Form: The Horse in Art, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum[41]

2010 Le Bestiaire imaginaire, Palais Lumière, Evian, France[42]

2009 Le Bestiaire imaginaire, Baudoin lebon, Paris, France

2002 Design and Artists Copyright Society Exhibition CISAC World Congress Queen Exhibition II Congress Centre, Westminster, London UK

2002 Houston Museum of Natural Science, Texas, USA

Selected Awards

Honorary Fellowship, The Royal Photographic Society (HonFRPS), UK, 2013[43]

Honorary Doctorate, Norwich University of the Arts, UK, 2013 [44]

Fellow, British Institute of Professional Photography (FBIPP), UK, 2013[45]

Best in Book, Creative Review Photography Annual, UK, (2010,[46] 2012,[47] 2013,[48] and 2014)[49]

Grand Prize Winner, Best Foreign Photographer Exhibition of Ping Yao International Photography Festival, China, 2011

Prix Pictet Nomination, Switzerland, 2010

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, 54th Advertising Festival, GOLD, France, 2007[50]

International Photography Awards, Lucie (IPA). Fine Art Photographer of the Year, USA 2006[51]

Association of Photographers Awards (AOP) Gold & Silver, England, 2003[52]

D&AD Silver Award, For The Most Outstanding Photography for Design (Royal Mail), England, 2001[53]

Selected Talks

2015 Falmouth University Symposium [54]

2015 PPA Imaging USA, Nashville 2015 [55]

2014 Masterclass, National Gallery of Art, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

2014 BIOCOMM 2014: Ann Shiras Pioneer Lecturer, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA

2013 – 2014 Royal Photographic Society Lecture Tour (RPS), UK[56]

2012 PhotoVoice Lecture Series, UK [57]

2011 Ping Yao International Photography Festival, China

2008 Moscow Academy of Photography, Russia [58]

2004 Cambridge University, Corpus Christi College, UK


  1. Geoff Harris, "Animal Photographer Tim Flach", Digital Camera, May 2008, page 111
  2. Simon Willis, "Body Language", The Economist, Intelligent Life, May/June 2012, http://moreintelligentlife.com/content/arts/simon-willis/body-language
  3. Tim Flach, Evolution, produced and originated by Stern Fotografie; published worldwide by teNeues, ISBN 978-3-652-00158-8 (UK); 2013.
  4. Tim Flach, Equus, ISBN 0-8109-7142-9, produced and originated by PQ Blackwell; published in the US, UK and South Africa by Abrams, in Australia and New Zealand by Hachette Livre, in France by La Martiniere, in Germany by Knesebeck, in Italy by Contrasto; 2008, and in China by China Photographic Publishing House, ISBN 978-7-80236-614-5; 2011..
  5. Tim Flach, Dogs Gods, ISBN 978-0-8109-9653-3, produced and originated by PQ Blackwell; published in the US and UK by Abrams, in Australia and New Zealand by Hachette Livre, in France by La Martiniere, in Germany by Knesebeck, in South Africa by Wild Dog; 2010 and in China by China Photographic Publishing House, ISBN 978-7-80236-613-8; 2011..
  6. Tim Flach, More Than Human, produced and originated by PQ Blackwell; published in the US and UK by Abrams, ISBN 978-1-4197-0667-7 (UK), ISBN 978-1-4197-0552-6 (US), in Germany by Knesebeck, ISBN 978-3-86873-517-8 and in Australia and New Zealand by Hachette Livre, ISBN 978-0-73362-973-0; 2012.
  7. Tim Flach. Crane Kalman Gallery, Brighton. Accessed August 2013.
  8. Time Well Spent', Sunday Times, http://myphoto.nationaltrust.org.uk/professionals
  9. 1 2 3 God's Fondness A reflection and a conversation: the photographer Tim Flach as introduced by the writer Lewis Blackwell, 125 Magazine, issue 21, Life
  10. Flach, Tim (2012). More Than Human. Abrams. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-4197-0667-7.
  11. Cheryce Kramer, Thinking With Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism, ISBN 0-231-13038-4, edited by Lorraine Daston and Gregg Mitman, Columbia University Press, New York, 2005.
  12. "Living Sculptures", Victor by Hasselblad, February 2008, page 53.
  13. David Corfield, "All Creatures Great and Small", Practical Photography, page 84.
  14. Flach, Tim (2013). Evolution. Introduction: Stern / teNeues. ISBN 978-3-652-00158-8.
  15. Flach, Tim (2013). Evolution. Essay: Stern / teNeues. ISBN 978-3-652-00158-8.
  16. Tim Flach, More Than Human, produced and originated by PQ Blackwell; published in the US and UK by Abrams, ISBN 978-1-4197-0667-7 (UK), ISBN 978-1-4197-0552-6 (US), in Germany by Knesebeck, ISBN 978-3-86873-517-8 and in Australia and New Zealand by Hachette Livre, ISBN 978-0-73362-973-0; 2012.
  17. 1 2 The Economist, Intelligent Life, June 2010 http://moreintelligentlife.com/gallery/dogs-0
  18. Tim Flach, Equus, ISBN 0-8109-7142-9, produced and originated by PQ Blackwell; published in the US, UK and South Africa by Abrams, in Australia and New Zealand by Hachette Livre, in France by La Martiniere, in Germany by Knesebeck, in Italy by Contrasto; 2008.
  19. Tim Flach, Equus, page 17.
  20. http://www.retinafestival.com
  21. http://www.sarthe.com/actualites_detail.aspx?card=43572
  22. http://www.kyotographie.jp/artists/170.html
  23. http://www.opiomgallery.com/
  24. 1 2 http://www.osbornesamuel.com/exhibitions-gallery.asp?id=1494
  25. http://www.pip919.com/
  26. http://www.musee-chateau-compiegne.fr/documents/Com_festival_chevaux_monde.pdf
  27. http://www.lucy-bell.com/2012/01/tim-flach/
  28. http://www.dubinsky.com/dubinsky_exhibitions_past.php?t=tim+flach&read_article=262
  29. http://www.dubinsky.com/dubinsky_exhibitions.php?t=Tim+Flach+&read_category=74
  30. http://www.fotoloft.ru/author.aspx?a=87899de4-8a0f-4197-bf39-063afee73ee6
  31. http://www.osbornesamuel.com/exhibitions-gallery.asp?id=1376
  32. http://www.osbornesamuel.com/exhibitions-gallery.asp?id=1243
  33. http://www.artrabbit.com/all/events/event/10143/tim_flach_equus_ii
  34. http://www.camaradosazuis.com/xms/files/PRESS_RELEASE/PRESS_RELEASE_CA_TIM_FLACH_Ing.pdf_.pdf
  35. http://www.cranekalmanbrighton.com/exhibitions/equus2/index.html
  36. http://www.cranekalmanbrighton.com/exhibitions/equus/index.html
  37. http://www.calais.fr/WOOF-L-exposition-qui-a-du-chien
  38. http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/past_exhibitions/2013/ice_age_art/about_the_exhibition.aspx
  39. http://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/art/universal-addressability-dumb-things
  40. http://www.dlwp.com/event/mark-leckey
  41. http://www.cheltenhammuseum.org.uk/Default.aspx?page=212
  42. http://www.ville-evian.fr/france/DT1212048266/page/Expositions-antierieures.html
  43. http://www.rps.org/annual-awards/annual-awards-2013
  44. http://www.nua.ac.uk/about/honorarydoctorates/
  45. http://www.professionalphotographer.co.uk/News-and-Reviews/2013/3/Tim-Flach-given-BIPP-Fellowship
  46. http://www.creativereview.co.uk/back-issues/creative-review/2010/photography-annual-2010/best-in-book
  47. http://www.creativereview.co.uk/back-issues/creative-review/2012/the-photography-annual-2012/best-in-book
  48. http://www.creativereview.co.uk/back-issues/creative-review/2013/december/feature-photography-annual-2013
  49. http://www.creativereview.co.uk/back-issues/creative-review/2014/december/best-in-book-fat-cats
  50. Daryl Lang (21 June 2007). "Saatchi NY Wins Big at Cannes Lions Festival". Pdnonline.com. http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/esearch/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003602160. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  51. "Lucie Photography Awards". Lucieawards.com. http://lucieawards.com/LuciePast/06/index.html. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  52. "AOP Awards – 20th Photographers Awards". Awards.the-aop.org. http://awards.the-aop.org/20th_Photographers_Awards. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  53. D&AD Annual 2001, pages 164–165.
  54. http://www.falmouth.ac.uk/content/students-meet-photography-idols#Photoswipe1439825777436
  55. http://www.ppa.com/files/pdfs/tipsclips_iusa15_1114.pdf
  56. http://www.rps.org/events/view/3223
  57. http://www.photovoice.org/events/article/photovoice-lecture-series-tim-flach-kings-place-nov-5th
  58. http://www.photoacademy.ru/
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