A Blueprint for Life: Designers photographed by Steve Speller

Martin John Lambie-Nairn
by Steve Speller
28 May 2004
NPG x126779

Past touring exhibition archive


This exhibition showcases 21 portraits by photographer Steve Speller of people who have changed the way we think about everyday design, from the UK's road signage system by Margaret Calvert to the familiar Hovis bread wrapper by Garrick Hamm. The photographs are often witty and always humanistic, a celebration of the best design around. Including the designers of the Yellow Pages and the architects responsible for the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, A Blueprint for Life builds up a fascinating profile of the people who literally shape our world.

Steve Speller's colour portraits, all taken using a digital camera, show the designers alongside their work: products, graphic design and buildings that were selected because they have all in different ways improved the quality of life.

Steve Speller took his first portrait of a designer for Blueprint magazine in 1986. During the Eighties and Nineties his approach to photographing designers was important in defining the identity of the magazine, which in its early days always had a designer staring from its striking covers. This exhibition gives the opportunity to develop the genre in a way that is appropriate for the 2000s.

Exhibition organised by the National Portrait Gallery

Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead
19 January - 9 March 2008

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