Born in London in 1971, Bran Symondson is considered to be one of the finest reportage photographers of the 21stCentury. He began his career working alongside renowned photographers such as Gavin Bond, David La Chapelle and Nadav Kander. During this period he joined the UK Special Forces and was immediately called up for a tour in Afghanistan. He documented his life changing experiences under gunfire with a simple Cannon G9 camera, these significant images culminated in his first show “The Best View of Heaven is from Hell”. As the photographs were taken whilst he was a serving soldier with the Special Forces the Ministry of Defence banned this exhibition, however, it was not long until The Sunday Times decided to commission him to go back to Afghanistan and re-shoot the images as a civilian photographer. After being awarded the 2011 Amnesty International Media Award for his photograph “Lost Boys”, Symondson decided to develop the concept of his photographs further and he began work on the sell out show “AKA Peace”.
Bran Symondson’s 2012 exhibition “AKA Peace” is considered to be a pivotal point in his artistic career. After his tour in Afghanistan he established the concept of taking de-commissioned AK47 guns and masterfully embellishing them with dollar bills, iconography & butterflies. He then went on to asked artists such as Damien Hirst, Gavin Turk, Sam Taylor-Wood, Sarah Lucas, Gary Hume, Antony Gormley and the Chapman brothers to reinterpret their own AK-47 assault rifles which were all exhibited in “AKA Peace”. This critically acclaimed show raised in excess of £430,000 in one night.
Symondson’s unique artworks of contemporary AK47 derive from a simple premise: taking something of fear and loathing and turning it into something of beauty and intrigue. Each AK47 has a narrative which is told through the meticulous craftsmanship of adorning the weapon with various objects which then is enhanced with the placement of bespoke handmade bullets containing different commodities which relate to the narrative of each work.
His pieces have been bought and collected internationally from the highly acclaimed artist Jake Chapman through to Elton John and the Prince of Bahrain.
Bran is also known for his philanthropic work not only in heightening the awareness of worldwide issues through his photographs but also raising money for different charities through the donation of his AK47’s at charity art auctions. To date he has raised in excess of £580,000 through his contributions.
Bran’s last show was an amazing collaboration with the world renowned photographer Terry O’Neill. The body of works entitled “Hollywood Re-Loaded” were unveiled in September 2019.
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National Portrait gallery (Portrait awards), London
Best View of Heaven is from Hell, 2011, London
AKA Peace 2012, London
Sunday Times 50 Years of Front Covers, Saatchi Gallery, London
Stations of the Cross (Group Exhibition), 2014, London
Art Wars (Group Exhibition), Saatchi Gallery, London
David Bowie Tribute Exhibition, 2016, London
Texas Exhibition, 2016, USA
House of Fine Art, (Group Exhibition), 2017, London
Maddox Gallery (Group Exhibition), 2018, London
Best of British, (Group Exhibition), Maddox Gallery Los Angeles, 2018, USA
House of Fine Art (Group Exhibition), 2019, Mykonos