The story behind Zed Nelson Love Me book – in his own words on his photographic joural:
“I began Love Me when I was in my mid thirties. I’m sure that was no coincidence. Like many of my long-term fascinations, I don’t know exactly when the idea seeded itself. Perhaps it began quite simply, one day, when I looked in the mirror and realised I would not live forever.”
It sounds strange, but I’m sure I am not alone in being surprised by that actual revelation, and that it comes at around that age. The age you realise that the body you inhabit has been loaned to you, that it is not fully yours, not fully under your control. I realised too that the way I perceived myself was increasingly being influenced by others.
It was around that time also that I began to look increasingly into the dark shadows of my own culture. I had begun my life as a photographer trying to make sense of what it is that makes us human, and spent over a decade travelling the world documenting often traumatic events and manifestations of ‘foreign’ cultures with a determined fascination. But even in the farthest, most conflicted corners of the world, I could see the insidious influence of my own culture. Powerful governments playing strategic power-games in developing countries, the arms industry and their weapons, and the legacy of colonialism. My first book Gun Nation was inspired by the frustrations of witnessing that. A growing sense that to document conflict without a true sense of context was at best pointless, and at worst counter-productive. Perhaps Love Me is not so different. Again I am fascinated and appalled by the commercially driven export of ideals. But Love Me is also a response to the insidious forces that exploit and prey on the weakness and insecurities that are perhaps within us all.
My gaze has became more inward looking, more personal, more aware that I am not simply an observer. My work has become, in essence, more about ‘us’, and less about ‘them’.
Zed Nelson Love Me is published as a monograph and is available in bookshops now. (Published by Contrasto, distributed by Thames & Hudson).