Richard Ansett

Richard Ansett is a fine art, social documentary, portrait photographer based in London, whose adoption, sexuality and 20 years as a Samaritans volunteer have shaped a distinctive practice spanning over 30 years. Richard is a passionate and vocal advocate of the medium as an art form. A survivor, he talks and writes candidly about the realities of a life in photography. Whilst continuing to produce new personal work, his practice is increasingly focused on enabling others to develop a relationship to photography so they can tell their own stories.

His portrait of an autistic boy in a flower garden in the Donbas region of Ukraine from the series Boys in a City Park won the overall prize for photography at the Arte Laguna Prize 2013 and his project Mother and Child, Donbas, Ukraine 2011 exhibited at UNICEF “What is Your Name?”, Arsenal, Kiev 2016 as a metaphor for the trauma of enforced internal dislocation and migration due to conflict and exhibited in the British Parliament as part of the exhibition 1001 Critical Days.

His portrait of Danel, 9 from series Children of Grenfell was selected as the People’s Choice at the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2018 and his images have been selected 13 times for the National Portrait Gallery, London portrait prize exhibition.

Richard has a successful commercial practice in parallel to his extensive personal work. The portrait ‘BIRTH – A Portrait of Grayson Perry’ was awarded first prize at the Sony World Photography Awards 2019 and the previously unpublished archive of his 10 year relationship with the artist ‘MUSE- A Portrait of Grayson Perry’ was published by ACC Art Books in 2023 to critical acclaim.

Many of his portraits have been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery . The  portrait of the film director David Lynch was acquired by the Smithsonian and his portrait of film director David Cronenberg and Professor Margaret MacMillan acquired by the National Canadian Library and Archives. The portrait of Dame Hilary Mantel was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 2023 on the event of her death and he was the only man whose work and testimony were included in ‘Reframing Narratives Women in Portraiture’.


“An act of genius…He is the skeleton from which all the other meats hangs.” Boris Mikhailov

“A deep curiosity and a need to gain access and intimacy with others”. – Laura Geiser, Buzzfeed

“An extraordinary talent and capacity to convey his lived experience through photography.” – Clair Rees, curator

“There is a very subtle line between documentation and creating a new mythology.” – Asia Bazdyrieva, ART Ukraine

“It’s like art.” – Sir Grayson Perry