Giles Duley Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Giles Duley        

Documentary Photographer & Photojournalist

For ten years, Giles Duley worked as an editorial fashion and music photographer, working for such publications as GQ, Vogue, Esquire, Arena and Select Magazine. He photographed the likes of Kings of Leon, Oasis, Mariah Carey, The Black Crowes, Lenny Kravitz and Christian Bale. His portrait of Marilyn Manson was voted by Q Magazine as one of the “Greatest Rock Photographs Of All Time.”

However, in 2000, after having become increasingly disillusioned with celebrity culture and feeling unfulfilled, Duley famously “threw” his cameras from the window of a hotel and walked away from the industry. He left London and moved to Hastings where he searched to redefine himself, setting himself many personal challenges including completing the infamous Marathon des Sables (the world’s “hardest race”). Eventually, Duley found work as a full-time carer for Nick, a young man with profound autism. Their meeting was the start of a long and continuing friendship and, ironically, marked the beginning of Duley’s return to photography. Duley discovered that through documenting Nick’s life, he was able to obtain the appropriate support and care for him, and to give him a voice that had previously been unheard. Duley therefore decided to restart his photographic career, using his camera to document the lesser-known stories of human suffering and resilience.

In the following decade, Duley continued to work as a carer to fund trips to countries including Angola, Ukraine, South Sudan and Bangladesh. He photographed the work of non-government organisations (NGO) such as the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Emergency, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and documented the lives and stories of people whom he describes as “not victims but victims of circumstance.” In 2010, Duley was nominated for an Amnesty International Media Award and he was a winner at the Prix de Paris in both 2010 and 2012.

In 2011, the opportunity arose for Duley to document two sides of the conflict in Afghanistan; to tell the stories of civilians injured in the fighting but also to record the experiences of men serving with the US 101st Airborne division. Duley was to “become the story” after he stepped on an Improved Explosive Device (IED) whilst on patrol. He never lost consciousness, aware that both his legs and his left-arm had been immediately blown away. As he recalls, “I could see bits of my legs and boxer shorts in the tree above and so I knew it didn’t look good.”

Duley spent the following year in and out of hospital, undergoing over 30 operations and spending 42 days in intensive care. On numerous occasions it was thought he would not survive. However, with his characteristic grit and determination, Duley did survive and resumed his photographic work less than 18 months later. His first assignment was a self-portrait which was selected for the 2012 Taylor Wessing Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. He has also had two exhibitions at the KK Gallery in London. In October 2012, Duley went back to Afghanistan to “finish the story I started.” His return was the subject of a documentary, Walking Wounded: Return to the Frontline, which has since won the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) Award for Best International Current Affairs Documentary and the Foreign Press Association (FPA) Award for TV Documentary Story of the Year.

Duley has become a popular speaker, delivering talks about his experiences and those of the people he has photographed to a range of audiences. He has spoken at national and international events, including the TEDx (London), 5x15 (London and Brighton), Chicago Ideas Week, Bellinzola Photofestival (Switzerland), Frontline Club (London), Borris House Festival (Ireland), It’s Nice That (London), Ottobock Conference (Birmingham), Hasselblad Conference (London) and Fabrica (Italy). His TEDx talk was voted one of the top ten TED talks of 2012 and he was recently invited as a keynote speaker at the Houses of Parliament.

Speech Topics

“Inspirational,” “life-changing” and “humbling” are three adjectives commonly used to describe Duley’s talks. It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that he is in constant demand, both nationally and internationally, and that his TEDx talk was voted as one of the top ten overall TED talks of 2012.

Duley talks with passion, humor and candor about his work as an award-winning documentary and humanitarian photographer, and of his own remarkable quest to rebuild his life and career after becoming a triple amputee whilst working in Afghanistan in 2011. Drawing on his own courageous journey and the stories of those he has photographed, Duley delivers a message of hope, and reminds us that with hard-work, determination and a positive attitude, anything is possible. He also inspires change through showing how each and every one of us can use our talents, skills and experience to make positive contributions to the lives of others and to the world. A masterful story-teller, Duley engages and captivates, providing any event with an unforgettable experience.

Duley has spoken at numerous national and international events, including TEDx (London), 5x15 (London and Brighton), Chicago Ideas Week (USA), Bellinzola Photofestival (Switzerland), Frontline Club (London), Borris House Festival (Ireland), It’s Nice That (London), Ottobock Conference (Birmingham), Hasselblad Conference (London) and Fabrica (Italy). His TEDx talk was voted one of the top ten TED talks of 2012 and he was recently invited as a key-note speaker at the Houses of Parliament. He has also been featured on Radio 4’s Today Show, BBC’s HARDtalk and The One Show and Channel 4 News.

Duley tailors his talks to his audience and is able to speak with clients from a range of ages, backgrounds and professions. Duley speaks in English but is comfortable working with interpreters having given talks in Switzerland and Italy. Duley enjoys using photographs in his talks and has sometimes included clips from the documentary in which he was featured, "Walking Wounded: Return To The Frontline." However, he is also comfortable to talk without the use of media. Previous talks have covered the following topics:

• Overcoming adversity

• Inspiring change

• Becoming the story


Photographer and triple-amputee Giles Duley meets Syria refugees ...

Photographer Giles Duley knows life after limb-loss is hard, but he felt lucky meeting refugees who are both displaced, and trapped.

After Boston bombings, photographer Giles Duley shares insight on ...

London photographer Giles Duley has a rare understanding of the journey on which many of the Boston victims have embarked.

BBC News - Giles Duley: 'I stepped on an IED and thought I'd die'

Jan 7, 2014 ... Photographer Giles Duley recalls the harrowing moment when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while working Afghanistan.

Giles Duley talk - RPS

Feb 13, 2014 ... Humanitarian photographer Giles Duley HonFRPS will be visiting Bath in February to discuss his work and to support the work of Emergency ...

'Made in Loughborough Junction' – award-winning photographer ...

Jan 15, 2014 ... The Loughborough Junction Action Group (LJAG) has appointed award-winning photographer Giles Duley to work with young people in the ...

Triple-Amputee Photographer Giles Duley Calls Injury a 'Blessing ...

Photographer Giles Duley calls the bomb that cost him both legs and an arm a ' blessing.'

United Nations News Centre - Feature: From Lesvos to Berlin – a ...

Renowned photographer Giles Duley, who barely survived a 2011 explosion in Afghanistan in which he lost both legs and part of his left arm, now reports for the  ...

Annenberg Space For Photography Announces Upcoming IRIS ...

Giles Duley worked as a successful fashion and music photographer for ten years. In 2000, he began personally funding trips to document the work of NGOs and ...

Related Speakers View all

More like Giles