Brian Griffin was born in Lye, Worcestershire. He studied engineering for three years before enrolling as a student of photography at Manchester Polytechnic. He graduated in 1972 and worked as a freelance press photographer, specialising in portraits. All the works in the British Council Collection were made to commission and were taken in more or less constrained circumstances: the photographer being required to work fast, in the subject’s working environment, to produce a memorable image of someone encountered for the first time, in direct contrast to the painstaking observations of a painter. Griffin described the work resulting from these encounters as ‘self-portraits’, so acknowledging the limits of any claim to a psychological appraisal of the subject.