Zed Nelson is a London-based documentary photographer and filmmaker, known for long-term projects that explore contemporary society. He has published three books, Gun Nation, Love Me and A Portrait of Hackney, and been recognised by numerous photography awards, including the Visa d’Or (France), First Prize in the World Press Photo Competition (Netherlands), and the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award (USA).
Nelson’s work has been published and exhibited worldwide, with solo shows in London, Stockholm and New York. His work has been exhibited at the Tate Britain, the ICA and the National Portrait Gallery, and is included in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Nelson’s seminal first book, Gun Nation – a disquieting reflection on America’s deadly love affair with the gun - explored the paradox of how America’s most potent symbol of freedom is also one of its greatest killers. The project is regarded by many as the definitive body of work on the subject.
Nelson’s second book and exhibition project, Love Me (2009), reflects on the cultural and commercial forces that drive a global obsession with youth and beauty. The project spanned five years with photography in 18 countries, exploring how an increasingly narrow Western beauty ideal is exported around the world like a crude universal brand.
Nelson’s third book, A Portrait of Hackney (2014), is a reflection on the area of London that Nelson grew up in, observed at a time of rapid change and gentrification. Inspired by this work, Nelson went on to make a critically acclaimed feature-length documentary film, The Street (2019), focusing on one East London street over a four-year period.


Nelson's latest work, The Anthropocene Illusion (2024) will be published this year.



First Prize, the Cortona Award (Italy). 2023

Finalist, W. Eugene Smith Grant (USA).

Awarded the CAP Prize - The Contemporary African Photography Prize.

First Prize, Pictures of the Year International Competition (USA).

First Prize, CFD Documentary Prize (Spain).

First Prize, Pictures of the Year International Competition (USA).

First Prize, Book Award, International Photography Awards (USA).


First prize, Alfred Eisenstaedt Award (USA). 1999

First Prize, Nikon Award (UK).

First Prize, World Press Photo, World Press Foundation (Netherlands).

Visa d'Or, International Festival of Photojournalism (France).






Nominated for the 2023 Prix Pictet Photography Prize. 2023

Shortlisted for the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant. 2021

Shortlisted for the Lange-Taylor Prize. 2014

Nominated for the 2012 Prix Pictet Photography Prize. 2012

Nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. 2011

Shortlisted for the Leica European Publishers Award for Photography. 2008

Nominated for the Citigroup Private Bank Photography Prize.

Nominated for the St. James Group Photography Prize. 2002