The Photographers’ Gallery trustees have elected Scott Mead as their new chairman and going through his CV makes me feel shit in comparison. Mead is a fine art photographer in addition to being a philanthropist and investor. In the 1970s he studied with the seminal American photographers William Eggleston, known primarily for pioneering the use of colour in fine art photography, and Emmet Gowin. However, it was only in 2009 when he rediscovered his photographic archives that he returned to the medium. His work has been collected and exhibited internationally, including in a 2010 solo show at Hamiltons Gallery in London, and the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers’ Gallery, said: “Scott [Mead] spends half of his time now taking photographs and putting collections together, and I think that, when you see him working, his commitment to the medium is evident.” She went on to explain that this is a rarity: “it’s extremely difficult these days to find philanthropists who also have such a strong passion and dedication to the art form.”
Before taking on this role, Mead also held the position of non-executive director of the paediatric hospital Great Ormond Street Hospital and was vice-chairman of its redevelopment appeal board. His first photography exhibition at Hamiltons was staged in order to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Children’s Charity, and profits were put towards the creation of a Gene and Cell Therapy Laboratory to aid the diagnosis and treatment of children requiring bone marrow transplants. I don’t know what I have done in my life because these people make money, heal whole populations, put together collections and learn with Eggleston. I am getting to the conclusion that I am a total underachiever. Just a thought.