Until he was hit over the head with the idea, Campbell Addy hadn’t considered a career in photography. “I was in detention at school, sorting out a library, and Nick Knight, Norman Parkinson, and Irving Penn books fell on me. Maybe it was me from the future knocking it over.” That Isaac Newton moment would end up changing his path, leading him to pursue the arts and a place in the fashion industry, where Addy is now at the forefront of a wave of creative change-makers pushing for more diversity.
Upon graduating from Central Saint Martins he was “the most unemployable photographer,” Addy says, so he created his own publication, Niijournal, delivering the sort of representation he wanted to see in shoots with friends and peers; and also Nii Agency, through which he signed up eclectic faces for casting and modeling. “I don’t think my photography was strong enough yet to just be a photographer,” he says. “But when [the industry] saw Niijournal, then saw the agency, and that I was taking pictures, they were like, ‘Oh, this person. He’s hungry. He has ideas.’”
Since then, the 29-year-old has shot for leading titles (lending his soft, sensitive perspective to figures including Kendall Jenner, FKA Twigs, and Tyler, the Creator); made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2021; and was selected by Edward Enninful to shoot his Time magazine cover. But he still struggles to process his success. “It’s weird, I shot for Vogue… It’s fab, but it’s also, like, little old me in Croydon? I remember in my old A-level work, I’ve got fake Vogue articles.”