Simon Larbalestier (born 1962 in Pembrokeshire, UK) is a photographer who has been based in Bangkok, Thailand since 2001 and is currently based in England.
Larbalestier is noted for his collaborative work with Vaughan Oliver and the design studios 23 Envelope and v23 providing the photography used on album artwork for bands such as Pixies, Red House Painters, Heidi Berry and other artists on the 4AD label. Much of the pair’s collaborative work features in the book Vaughan Oliver: Visceral Pleasures. His work includes images on many magazine covers for New Scientist and book covers for publishers Random House and Secker & Warburg featuring his distinctive collage style that he first developed at college.
Graduating with a Masters of Art from the Royal College of Art, London in 1987, Larbalestier has described his final degree show as a turning point with some of the images becoming album artwork for the first Pixies EP Come On Pilgrim. Larbalestier went on to shoot images for all the Pixies albums notably Surfer Rosa, Doolittle and Bossanova providing a distinctive and influential imagery for the band. Larbalestier has had many solo and group exhibitions in Britain, Europe, Scandinavia and USA. His work during the 1990s and 2000s has moved through several landscape series in Italy, USA and Australia to several recent documentary series in Thailand, Cambodia and other areas of South East Asia. This later work was screened at the Angkor Photography Festival in Siem Reap in November 2007 and in March 2008 at The Foto Freo Festival in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Larbalestier’s work is predominantly black and white with subsequent toning in the darkroom. More recently he has been producing digital images working with strong colour. He retains an interest in decayed textures and unusual juxtapositions of subject matter as well as “empty spaces, desolation and loneliness”. His recent documentary series shot in Angkor Wat and Siem Reap deals strongly with the human condition through portraits and atmospheric images of vacant rooms and landscapes and details of possessions revealing how people live.
Larbalestier was also invited to participate in the second annual Twenty 120 festival 2008 ( www.twenty120.com )which had a screening of a film short “Khok Tamol: New Beginning” New York in June at Promax/BDA in New York as well as a screening in Los Angeles in July at Cinespace. Keeping in line with the spirit of Twenty120, a select group of Twenty directors were invited to create films, interpreting the theme Truth V Deception as they choose.
19 images from the Between Two Worlds and Attracting to Emptiness series, have been published by On Pedder in their Pedderzine Issue 4 (Hong Kong, October 2008). On Pedder ( www.onpedder.com )has built a reputation as Asia’s foremost source of designer footwear, handbags, fine jewelery and fashion accessories. Pedderzine is On Pedder’s quarterly magazine. Issue 4 explores the themes of Worship, Devotion and Power.
In 2009 Larbalestier and Oliver have collaborated again on a limited edition box set re-issue of Pixies recordings, Minotaur, that includes a 72 page book of new photography and graphics.
April 2010 showcases Larbalestier’ Pixies photographs in an exhibition “Simon Larbalestier Pixies retrospective 1986-2009″ which brings together, for the first time anywhere in the world, two distinct yet complementary bodies of work: His historic studio based photographs that appeared on Pixies record sleeves from the 1980s and 90’s, and new images created in South East Asia in 2008/9 specifically for the lavish Pixies’ box set project, Minotaur. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see a spectacular six ft high version of Larbalestier’s classic Surfer Rosa photograph, also showing some are some extremely precious original polaroids from Larbalestier’s Pixies album cover sessions from his personal collection. These have not been shown in public before. Snap Galleries is situated in the heart of London’s Piccadilly. The show runs 17th April until 29th May 2010.