Caroline Irby is a British photographer based in London. Her focus is on social documentary, portraiture, and advertising photography, and her work has been published and exhibited worldwide.After graduating in Philosophy and French from Edinburgh University, for several years Caroline worked mainly in developing countries: on editorial assignments, NGO commissions, and  personal projects, motivated by a faith in photography’s capacity to connect the viewer to the subject; to link worlds that often appear disconnected.

Increasingly the subjects Caroline chooses are closer to home.  Her particular areas of interest are immigration and children.  She has always written as well as photographed, starting at 17 with articles in the Independent and Evening Standard.  During 2009 Caroline had a weekly photograph and interview column, Seen and Heard, in the Guardian Weekend Magazine, and during 2011-2012 she had a column in Mainichi newspaper, Japan: a photograph and story about a different child each week, who she has met through her work and travels.

In 2010, Caroline’s first book, A Child from Everywhere, was published by Black Dog Publishing.  For this project, she photographed and interviewed children from 185 different countries, all now living in the UK. From 2014-15, Caroline was a contributing editor to Newsweek Magazine.

Her work has been shown at venues including the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, Royal Festival Hall, Somerset House, the Edinburgh G8 summit, The World Children’s Art Museum, Japan, and the National Parliament, Uganda.

Caroline’s second book, ‘Someone else’s mother’, was published by Schilt in 2020 and is available in most bookshops.  As a child, Caroline was looked after by a Filipina woman called Juning, who lived with Caroline’s family in London for 22 years, while her own four children grew up on a small island in the Philippines, 7,000 miles away.  In ‘Someone Else’s Mother’, Caroline tells Juning’s story and brings into focus the lives of the children she left, carefully interweaving these stories with her own recollections of a childhood spent with their mother.  The book has received very positive reviews and an exhibition will follow once life opens up again post-Covid.

‘Irby has managed successfully to tread the line between voyeuristic intrusion and misplaced sentimentality… Her work contains great tension and emotional charge.’  The Times

Solo Exhibitions

Claiming a New Place on Earth, Protein Studios, London, UK, 2017
Freedom is not Easy, The Proud Archivist, London, UK, 2016
Like Riding a Bike, Westbank Gallery, London, UK, 2011
Words and Pictures – What we Learn from Children, Arts Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan, 2011
Words and Pictures – What we Learn from Children, World Children’s Art Museum, Okazaki, Japan, 2010
A Child from Everywhere, V&A Museum of Childhood, London, UK, 2010
A Child from Everywhere, Bubble – Islington, London, UK, 2010
Cloudesley Children at Home, Richard Cloudesley School, London, UK, 2009
Is Your Neighbour Killing You?, National Parliament, Kampala, Uganda, 2007
Walk with Joyce, The Spitz Gallery, London, UK, 2005
Walk with Joyce, G8 summit, Edinburgh, UK, 2005
Firefly, Scottish Arts Centre, Edinburgh, UK, 2001

Group Exhibitions

The Syngenta Photography Award, Somerset House, London, UK, 2013
Commonwealth Photographic Awards, touring exhibition, various countries, 2007
The World Can’t Wait, Southbank, London, UK, 2007
Document, SS Robin Gallery, London, UK, 2006
Photovoice Auction, Reuters, London, UK, 2005
MSF Darfur Fundraising Exhibition, 54 The Gallery, London, UK, 2004
Click: A Celebration of Sight, The Oxo Gallery, London, UK, 2004
Modern Day Slavery, UNHCR, Geneva, Switzerland, 2004
BBC Music Photography Award, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK, 2002

Solo book projects

Somone else’s mother, Schilt Publishing, 2020

A Child from Everywhere, Black Dog Publishing, 2008

Group book projects

UK at Home, Against All Odds Productions, 2008
Our World of Water, Frances Lincoln Press, 2008

Editorial clients

Corriere dela Serra, Italy
De Standaard, Belgium


Financial Times Magazine
Foto 8
Globe and Mail, Canada
Guardian Weekend Magazine
Mainichi, Japan
Marie Claire
Nouvel Observateur, France
Observer Food Monthly
Observer Magazine

Positive News
Prospect Magazine
Psychologies Magazine
Sunday Herald Magazine
Sunday Times Magazine
Telegraph Magazine

Time Out

Commercial clients

Aberdeen Asset Management
British Telecom
Canary Wharf
Channel 4
Dorling Kindersley
Eleven Film
Enjoy Education
Fostering Network
Fred Olsen
Greenberry Kids
Harley Street Clinic
Healthcare Locums

Iris Fashion
Hipp Organic Baby Milk
JP Morgan

Kensington Preparatory School

Macmillan Publishing
Man Group
Mayer Brown
National Trust
Nights by Wilder
Olivier London
Packington Moor
Raiz Atelier
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Their Nibs
Tigerlily Films
Urban Merino
Wild and Gorgeous
World Circuit Records

NGO clients

British Heart Foundation
Cancer Research UK
CARE International
Farm Africa
Plan International
Save the Children
Sight Savers International
Water Aid
World Wildlife Fund