Watson is one of the world’s most successful and prolific photographers since he began his career in 1970, blending art, fashion and commercial photography. His diversity and body of work include portraits of Alfred Hitchcock and Steve Jobs, beauty shots of Kate Moss, to Las Vegas landscapes and still-life photographs of King Tutankhamen artifacts, featured in galleries and museums around the globe.
Photo District News named Watson one of the 20 most influential photographers of all time, along with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, among others. Watson has won numerous honors, including a Lucie Award, a Grammy Award, three Andys, a Der Steiger Award, a Hasselblad Masters Award; and the Centenary Medal, a lifetime achievement award from the Royal Photographic Society. Queen Elizabeth II awarded the Scotsman an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in June 2015 for his lifetime contribution to the art of photography.
Over the years, Watson’s photographs have appeared on more than 100 covers of Vogue worldwide and been featured in countless other publications, from Rolling Stone to Time to Harper’s Bazaar. Watson also has created the photography for hundreds of ad campaigns for major companies, such as Prada, the Gap, Levi’s, Revlon and Chanel. He also took the photography for the 2019 Pirelli Calendar, and has shot dozens of Hollywood movie posters, such as Kill Bill and Memoirs of a Geisha.
Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, Watson studied graphic design at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, and film and television at the Royal College of Art in London. Though blind in one eye since birth, he studied photography as part of his curriculum.
Watson’s visual language follows his own distinctive rules and concepts of quality, resulting in a brilliance, urgency, grandeur in his work. His way of lighting subjects creates a nearly meditative atmosphere in the photographs. This has made Watson one of the world’s most sought-after photographers.