Seamus Murphy is a documentary photographer and filmmaker. Regardless of medium or subject, he strives in his work for intimacy and a poetic realism. As a photographer he has won seven World Press Photo awards, two for portraits, for his work in Afghanistan, Gaza, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Peru, UK and Ireland. He undertakes long-term documentary projects and has been published and exhibited widely. He is in the collections of The Getty Museum, Imperial War Museum and FRAC, Auvergne, France.
He is the author of four books, A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan (Saqi Books. 2008) Based on 12 trips to the country between 1994 and 2007, it is a chronicle of Afghanistan’s recent history.
I Am The Beggar of the World (Farrar Straus Giroux. 2014) is a rare glimpse into the lives of Afghan women through their own anonymous Landay poetry.
He has collaborated with musician/poet PJ Harvey on projects Let England Shake and The Hope Six Demolition Project. Murphy and Harvey together published The Hollow of the Hand (Bloomsbury. 2015) a book of his photography and Harvey’s poetry. An exhibition and live presentation of The Hollow of the Hand took place at the Royal Festival Hall, London in 2015 and at Les Recontres d’Arles in France in 2016.
(Allen Lane. 2016) is a personal and immediate photographic journey around his native Ireland in advance of the centenary of its revolution.
Under a Prisoners Moon
looks at the curious relationship between Russia and America, and questions the myth of opposites they have created. It will be published in 2023
As a filmmaker, Murphy shot and directed his feature debut A Dog Called Money (2019) based on a collaborative art project he and PJ Harvey worked on over a number of years. Discovering human history through the lives of people they meet in Kosovo, Afghanistan and the US, it is an examination and record of the creative process. It premiered at the Berlinale in 2019 before going on cinema release.
His second feature documentary The Peculiar Sensation of Being Pat Ingoldsby (2022), which Murphy also shot and directed, is about the life, work and imagination of maverick Irish poet, Pat Ingoldsby. It went on cinema release in November 2022.
He won the Liberty in Media Prize, and was nominated for an Emmy for A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan, his film based around his photographic work in Afghanistan.
He has made films for Channel 4(UK), The New Yorker, MSF, UNICEF.
For PJ Harvey, he made 12 Short Films for PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake, a cycle of 12 films, one for each track on her Mercury Prize-winning album.
His music films for Harvey’s The Hope Six Demolition Project, won a Q Award for Best Music Film in October 2016.
Patti Smith listed his music film The Words that Maketh Murder, as one of her Top 10 artworks, saying “... this unheralded piece is a wisp of humanity celebrating the small things.”