The Dorkinians

The Dorkinians came about as a result of a conversation with a friend of mine who was starting a new business in Dorking and wanted an artwork/photograph for his new offices. Specifically he wanted an image that said something about the community. I had already been thinking for some time about creating a portfolio of portraits of the people of Dorking, so this presented some impetus and an opportunity to start that journey. Between the two of us it appeared that there was a common desire to try to establish what life in Dorking was like, who lived there and who visited the town. There is some debate about the population of the town, dependent largely on borders (and who you talk to) but approximately 20,000 is what was settled on. No doubt there will be people who disagree on this number, but I wanted a figure that I could aim at. I wanted to collect enough portraits that would be a fair, diverse and honest representation of people who either lived, worked, visited, went to school or had some reason to be involved in Dorking. I settled on a montage of 119 portraits. And because a few of the portraits contained groups, within the 119 portraits would be 200 people, and therefore approximately 1% of the population of Dorking.

So, it was then a question of finding people who were willing to sit (or stand) for me. I’ve lived in Dorking for 20 years, and so I know quite a few people in the town. I wanted to try and illustrate the diverse nature of a town that might fairly be considered Middle England, and so I wanted to try and surprise and be surprised by the make up of the community. In the end I photographed a few that I already knew, but I also approached people on the street or asked people if they could think or suggest anyone they thought suitable. In the end I was surprised. I met many people who had lived here as long as I, and found it inconceivable that we had not met before. I photographed some who had lived in the town all their life, I photographed a two day old baby boy, and I photographed a clown who was visiting Dorking for a few days with the circus. I also thought it important to represent the pillars of the community, places where community resides. To this end I approached churches, supermarkets, scout groups and public places and institutions. I should take this opportunity to thank all those who took part in the project, as well as those who helped direct me to many of the people photographed here.

Andrew Shaylor


Photography is more than a job for me, and my passion for the craft is as vibrant now as it was when I started this journey 25 years ago. Whether it is a single image or a series, my aim is to tell a story.

I am known, and commissioned, for my ability to shoot portraits, landscapes, travel and automotive. I have photographed business leaders, environmentalists, rock stars, actors, authors, sportsmen and women, Hells Angels and politicians all around the world.

Before a shoot, I do as much research as I can and seek to make the experience collaborative. I always prepare and go with a plan, but I also remain ready to respond to whatever happens on the day. Key to my approach is connecting with the subject, art department or client on the day.

I have travelled to nearly 70 countries for clients ranging from Jaguar, Volvo, Polestar, Land Rover, De Beers, Ocado and British Airways. My work has been published in Campaign, Shortlist, The Guardian, BA High Life, New York Times, Management Today, The Telegraph, One Life and the London Olympics Official Programme, to name a few. I also have had two photographic books published. Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and Rockin’ (The Rockabilly Scene). I have had my work exhibited in galleries in the UK, North America and Europe.


I work for a variety of clients in a variety of sectors, meeting the challenges that are thrown my way.

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