My portraits of Professor David Nutt, current director of the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College in London. Photographed for the FT Weekend at his home in Bristol last month.
David published a book back in 2013 called 'Drugs, Without The Hot Air', which in a funny coincidence I was half way through reading at the time I photographed him. I'd also just finished reading Johann Harri's book 'Chasing The Scream' which covers the history of the war on drugs. Both books are fascinating reads, I'd thoroughly recommend them. It's pretty much impossible to come away from reading either book and still believe in the ideas behind most of the world's drugs policy. It's crystal clear that the 'war on drugs' was lost a long time ago and current drugs policy is entirely politically motivated, extremely toxic and causes far more harm than good.
David was wonderfully accommodating and even went as far as to let me photograph him with the Phrenology poster above his head (first portrait). As an academic and scientist, I'm sure David would tell you that Phrenology is nothing but bunk and pseudoscience. Nonetheless he was happy to try out my idea for the sake of a good portrait.
Hanging proudly above the fireplace in David's office was this framed illustration from the magazine 'The Week'. It graced the cover at the time of his sacking over his comments on the dangers of alcohol relative to less harmful but illegal drugs. A small but brilliant bit of humour and defiance from Proff Nutt.