Polly Borland was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. She moved to the UK in 1989, and by this time she was already established as a leading portrait photographer, particularly with her work for Australian Vogue. Since then, she has earned her reputation by specialising in stylised portraiture and offbeat reportage.
Borland has worked for newspaper supplements including the Independent on Sunday Review and the Daily & Sunday Telegraph Magazines as well as Vogue, Elle, Arena and Dazed & Confused in the UK and The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Details in the US.
Polly Borland’s work has exhibited in both Australia and the UK and in 1994 she won the prestigious John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award and in 1999 she took part in a group exhibition entitled Glossy: Faces Magazines Now at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra that highlighted the work of six leading internationally renowned Australian editorial photographers.
Her first book, The Babies, is a photographic study of adult babies or infantilists, and was published in 2001 with an accompanying essay by Susan Sontag. In that same year she was one of eight photographers chosen to photograph the Queen for her Golden Jubilee. In 2000 and 2001 Borland completed the series Australians, documenting the role of Australians in British culture, which included the portraits of people as diverse as singer Kylie Minogue and the vice-chancellor of Cambridge University Sir Alec Broers.
In her most recent body of work entitled Bunnys, Borland photographs a real-life giant woman called Gwen that is accompanied by a seductive short poem by Nick Cave and a modern fairytale by Will Self. The book takes the viewer through an assemblage of images, which explore femininity and deconstruct the idea of the Playboy bunny girl in today’s world, peppered with cynicism and skepticism.