Hugh Stewart was born in New Zealand and grew up on a farm. The eldest of 7 children, he displayed no interest in farming, and after school absconded to Europe. It was while residing in a notorious London squat in the early 1980s that he first picked up a camera and started taking portraits of his friends. Following a particularly spectular eviction, he returned, via New York, to the Southern Hemisphere. This time Sydney. It was here, faced with the prospect of unemployment, he put together a portfolio and received his first assignment, (for Australian Vogue). This led to further commissions for magazines and advertising agencies.
Encouraged, he returned to London and steadily built a career that sees him working all over the world. He now lives between NY, London and Sydney, and has worked for I-D, The Face, British, Australian, French and American Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Sony, HBO, Microsoft, Levis, J. Crew, Singapore Airlines, Emerites airlines,The Sydney Theater company, MasterCard and Chanel. He has photographed amongst others Johnny Cash, Michael Caine, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Paul Newman, Ed Harris, Kenneth Branagh, Naomi Watts, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Catherine Deneuve, Clint Eastwood, Harvey Weinstein, Julian Schnabel, Rod Stewart, Sir John Mills, Sir Ian McKellen, John Updike, Leonardo Dicaprio, Bill Nighy, David Hare, Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett and The Duchess of Devonshire.
His photographs have been hung in the National Portrait Gallery in London and in Canberra. He now considers farming to be the ideal life.