Home Front cover PHOTO ESSAYS About Letters Contact Products Shop LIFE FORCE
The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay “A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
Mar 2014 back issue
The North Black & White Part I
by John Bulmer
John Bulmer’s photographs were taken at a time when the North was undergoing a vast transformation.  The collapse of traditional industries, that had been the wealth creators of the Industrial Revolution, was deeply affecting communities throughout the region; from the Black Country and Potteries though the Cotton Belt of Greater Manchester up to the coalfields and shipbuilding yards of the North East and Glasgow. The hard times etched on the faces of John’s subjects told of a life of struggle framed against an often bleak, industrial background.  These were people forgotten as the ‘swinging sixties’ changed the cultural landscape.  Ironically, the first photographs were taken in 1960, the same year as Coronation Street was first screened on television with its own take on Northern life.  The drama on the screen, however, could never get close to the rawness of the monochrome images of Nelson, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington or Hartlepool. The launch of the Sunday Times magazine in 1962 was to propel Bulmer’s photography in a new direction.  The sudden switch to colour caught out most photographers, who continued to shoot in black and white.  John made the adjustment seamlessly and became one of the magazine’s key contributors.  Colour gave a new way of seeing the North; perhaps less bleak, but certainly more subtle. John’s book The North is currently available from Amazon
Back to menu
John’s colour photography can be seen in part II
Go to Part II
The Black Country
Steel Foundry, Black Country.
The North is dead. Graveyard, Wakefield.
Dawdon Colliery, Co. Durham.
Spectator at a football match.
The Black Country.
The Black Country.
Dawdon Colliery, Co. Durham.
Back to current issue