PODCAST: A Photographic Life, Episode 144: Photographer John Bulmer

In episode 144 UNP founder and curator Grant Scott is in his shed considering what makes a magazine cover photographer, Irving Penn the photojournalist, the importance those who came before us, and Covid lockdown independent initiatives.

Plus this week photographer John Bulmer takes on the challenge of supplying Grant with an audio file no longer than 5 minutes in length in which he answer’s the question ‘What Does Photography Mean to You?’

John Bulmer was born in 1938 in Herefordshire, the grandson of the founder of the Bulmer cider company. While still a student of engineering at Cambridge he had photographs published in Varsity magazine as well as a magazine he co-founded, Image. He also completed photo-stories for the Daily Express, and Queen magazine, whilst working as an assistant to photographers Larry Burrows and Burt Glinn. Expelled from Cambridge six weeks before his finals Bulmer got a job with the Daily Express and stayed there for two years. Bulmer is most often associated with his documentation of the North of England which he began with his first assignment in 1960, for Town. In 1965, Bulmer first photographed the north of England in colour, for the Sunday Times magazine the magazine who he worked for until 1973. However, Bulmer continued working for other publications, including the British edition of Geo, as he combined photography with film commissions for the BBC and Discovery Channel. As Bulmer moved away from photography to film, his earlier photographic work until it was included in a 1983 exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery, British Photography 1955–65: The Master Craftsmen in Print. Bulmer’s career in film continued to the mid-2000s, when he retired and turned to digitising and cataloguing his earlier photographs. The resulted in two books of his work being published by Bluecoat Press, The North and Wind of Change. www.johnbulmer.co.uk

*In this episode Grant incorrectly suggests that John Bulmer is married to the film director Mai Zetterling, this is incorrect. Bulmer worked with Zetterling but is married to Angela Bulmer, a sculptor. A full apology for this error will be included in next week’s episode.

Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Routledge 2014), The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Routledge 2015), New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography (Routledge 2019).

His book What Does Photography Mean to You? including 89 photographers who have contributed to the A Photographic Life podcast is on sale now £9.99 https://bluecoatpress.co.uk/product/what-does-photography-mean-to-you/

© Grant Scott 2021


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