Tuesday, 11 May 2010

John Bulmer

I don't know how I've managed to miss him up till now, but just recently, I've come across the work of photographer John Bulmer.

I was asked to look at a project for the National Coal Mining Museum for England, and they had a temporary exhibition of his work. It sits in the same tradition as Martin Parr or Nick Waplington, but the life of the industrial north he captures is unique, at least to me. He was one of the first to shoot documentary style imagery in colour, but, to us, it's a strange, muted world of colour. Very beautiful.

I have to say the social documentary side of his work extrapolates one of my abiding interests; the shift to an urban society and the loss of rural traditions. Bulmer, working mainly in the 1960s and 1970s by the look of it, captures the last years of the industrial north and the communities that had built up in these great smoking cities.

Looking at some of the work now, I feel as remote from that world as I do from that of Froissart or John Stow. How could a world like this disappear so completely in a generation?

Work like this does exist to document the Middle Ages - my favourite is the ever-popular Luttrell Psalter, with its scenes of daily life so joyously depicted in the margins. Talking of the Luttrell Psalter, I just found out there is a "Luttrell Psalter - The Movie".

If you've seen it let me know. If it's on YouTube, even better.

1 comment:

Pauline Loven said...

Michael, if you would like to review a copy of the Luttrell Psalter Film, we would be happy to send you one with our compliments. WAG Screen