I didn’t know Bradford had it’s own local dour photographer, but Bradford being what it is, it was bound to happen sooner or later… & it’d only be a matter of time before I found him/her. Lo and behold, I finally met the person in question while I was working at Wetherspoons, sometime in the month of April in 2016. I was working there in the months running up to my brief shop venture down in the yet to open Sunbridge Wells tunnels development (but that’s another story for another time). An order of a drink was placed, which I obediently poured, earning me a few pennies from Mr. Wetherspoon and before leaving the bar with the drink we’d established that we both do something creative and exchanged business cards & everything. (So professional!) I went home to check out the website on the card. I didn’t really know what to expect, since I was still unaware that I’d met the local dour photographer.
I was pleasantly astonished at what I found.
Gritty, black and white street photography, largely set in and around Bradford, dripping with a that dour tone throughout & shot with a distinctly cinematic feel to it, every shot looks like it could be a frame from a movie drama.
I’d been doing my own version of monochrome dour imagery with my pens for a couple of years, drawing sad/humorous cartoons of myself struggling to be a productive and useful human being with my beloved Bradford as the bleak backdrop. Here, I found that setting so familiar to me, presented in a way I never seen before. It was taking the mundane every-day, and elevating it into something surprisingly beautiful.
I realized I had met the local dour photographer. He went by the name of John Cade.
After a few months of mutual arse-licking (not literally) on social media, John suggested a collaboration might be in order. His photography and my illustration working together to further the cause of dour art. I agreed, and this was the result.
He chose his image of sunbridge road for the first one. He predicted, quite correctly, that It would provide the perfect 2-D canvas for me to play with, adding my characters haphazardly in the windows and on the pavement, interacting with each other and with the real people who happened to be in shot. I had a lot of fun responding to what was in the picture in whatever way I saw fit. E.G: changing the shop front signage. Anyone who’s familiar with this particular shop in Bradford knows it is famous (or, infamous) for selling pellet guns, drug paraphernalia, stab vests, ornamental weapons, and actual weapons. It’s a terrible place, basically. It feeds & encourages the inane, violent fantasies of immature plebs. Every city probably has one, but in Bradford there is precious little of anything else on offer, culturally speaking, and this shop’s continued existence feels like a slap in the face to hard working, decent people trying to make something positive happen in the city. It’s hard to know who to blame though, the shopkeeper, for having the temerity to run a place like that, or the shop’s patrons who make it a viable business model, and another thi- ahem…
Sorry… getting carried away with myself a bit here. Back to art stuff.
The second image to be used in a colab was my suggestion. I had an idea for things that mindless consumers could be wearing as shirts, and so I asked John if he wouldn’t mind heading down to consumer central to get some images for me to draw on. This was the result!
There will be more where this came from. I had far too much fun on the first two to stop there. Keep ’em peeled!
Find John’s incredible body of work here: