John Byford - I was 'Made in England'

John Byford . . . 

The advent of new social media platforms is radically changing the world of photography. For the 'snapchat' generation each carefully constructed image vanishes moments after it appears. These fleeting images alter the concept of photography as the preservation of an event for the future and challenges the value placed upon them.

As a self-supporting independent artist, working both in the UK and throughout Europe, I am excited by everything the digital world exposes to me. I create with hands on analogue and picture perfect digital and have always embraced new technology. I love the way that it is possible to weave together these opposite mediums, resulting in an evolutionary way of creating and displaying work.

Having worked in a London darkroom from an early age, the raw elements of traditional film processing left me with an impression of nostalgia and romance; the smell, the feel, and the anticipation of the slowly emerging image as the methodical, calculated processes transform moments into tangible memories. These were my darkroom days and shaped me, influencing my life choices and career path.

As a teenager and growing into my early twenties, I suffered from acute depression. This led to my being hospitalised, a traumatic journey during which my life seemingly remained on hold. As I searched for an alternative sense of direction, I discovered art as therapeutic means to help me focus and reduce my anxieties.

Since those dark days, I have travelled extensively throughout Europe and beyond exploring and enriching my life armed with just a camera, intent on recording all the wonders, the painful realities, the humour and the humanity of the world through my eyes. I have experienced my share of difficulties over the years and life has taught me many profound lessons. My art has become my passion and has kept me on the straight and narrow.

Forging my own way, playing around in an analogue darkroom and progressing to the virtual digital studio has helped me to hone my basic skills, but most importantly has opened my mind in how best to utilise my instincts and how to view the world around me. I love turning corners and making discoveries. Who knows what lies in wait, a human interaction which for other people would pass them by unnoticed. For me those insignificant moments are when my intuition kicks into overdrive.

My life is a journey, when you open yourself up to getting lost, traversing unknown pathways, you truly discover a place and its people. On my travels I become an explorer uncovering unique personalities of people and places, searching for inspiration, sometimes through order but more often in chaos enabling my artistic eye to reveal truth and integrity.

I do not think about the photograph itself but rather I focus on the expression of what I see and my emotional connection; therefore, my pictures, while not always overtly pretty can still be perceived as being sublime, having visually interesting and original qualities. I have always thought that beauty can be found in the ugliest of places.

I am an observer of life with an obsession for both capturing and documenting and forme a truly meaningful image is one that is felt rather than just observed. Communication, whether visually or emotionally is my ultimate endeavour. I aim my camera to capture photographs that "speak" to the viewer. It's a two-way relationship that relies on a response, whether it be conventional or controversial for the artwork to challenge the status quo.

My artistic journey has included designing unique, tangible, three-dimensional outdoor installations which have travelled far and wide. These substantial emotive art projects, dreamt up during a time of change and upheaval, represent my interpretation of historical and prevalent international issues. Subsequently, my work has received widespread media recognition.

My artistic self has evolved beyond what I view through my camera lens. We are all curators of history and my work holds a mirror to the world. I see being an artist as a political act, one that comes with an unerring compulsion to continue. Photography, even in a digital age, remains the most valuable tool we have for social commentary and documentation.

As a photographer I am reliant on the unique honesty of my subject matter. I do not consider myself a nosy person but life is more interesting when you are curious. I will shoot anything (with a camera of course). People keep me motivated, engaged, although sometimes I just like to be alone with nature.

I have spent countless hours scoping my adopted hometown of Skegness. There is a rich breadth of life, human interaction and history which I have immersed myself in and throughout my many years of public service and continued involvement with the community. I feel I have only scratched the surface of everything this town represents.

I am the proud recipient of the Skegness Honoured Citizen award. Having lived and worked amongst people I respect, it is genuinely an honour to be acknowledged for my involvement with the community and for recording the ever changing social and pictorial landscape of the town.

As an individual I am influenced by my life experiences, as an artist my photography encompasses all that I am; the verdict on my eclectic catalogue of images is pending and my best work is yet to come.


Visual Arts Award 2010 - [First Prize]

Conferred Honoured Citizen Award 2021


+44 (0)7742 0500 65


The Journey so far...


Exhibitions & Projects include the following:

2024:  STATIC - East Coast  >info

2024:  Take a seat! - Germany  >info

2024:  Wanderlusting - Germany  >info

2023:  When the coast is clear - Germany  >info

2023:  On the Pull - Skegness  >info

2023:  Landesgartenschau - Germany  >info

2022:  CLASH - Islas Canarias  >info

2022:  Blue Skies are Boring - Germany

2021:  Hope! - Germany  >info

2021:  It's an honour! - Skegness  >info

2020:  Private Rooms - Germany  >info

2020:  Double Exposure - Lanzarote

2019:  Brexit BOX - Germany  >info

2019:  Lanzarote Arts Festival - Lanzarote

2019:  Female Exposure - Germany  >info

2019:  Day Tripper - East Midlands  >info

2018:  Bracing - Denmark  >info

2018:  We Remember - Germany  >info

2018:  SO Blazing - Busters  >info

2018:  Patience - Embassy, Skegness  >info

2017:  [Artist in Residence] - Embassy, Skegness

2016:  Art. Who cares? I do! - Germany

2016:  Opposites Attract - Corby, England

2015:  Two Voices - Germany  >info

2014:  When we see art - Lincoln, England

2014:  Lights OUT - Seafront, Skegness  >info

2014:  4 Play - Germany  >info

2014:  H Art - Pop-up Gallery, Hildreds Centre

2014:  East to West - Birmingham, England

2013:  Hide & Seek - Gib Point, Skegness >info

2013:  Made in England - Terni, Italy  >info

2012:  The Memory of Trees - Louth, England

2012:  Made in England - Germany  >info

2012:  B&B - Blackpool & Brighton  >info

2011:  Peep Box - Sweden  >info

2011:  Peep Box - Denmark  >info

2011:  Dirty Wash - Skegness, England  >info

2010:  SEAS X - Georgia & Turkey  >info

2010:  Peep Box - Skegness, England  >info

2010:  A Daily Dose - Lincoln, England

2009:  A Daily Dose - Skegness, England  >info

2009:  Málaga Feria - Malaga, Spain  >info

2008:  Skegness is SO - Skegness, England  >info

2008:  Cans Festival - London, England  >info