Author Archives: John Blythe

Artist in Residence (AiR) AA2A

Very excited to have been offered the opportunity to be an Artist in Residence at the University of Derby School of Art. I will be working their periodically over the next academic year and hopefully will have a group exhibition in summer 2020 (more details to follow) of the work produced.

I am one of four artists appointed through the AA2A scheme, if you are interested in this opportunity definitely check out their website.

I will of course post updates of my work over the year and will also be blogging my experience here and on the AA2A website here

Books on Theories of Photography and Photographing – A Reading list

I have over the years, often been recommended books on photography to read and have recommended books to others. It occurred to me at some point, that it might be helpful to think about the chronology of texts that present thoughts, ideas and theories of photography. I suspect most authors thoughts and ideas evolve over time and therefore it might be useful to read their books in order, to get a better understanding of the evolution of their thinking. I also assume authors read other authors and may draw from or be influenced by their writings. It might, therefore, be useful to read texts in chronological order to better understand the overall evolution of thinking about the subject of photography. I have made a list below of key texts, based purely on my own experience and reading, and presented them in chronological order, mostly when written (not necessarily published) except for anthologies of essays in which case I have inserted them into the list when they were published. I hope you find it useful.

W. Benjamin – Illuminations: Essays and Reflections 1913-26

W. Benjamin – On Photography 1925-1938

W. Benjamin – The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction – 1936

H. Cartier-Bresson – The Decisive Moment – 1952

S. Sontag – Against Interpretation – 1966

J. Berger – Ways of Seeing 1972

J. Szarkowski – Looking at Photographs – 1973

S. Sontag – On Photography – 1977

R. Barthes – Image – Music – Text 1977

J. Berger – About Looking – 1980

j. Berger – Understanding a Photograph – 1967-2013

R. Barthes – Camera Lucidia – 1981

V. Flusser – Towards a Philosophy of Photography – 1984

V. Flusser – Gestures -1991

D. Goldblatt & L.B. Brown – Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts – 1997

G. Rose – Visual Methodologies – 2001

S. Sontag – Regarding the Pain of Others – 2003

R. Adams – Why People Photograph – 2005

G. Dyer – The Ongoing Moment = 2005

F. Ritchin – After Photography – 2009

K. Stiles – Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art – 2012

M. Heiferman – Photography Changes Everything – 2012

J.L. Thompson – Why Photography Matters – 2013

R. Shore – Post-Photography: The Artist with a Camera – 2015

K. Silverman – The Miracle of Analogy – 2015

B. Burbridge – Revelations – 2015

M. Statzer – The Photographic Object 1970 – 2016

B. Burbridge & A. Pollen – Photography Reframed – 2018


New Workshop Series coming to FusionArts Darkroom

FusionArts Darkroom is now fully up and running and our first series of workshops are being opened up for booking.

Workshop Schedule is as follows:

Saturday 28th September – World Cyanotype Day Workshop (details TBC)

Saturday 24th August – Introduction to Eco Photography Click Here to book

Sunday 4th August – Making creative use of the darkroom Click Here to book

Saturday 3rd August – Introduction to Eco Photography Click Here to book

Friday 2nd August – Introduction to analogue photography Click Here to book

Workshops are designed as an introduction, to offer an opportunity to explore and develop an understanding of basic principles upon which to build. All materials will be provided and you will be given clear instruction sheet to take away with you so you can make further progress on your own.

For whole day workshops, tea/coffee and lunch will be provided.




Final MFA Exhibition

My final MFA show at Oxford Brookes is finally under way, the opening on Thursday evening was a proud moment. I cannot begin to express how much it meant to me for so many people to take the time to come and see our work.


Thanks to Hanna Wilmshurst for the opening night photos and some of the artwork shots @hwilmshurst

It came together with the usual stress, last minute panics, team effort, mutual support and shared passion. Thanks so much to my fellow artists, we did great!

The exhibiting process comes with so much opportunity. The chance to really interrogate and get to the essence of the work as simply and directly as possible while leave space, allowing the work to breath and the audience to inhale.

Next Exhibition – Priceless @magdalenarts part of Oxfordshire Artweeks.

I’ll be showing an experimental piece of work that questions the idea of analogue photographic material as relic.


Studio and Associate Artists of Magdalen Road Studios have come together for this exhibition, ‘Priceless’. The diverse subjects and media reflect the artists’ individual practices and interests but the pieces have been carefully chosen to reflect the title of the exhibition.

The theme or title was open to interpretation. Some work has been included because it is personally meaningful or too precious to sell. Other work may have been kept for years and not sold because it resonates in a particular way or represents a change in practice. The title also allowed for work that can be understood as non-commercial because it is in an unconventional or ephemeral format.

Any work that an artist makes can be looked upon as a ‘signpost’ of an artistic journey, regardless of whether it has been made today or a decade ago. In this way a work is never conclusive. It may be something left unfinished, a dead-end or the pointer towards the next step. Works that are kept or remembered might hold memories of personal history, or show the surprising outcome of using a new material. Often they are special because they are symbolic of a long struggle or because they unexpectedly revealed a new way of seeing. Perhaps no work is ever priceless because the priorities and ideas that artists have change over time. Money is exchanged for art in auction houses, exhibitions and commissions all over the world but can art, as the representation of human spirit, be seen as a product?

More info here


World Pinhole Photography Day Workshop – Sunday 28th April 2019

Fusion Arts Community Darkroom
(rear of) East Oxford Community Centre
Princes Street, OX4 1DD
Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
DATES: Sunday, April 28, 2019 – Sunday, April 28, 2019

Contact: John Blythe
Telephone: 07957 221720
Web Site:

Workshop in celebration of World Pinhole Day and the opening of our new community darkroom.

Date: Sunday 28th April 2019
Time: 1 – 4pm
Place. Fusion Arts, (rear of) East Oxford Community Centre, Princes Street, OX4 1DD

Cost: the workshop is run on a ‘Pay what you feel’ basis, contributions are welcome.

Celebrate World Pinhole Day, find out about pinhole cameras and how they work.
Watch artists building pinhole cameras and making pinhole images using a range of materials.
Build your own pinhole camera and take a pinhole image which you can copy and upload to the World Pinhole Day Gallery.
Join thousands of people from all over the world in celebrating the wonder of pinhole photography
Have a tour of our darkroom facility and find out about our plans for the future.

The workshop will last approx 2hrs.
Suitable for adults, and children aged 12 and over (under 16’s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian).