Great Britain

Bishop Auckland town frozen in time for future generations

A PROFESSIONAL photographer has been snapping pictures as a social tribute to his beloved hometown.

John Alderson has been capturing Bishop Auckland in its most raw and authentic state, from bin-filled alleyways to nostalgic spots in the town centre.

The 54-year-old, who usually specialises in weddings, said that his project has gained a massive amount of interest in the town.

The photographer, who also teaches photography at Bishop Auckland College, said: “Being born and bred in Bishop Auckland I have an affinity with the place, its history, and its people.

“As a photographer I set myself a massive challenge at the end of February 2020 to photograph every street, alleyway, building of note, nook and cranny, cutting and park within Bishop Auckland.

“I have allowed myself three years to complete the task, although having spare time during Covid has allowed me more time than I first envisaged, so I am now heading towards two years.

“I have also set boundaries to work within. I photograph what I see on the day- if it’s bin day there are bins in my pictures, if there is rubbish on the ground it gets photographed, although I do pick it up after the shot. It is meant to be a snapshot in time, a social documentary of the town I love.”

Mr Alderson, who recently won North East Wedding Photographer of The Year, said he decided to take all photographs on a mixture of three cameras, showing the town from different perspectives.

“Firstly, my prized possession, my 1976 Hasselblad 500 C/M Medium Format Camera with the beautiful Carl Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Planar T* using Ilford HP5+ 120 roll film,” he said.

“My second, and main, camera is my stunning Leica Typ109 with the pin sharp Leica Vario Summilux f1.7 lens.

“My third choice of camera is the Fujifilm X100s with the renowned Fujinon f/2 lens."

He added: “I have chosen to produce black and white images as I do not want colour attracting people’s eyes to a certain part of the image, I want people to explore the images, look at the details and enjoy the tonality of black and white.

Mr Alderson was initially not going to share the images as it was a project that was personal to him, but as his family and friends found out about it, they convinced the photographer that it was too important not to share.

“I am confident that I am the only person ever to document the whole town with photos, and it’s highly possible that I am the only person to have documented any town in the UK to this extent. It will be my legacy to the town I love.

“Because of this, I have recently set up a Facebook page to document my journey with my faithful Patterdale Terrier Hollie always in tow.

“The page A Photographic Journey Around Bishop Auckland has already got over 1,000 followers after only four weeks, and I have started to organise free photo walks to teach people how to produce beautiful images of our town.”

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