East End Graphics
Southport, United Kingdom: Cafe Royal Books, 2018.
First edition 2013.
Black & White.
At fifteen years old, John went to work in advertising
at McCann Erickson where he encountered the inspiring
figure of designer Robert Brownjohn, who had once been
a pupil of Moholy-Nagy and famously created the opening
credits for ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘From Russia With Love.’
“It opened up my eyes to how people communicate
and the beauty of typography.” John confided,
“You’re surrounded by it and you’re brought up with it,
but people like Robert Brownjohn take it to another level.”
Today, John describes these photographs as coming from
‘the time when my eyes were opened,’ yet he admits he was
‘always interested in what’s not intentional,’ and these pictures
all delight in the incidental visual humour and poetry
of the human condition – whether a former chapel selling
light bulbs that offered ‘batteries recharged,’ or a damaged poster
for the mass X-Ray of 1966 that resembled a pair of lungs.
“I’m still excited by them,” he confessed to me, “My work in advertising
was about solving other people’s problems, but these pictures are
the outcome of personal feelings.”
“People used to ask me why are you photographing that?” recalled
John in amusement. Eastenders have always had the knack of
communication, and it was John’s gift to see the beauty in the urban
landscape through the marks made by those personalities that created it.
Café Royal Books (founded 2005) is an independent
publisher based in Southport, England.
Originally set up as a way to disseminate art,
in multiple, affordably, quickly, and internationally
while not relying on 'the gallery'.
Café Royal Books publishes artist's books and zines
as well as a weekly series of photobook/zines.
The photographic publications are part of a long
ongoing series, generally working with photographers
and their archives, to publish work, which usually falls
into 1970–2000 UK documentary / reportage.