Why did you start photographing Barnsley?
I started Barnsley and surrounding districts back in 2013 after spending many years looking at old photographs of Barnsley on the “old Barnsley” market stall up in the former Indoor Market. I started to photograph the construction of Carlton Community College and Cudworth & Westgreen Bypass and had the idea to make a pictorial archive of Barnsley as it is now and the only way I could see to share these pictures was by setting up a community Facebook page. Barnsley and Surrounding Districts was born. I’m hoping that once the archive is complete I will donate it to Barnsley Archives.
Describe your average day…
When I’m not working, I’m out with the camera, even if I don’t have a plan for the day I always find something to photograph.
What links do you have to the local community?
When I started the page I had no links with the local community only friends and family, but as the page and the archive got bigger and after a lot of hard work, the likes gradually went up and as they did I got to meet many that who gave me the opportunity to photograph things not normally seen. For example, a fantastic trip to the top of the town hall tower and behind the scenes at Cannon Hall museum. After a slow start back in 2013 the page has now over 6,000 like and I have made lots of friends and links in the community.
What kind of reactions do you get from your photos?
This depends on what kind of picture it is, everyone loves a nice sunset or countryside view but when you are making an archive you want to capture all aspects of day to day life whether it be good or bad. I don’t like to view Barnsley through rose tinted glasses and I believe you have to have that mindset if you want to run a project like this. But on the whole I get good reactions to my pictures.
Where are your photos on display?
My photos are currently only on display on the main Facebook page but in time I hope to have some of my best pictures displayed for everybody to enjoy. I believe pictures always look better framed and hung up on a wall.
Have you seen any changes in Barnsley whilst taking your photos?
Fantastic question, it was a perfect time for me to set up Barnsley and surrounding districts as the Better Barnsley project was in its infancy and I have been there with the camera since the demolition of the former council central offices. Over a year on and the council offices have gone along with the shops on May Day Green. I have watched the Construction of the temporary market and the redevelopment of the former semi outdoor market to house the traders from the indoor market while the metropolitan centre gets its makeover into The Glass Works. In my eyes these changes have got to be good for Barnsley.
Do you feel positive about the future of Barnsley? (i.e. the Better Barnsley campaign).
I for one feel very positive about the future of Barnsley. The Better Barnsley and The Glass Works projects can only do good for business and it will be a breath of fresh air without the 70’s concrete in the town centre.
Please visit and like John’s amazing Facebook page: