Down these mean streets a man must go, armed only with a camera, his mission to recapture the style and nostalgia of a bygone era.
–Profile by ASPP Member Julian Jackson
John Tuckey is a photographer who has honed his craft with depictions of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, shooting exclusively in monochome. In his own words his work is, “an exercise in nostalgia.” The goal to recreate a look of retro glamor, as if the images were previous undiscovered shots from a World War II battlefield or from the set of a lost Hollywood film.
Two main themes stand out from his work: glamour shots of sensual women, and images of wartime from following re-enactors at the many displays around the UK. These images are a luxurious wallow in nostalgia for a gentler, more sedate time, with added tanks and guns, of course. The images are not pastiche, but an attempt to encapsulate an era. John says in his sensual photos he is trying to mimic the look of a Hollywood glamor shoot of the ’30s-’50s. It is amusing that these images, perhaps much tamer than what we are used to seeing, still have an erotic charge, which shows that being explicit is not always the most thrilling way to go.
John says, “I’ve always had a passion for Black and White. Whether it’s an RKO radio classic film, an old Pathe Newsreel, or an old copy of LIFE, I’ve always been fascinated by the world seen in black and white and the window into the past it offers. My own photography regularly attempts to recreate little homages to that bygone vision.”
John’s current project–just in time for Christmas–is a Blurb coffeetable book, Living in the Past, a gorgeous selection of his work in different genres. I researched the text and quotes to go with the pictures and it was a very enjoyable assignment.
John is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, and is currently working towards Fellowship status. He likes to have a goal, and most of his work is shot with how this goal will be furthered in mind. John exclusively uses the Leica M system, and is typically armed with two Leica M9Ps, or a couple of Leica M7P’s for film. The most utilized lenses are the Summilux 50mm ASPH and he frequently uses a Zeiss Sonnar C 50mm too, which is essentially a 1950s lens design with updated coatings, he feels the “imperfections” make the images seem more authentic, lending a unique vintage rendering to many images.
Among the images that stand out are his pictures of planes, trains, and automobiles, as well as the Audrey Hepburn look-a-like pictures. John has developed a following for his sensibility on social media, and people are now buying his prints as collectables via his Etsy store.
John’s next project is another book, which will concentrate more on glamor and boudoir images, and is expected to be released in the next few months. He describes the book as, “glamor just touching on erotic,” and “stills from a classic Hollywood movie shoot.”
More of John’s work can be seen here:
All photographs copyright John Tuckey and may not be reproduced without permission.
Julian Jackson is a writer with extensive experience of picture research, whose main interests include photography and the environment. His website is www.julianjackson.co.uk. He also runs a Picture Research by Distance Learning Course www.picture-research-courses.co.uk.