John Blakemore was born in Coventry in 1936. In the 1950’s he travelled to Libya with the Royal Air Force whilst on National Service, and it was during this time he discovered photography. Further inspiration came from Edward Steichen's The Family of Man and also childhood experiences during the Second World War. Following his own return from National Service, Blakemore began to photograph the people of Coventry and its reconstruction after the war. Completely self-taught, John Blakemore worked under the Black Star agency as a freelance photographer. He then evolved his personal work to become one of England's leading landscape photographers.
Blakemore worked in diverse areas of photography from documentary, through portraiture to still life, with a particular focus in more recent years on tulips as symbols of sensuality and elegance. Blakemore is celebrated for the detail, texture and tonal richness of his work. Blakemore began teaching in the late 1970s, and became a major figure in what was then seen as a ‘British obsession with photography’. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Photography at the University of Derby, where he taught from 1970 to 2001. Holding an MA in film studies, he is also an external assessor for the Royal College of Art. John Blakemore’s books include Inscape (1991), Stilled Gaze (1994) and John Blakemore's Black and White Photography Workshop (2005). His work has been exhibited world-wide and he is widely regarded as one of the finest photographers and printers in the United Kingdom. Blakemore has been the recipient of Arts Council awards, a British Council Traveling Exhibition and in 1992 he won the coveted Fox Talbot Award for Photography. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 1998.