john bolloten

John Bolloten

John Bolloten


love story

John Bolloten is a documentary photographer based in Bradford, UK.  He is particularly interested in documenting people and subcultures that exist on the margins of society. His book “Nothing To See Here” (2017) opened a window into Bradford’s gritty underbelly of drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness and vice. He has continued to photograph within this community and published a second book in this series “Love Story” (2019) which gave a very intimate view into the lives of drug-using couple. Other books include “Bradford Street” (2014), “Belgrade” (2015), “Shabash” (2016), and “Field of Broken Dreams” (2018).

John is currently putting together his third and final book about people who use drugs which is planned for publication by Bluecoat Press in 2020.  He is also working on long-term projects on the grime and battle rap scenes across the North of England.

Love Story

I first met Gary and Maree in 2016 while I was taking photographs for my book Nothing To See Here. After that work was published, I was considering my next steps and decided that I wanted to do a more in-depth, personal and intimate view into the lives of people who used drugs.

I bumped into Gary one day about a year and a half after our first meeting and I asked if I could photograph him and Maree at home. He agreed and this work was born.

For eight months, between February and October 2018, I visited Gary and Maree weekly at their flat. 

Gary is 44 years old and has been injecting heroin since he was 15. He and drinks a number of tins of strong Polish lager every day and sometimes smokes crack. Maree is 24 and doesn’t use heroin. She smokes crack and also drinks lager daily.

This book documents the times I was there and aims to give an insight into two lives, that like many other similar people, is hidden from public view.