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.
I fell in love with John Bolloten's Love Story at first sight. It’s the tale of two souls manoeuvring through a silvery black & white world where love and drugs are the sustenance of life in equal measure. Bolloten, a talented and empathetic artist, has given us a terrific urban love story. This is not a fairytale romance, yet love and romance are there in every gritty frame. A cautionary tale of a man and a woman holding tight one to the other, in a space not generally earmarked for happiness. John Bolloten's Love Story is a masterwork of photography with unparalleled depth and emotion.
Scot Sothern (Streetwalkers)
An important, honest and unflinching reportage, Love Story asks questions, raises debate and will hopefully, effect change.
Bolloten’s raw, real, claustrophobic and compelling album of intimacy and love, grips you by the eyeballs and doesn’t let go.
An uncomfortable, exhausting but necessary look at a love and life.
Peter Dench (England Uncensored)
A bleak, brutal, and brilliant documentation of a couple living and loving on the edge of madness. It's cracking work, full of raw intensity and darkness. Bolloten at his best!
Tom Stoddart (iWitness)
John Bolloten's Love Story is a menage à trois between two desperate people and their favourite drugs. John Bolloten's photos raise questions. He is an honest and uncompromising photographer exploring Bradford in the spirit of Don McCullin.
Miron Zownir (NYC RIP)
A love story amid the background of destruction. John’s images bring to life the smell, blood and chaos of two lives caught up in a cycle of love, hate and war.
Zak Waters (Birdmen)
Love Story is a stark and brutal work but also, strangely uplifting. Bolloten has shown, once again, he is one Britain's most important documentary photographers.
Colin Wilkinson (Bluecoat Press)
John Bolloten’s new book is an intimate portrait of a couple with longstanding addictions and probably Bolloten’s hardest hitting, most intimate work yet. As the book progresses we see him receiving a prosthetic leg and, in the only shots taken outside the couple’s flat, learning to walk again, first in a local medical facility and later outside his and Maree’s home. Where Bolloten’s images could so easily have felt voyeuristic and intrusive, the obvious affection he holds for his subjects and dedication to depicting their situation warts and all make them disquieting, disturbing and occasionally extremely touching.
Steve Lee (Big Issue in the North)
John Bolloten is a Bradford based documentary photographer whose most noticed work is about the homeless people and drug addicts in his hometown. His newest release, Love Story, is his sixth book. The result is a collection of photos of a troubled couple, but you can sense the love between them. Some of the pictures are really tough, some are absolutely beautiful. You couldn’t be able to take those pictures without a deep trust between this couple and a photographer.
Katriina Etholén (Tales From The Brazier's Grotto)
292 x 212mm
Numbered edition of 200
b/w digital printing
First 50 copies sold come with a 7×5 print.
Warning: Contains images of drug use and nudity.
The price is £8 with postage at £3 for the UK (total £11), £5 for Europe (total £13) and £7 for worldwide (total £15) and can be ordered through paypal to my email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please let me know if you would like your book signed. Thanks for the support.
(Please ignore below where it is says "buy this print online", the payment is for the book).