John Blakemore was born in Coventry. He discovered photography during National Service with the Royal Air Force in Tripoli in the 1950s and is self-taught. Wartime childhood experiences and Edward Steichen’s The Family of Man exhibition inspired him initially on his return home to photograph the people of Coventry and its post-war reconstruction as a freelance, working first for Black Star, and then in a variety of studios. He is Emeritus Professor of Photography at the University of Derby, where he taught from 1970 to 2001, being influential on the younger generation.
Characteristically, Blakemore worked in black-and-white on landscape subjects, making use of the Zone System and much darkroom work on his prints. He has also worked in still life, including a series on tulips.
Blakemore has been the recipient of Arts Council awards, a British Council Travelling Exhibition and in 1992 won the Fox Talbot Award for Photography. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 1998.