Photography is a skill that grows over the years, a process that captures time and allows us the privilege of looking back at what once was, an echo of our past. Paul Sugden is a skilled and atmospheric photographer from Shipley. His passion for photography has taken him to places we could never have imagined and Paul’s experience in pursuing the perfect subject has been tireless.
He was interested in photography from an early age, and his love of the subject was later fuelled by the chance purchase of a Canon 500D camera. His first photograph with his new DSLR camera was taken in the World Heritage site of Saltaire near his home.
A sunny day, a Victorian mill and the canal passing through. What more could you ask for? Paul then shared his new image with friends only to be asked for a printed copy. Humbled of course, he then had a dilemma – what do you charge for your work? He is very grateful to the ProAm printing service in Bradford and to Lewis Hackett for all his help with software and editing processes.
Vintage architecture is Paul’s passion and this is reflected in most of his popular images. An interest in urban photography gave him the impetus to investigate old mills, buildings and places of interest most people wouldn’t have access to. As Bradford is on his doorstep the old woollen mills are a draw for him, giving him the opportunity to capture these disappearing relics of the Victorian era in great detail.
One building of particular interest to Paul was Drummond Mills on Lumb Lane in Bradford. He documented the building a few years ago and it became part of his life through his pictures. Sadly it burnt down in 2016 but still survives through Paul’s images.
Paul has seen his confidence grow – he has shown his images in a gallery for Artbound and entered a photographic competition at the National Media Museum, Bradford. Their theme was ‘capturing light’ and his scrapyard image bowled the judges over.
Since this Paul has seen his work rise in popularity and has been approached to use them for websites and social media. Both HowDoBradford and Dandy Art House have been very supportive in utilising his work. The Kirkgate Community Centre in Shipley, a fabulous hub for arts and crafts, is near his home. He is a great supporter of the Centre and in turn they have supported him. Paul regularly has a stall there selling his images in various formats. This allows him to meet his public – the customers and fans of his work.
More recently Bradford has seen an upsurge of investment in the city centre, which has opened up some interesting heritage projects. Paul has worked hard to build a relationship with the developers of the new Sunbridge Wells tunnels, which opened in December 2016. A unique network of tunnels almost forgotten but now developed into shops and bars for future generations. Taking progressive photographs of this project has seen some of his images appear on its main Facebook page and shared throughout social media. This has now opened doors for more freelance work and he has been approached by two property developers in Leeds who were impressed with his images.
The largest project in Bradford and most anticipated is the refurbishment of the New Victoria – aka the Gaumont or Odeon cinema. After years of community protests this visually imposing building has been saved and will become a huge concert venue in the future. Paul and his good friend Phil Jackson will be documenting its progress from now until completion. A huge challenge but a very rewarding one.
Only a few months ago Paul was given access to the very top of Bradford’s City Hall clocktower. A fantastic opportunity to see the cityscape from that unique angle. The first part of the journey was straightforward as they had a lift to the halfway point, but he confesses his knees started to knock when the rest of the climb was via ladders. The views were stunning and expertly captured and it was worth scaling the heights for this unusual location shoot. Some of his images of the city were used in the bid for the Great Exhibition Of The North.
Paul has been a photographer for six years and has come a long way in a relatively short time. 2017 will be one of his busiest and most challenging, as in December he and his partner are expecting their first baby. Liz has been very supportive of his work and soon they will have an extra set of eyes to pick up camera skills.