John Beardsworth

Photographer, Author, Consultant

About me


Taking war photography back to the 1640s?

I really don’t believe one should explain one’s photography – I’m of the “look at the pictures, make up your own mind” school. So there’s no artist’s statement or other hot air here! Instead I will say that back in the 1980s what really made me want a camera was photojournalism, particularly the work of Don McCullin and Brian Harris of the early Independent newspaper, and I also remember seeing Chris Killip and Sebastaio Salgado exhibitions. You might suspect that my long term documentary projects like Speakers Corner and on historical re-enactment result from these influences, but it was having studied history at Cambridge that eventually led me to the latter.

Landscape has always been my other love. Again McCullin was an early favourite after I got his wonderful book of wintry Somerset landscapes in a harsh black and white. Others would be Fay Godwin and William Neill, while more recently some of David Ward‘s ideas have been thought-provoking. Maybe they and others are influences, but just as much inspiration comes from my interest in art history.


I’ve written about 10 books on digital photography, the latest two published in 2014, but I didn’t begin as a photographer or even as a graphic artist. I had been a “spreadsheet warrior” and photography was just a hobby, but working for Heidelberg in the graphics industry I been familiar with Photoshop from about 1990. So while I loved darkroom printing, I also built up my digital skills with scanned negatives and slides, a “wet and dry” route. Then in 2003 I mentioned on my blog that I had just bought a Nikon D100, and this led to the opportunity to write the first of three books on digital B&W.

Advanced Digital Black and White Photography is probably my favourite. Partly that’s because I know it contained a few big firsts for books on the subject – Lightroom, Photoshop’s B&W panel, using SilverEfex, and smart object workflows. It’s still bang up to date.


I have a murky past – as a spreadsheet warrior. Qualifying as a chartered accountant, I spent two decades before finding how I could program Excel and databases. Escaping into financial IT consulting, I was implementing big accounting systems, OLAP cubes and “business intelligence”. That background happens to be ideal for managing photos and the field of “digital asset management”, so I found myself improving clients’ Lightroom productivity and designing web sites (my own web site has been going since 1997) which integrate efficiently with their workflows. And after using it for 27 years, I do know Photoshop pretty well too.

I have moved all my newer Lightroom content over to my other web site, Lightroom Solutions.


You can contact me by email. Please make your subject line obviously human or leave it as set by the link.

My Italian is good, and I am OK in French and German. Please don’t blame me for Brexit – it’s not my fault.

And if you see me somewhere, do say hello. I am told that in person I am nowhere near as frightening as you may – quite reasonably – imagine.