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Personal profile


Born, Dundee Scotland. Lives and works across Dundee and Belfast.

After studying for his BSc in zoology at the University of Dundee John has worked for over a decade in medicinal biological research, particularly in the field of drug discovery for neglected diseases, at the University of Dundee's Drug Discovery Unit and MRC Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit.

In 2019 John began studying for a Master of Fine Art (MFA) degree in photography from the University of Ulster, where he was awarded a Distinction upon completion in 2021. His MFA research project was interested in representing the feelings of gay men in relation to their sexuality with the conceptual idea of touch and the body being central to his research and photographic output. Components of this body of work, titled ‘From the Inside of the Edge’, has been exhibited at Belfast Exposed in Belfast as part of the group show ‘A Lightness of Touch’ and in Edinburgh as part of the Scottish Portrait Awards in 2021. It was also exhibited as part of the prestigious Royal Photographic Society’s IPE163 in Bristol from 2021-2022. Selected pieces were also published by the Pupil Sphere in their graduate zine and showcased online by Source Magazine as part of their graduate series. After graduating from his MFA John spent a year employed as a Picture Editor for the UK news organisation DC Thomson producing editorial content for Scotland’s The Courier and Press & Journal news outlets, both paper and online. 

John is primarily a portrait photographer and researcher with interests in how photographic acts, including the production and consumption of photography, can influence socio-political topics in relation to queerness, geopolitics and the concept of the other.



  • Photo Ireland Critical Academy Think Tank (guest speaker). Photography: An Empathetic Gesture? Dublin. 2022
  • PhD Scholarship DfE Award, 2022-2025.
  • Picture Editor: Scotland’s The Courier and Press & Journal, 2021-2022.
  • Scottish Portrait Awards, Fine Art finalist. 2021.
  • The Royal Photographic Society, IPE163. 2021-2022.
  • Belfast Exposed, Belfast: A Lightness of Touch (Group Exhibition). 2021
  • MFA Photography (with Distinction), Ulster University. 2019-2021.
  • Glasgow University Queer Arts Festival. March 2021
  • British Photography Awards 2021; Finalist in Self Portrait.
  • LifeSpace Gallery, University of Dundee: Transitions. 2020
  • Commission for Natural England: Peat Caretakers. 2020
  • Commendation: Richard Coward Prize in Photography: Lou Moon. 2019


Research Interests

John’s PhD research, titled ‘Empathy or Emptiness: the liminal space of queer photography’ is concerned with the effects contemporary queer photography has not only on the medium itself but on both queer and heteronormative psyches. The research explores the dynamics between photographic representation and objectification of LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities and is underpinned by a collaborative artistic practice in which participants are actively involved with the production of their own imagery using a technique known as photo voice.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Master, MFA Photography

Award Date: 7 Jun 2021

Bachelor, BSc Zology, University of Dundee

Award Date: 1 Jun 2006

External positions

Biologist, University of Dundee

2011 → …


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