John Heseltine has worked as an editorial and commercial photographer since the early 1980s, but in recent years he has devoted his time to a series of creative personal projects, the first of which was “Roads to Rome”. This is a visual exploration of modern Italy in the context of its ancient backdrop using the network of Roman roads as its structure. Some of the images are recent but others were made over a twenty year period emphasizing the contrast of old and new and the rapid economic and regional changes which influence a modern design obsessed generation living on an ancient stage set.
In his Foreword, the eminent curator Colin Ford wrote, ‘Heseltine’s beautiful black and white shadows of the distant and recent past powerfully summon up the great Roman roads of Italy, the material with which they were built, and the men and women who have used them – and continue to do so. In these pictures, ghosts really do come to life.” A second long-term project nearing completion interprets the observations of Henry James during his numerous visits to Italy.
However much of Heseltine’s recent work is set in the UK and France and examines the abstract and symbolic nature of the modern built environment as well as studies of the visual impact of man made landscape. He is currently producing a body of work which deals with the changing nature of modern France. He divides his time between England and the Charente Maritime region of southwest France.