Photographer creating captivating pictures of Bulwell by merging old and new photos

An amateur photographer is creating a stunning visual history of Bulwell by merging his own pictures of the town with images taken 100 years ago.

Paul Turton, who was brought up in the town and worked there for most of his life, started the project to show how the area has changed in the last century.

The 48-year-old first picked up a digital camera when his oldest son was born in 2000, then started the project after seeing a Belgian photographer doing something similar with images from the Second World War.

“I came across a photo of the Olympia Hall, where Woolworths used to be,” he said.

“I lived in Bulwell my whole life and I’ve never heard of it.

“I wondered if I could use the same process to do it myself, so I went out with a camera and after half an hour to an hour it was pretty reasonable.”

He has now made 120 photos of Bulwell, and has started doing other areas such as Basford.

The pictures have been featured in the Bulwell Arts Festival, exhibited in the local library, and now Paul has self published his own photo books.

“At one point it was taking a lot of time, you had to stand in exactly the right place, I really struggled and would have to go back four or five times,” he added.

Most of the old photos, which can date back to the late 1800s, are taken from postcards or the Bulwell Photos Facebook group.

Paul makes sure that some of the original photo can still be recognised today, takes an image that matches, then lines them up in Photoshop.

“If you don’t get it in the right place it does show, and sometimes I can fake it and manipulate it but I like to take it like the photographer did, although there are a lot more cars on the road today.

“I stood in the middle of the road before and nearly got run over.”

He said that he’s noticed huge changes in Bulwell, and that only a little bit of the old town is still left.

“People are not aware of what’s surrounding them when they walk through,” he said.

“They don’t realise how old the buildings are.”

He added that many buildings had been knocked down or fell down on their own, but believes people are now more determined to preserve the heritage of their hometowns.

However he welcomes change, such as a new Costa shop opened as part of an ongoing investment and redevelopment of the town.

“It’s a positive change, it’s keeping old buildings but bringing something people are going to use and look after.

“They are being saved and refurbished- we’re preserving the old now and not just getting rid of it.

“People are showing a lot more interest in Bulwell now.”