Blood Sweat and Tears: Jody Evans’ take on queerness, creativity and hard graft

Following their recent book launch and debut solo exhibition at the Photobook Cafe, we chat to Jody Evans about their first published photobook.

13 May 2024

Blood Sweat and Tears is a new collection of documentary photography and editorial work by Jody Evans that captures “20 queer folk in their places of work”. Documenting a range of occupations, the book shines a light on “tattoo artists, to boat fixers and pint pullers to name a few”, says Jody. The publication showcases the photographers’ take on hard graft in the queer community; “the strength we build to do the jobs we really hate, the love we pour into our creative practices, and the resilience we show when we fail”.

The photobook aims to “show it all, beyond the glossy surface of the work we choose to share on social media”, says Jody, displaying a multiplicity of creatives with real, unpolished practices and work in progress. Building up a more realistic image of the creative world where “most of us are working three different jobs at a time”, the project displays a range of creatives’ side hustles and small gigs they fit into the spaces in between their practices.


Jody Evans: Blood Sweat and Tears (copyright © Jody Evans, 2024)

Jody set out to connect with others over their crafts or readiness to get out and graft, and they got to know their participants through their own creative projects, visiting them in their workplaces, studios or homes “to shoot and chat” about what they make. “Quite often when I do documentary work it’s 80 per cent chatting and 20 per cent taking pictures”, they say. The results of these conversations are a compelling collection of intimate portraits of queer folk with a similar creative drive, that Jody has found themselves surrounded by in recent years.

Letting the participants determine their own moments, Jody skillfully captures unscripted exchanges between photographer and sitter, positioning themselves as the observer, whose primary aim is to frame a range of different personalities. Each image captures a unique connection between artist and photographer and the relationship each participant has to their creative labour. One of the exchanges that stood out to Jody whilst shooting the project was the making of their portrait of tattoo artist Harrow, tattooing his partner Gideon. “I love that you can see the concentration in Harrow’s face juxtaposed with the pain in Gideon’s [...] This image really encapsulates blood sweat and tears for me”, says Jody.

With their take on hard graft shaped by early memories of their father’s manual labour and other family members that “worked physically and mentally demanding jobs”, Jody hopes that the book shows their admiration for those that are hard at work, making things with their hands, and the playfulness and freedom that comes from being unpolished. The book’s title Blood Sweat and Tears is a phrase that reminds them warmly of being back home in Cornwall surrounded by “a lot of grafters”, Jody says. And so, the publication acts as a kind of visual love letter to the photographer’s friends and family, who “never cease to inspire” their own creative work.

GalleryJody Evans: Blood Sweat and Tears (copyright © Jody Evans, 2024)

Hero Header

Jody Evans: Blood Sweat and Tears (copyright © Jody Evans, 2024)

Share Article

About the Author

Ellis Tree

Ellis Tree (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a junior writer in April 2024 after graduating from Kingston School of Art with a degree in Graphic Design. Across her research, writing and visual work she has a particular interest in printmaking, self-publishing and expanded approaches to photography.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.