Nov 252014

For over a hundred years Leicester was the centre of the hosiery trade in Britain. Rapid expansion took place in the 1960s and 1970s, helped by the influx of labour from Commonwealth countries. This was followed by changes in the market in the 1980s – competition on the high street inevitably caused major UK brands, previously supplied by Leicester manufacturers, to seek cheaper overseas merchandise. This lead to the demise (or corporate restructuring) of a number of major Leicester manufacturers.

Wolsey Chimney, Abbey Mills, Leicester

The Wolsey factory was built in the 1920s with the business taking its name from the nearby burial place of Cardinal Wolsey, the close aide of King Henry VIII, who was buried in 1530 at Leicester Abbey.

Demolition work began in 2009, only two chimneys (one bearing the Wolsey name) and the tower now remain.

Wolsey Tower, Abbey Mills, LeicesterHosiery Factory, Leicester

Above right, and images below taken at factory locations around Frog Island.

Hosiery Factory, Leicester

 Cash and Carry, Leicester

Nov 032014

Allotment, Shed

We moved house when our kids were small, to a nicer area, but sadly to a garden that wasn’t particularly good for growing produce because of its size and position. I’ve never been much of a gardener but her indoors suggested that we get an allotment, not just for food but also as it would be a nice family activity. It sounded like madness to me, but it turned out that she was right. We would disappear to the allotment, carrying tools and wearing wellies and return some hours later, muddy and tired and occasionally carrying huge squash or obscene looking tromboncino.

There was also a great community with a wide mix of ages, the typical retiree allotment holder, middle-aged couples, young families with small kids. Sundays could be spent digging and planting whilst the kids ran off to chat and play with other families. The allotment became popular, there was suddenly a waiting list and sadly with that new rules, regulations and regular inspections in order to weed out (sorry) those not using their plot. Many of the friends we had made left and plots fell empty and into disrepair.

It was not long after our first run in with those pleasant people from Birstall Parish Council that I decided to start recording the things that, for me, symbolise what an allotment should be – turned earth, weeds, sheds of all shapes and sizes, scrap that perhaps should have gone to the tip but might come in handy at some point.

I’ve photographed this shed far too many times but it encapsulates everything I love about this British institution.

Both images:
Graflex Pacemaker Speed Graphic 5×4 camera
Expired Agfa Paper

Allotment, Shed

Sep 172014

Ridgewalk Moor, Derwent Woodland

I have a love/hate relationship with my Zeiss Nettar. It doesn’t seem to hold the film tightly enough, which means that you get lose reels when unloading the film, ofter resulting in light leaks, and one corner of the image is slightly softer as the film isn’t held flat. On the plus side, it’s small enough to just about fit into the back pocket of my jeans and only cost £20.

Lower Small Clough Shooting HutLow Cloud on Ridgewalk Moor

Sep 022014

When Lomography announced their LomoChrome Purple film in early 2013 I was pretty excited – so excited in fact that I preordered 10 rolls (5×120, 5x35mm) even though it wasn’t due to ship for 6 months or so. Why? Well this film was an attempt to mimic the look of the now no longer produced Kodak Aerochome Colour Infrared film that I’d always wanted to try but had been scared off by the prices on ebay.

Does it look like Aerochome? Well, no. It seems to be styled on a particular Aerochome look, similar to Richard Mosse’s images from the battlefields of the Democratic Republic of Congo – in fact those images seemed to be the ones most used in early articles about what LomoChrome Purple might look like (and with good reason as they are fantastic).

Is it good value for money? No. At the time of writing this film is almost £10 a roll. I know the people at Lomo need a good thick layer of gold plating on their Rolls Royce’s but even for them that is quite a price.

Have I learnt anything from using this film? Green is infinitely more pleasing than purple.

I do quite like the film – I’d like it more if it were cheaper – but for me the purples are too dark and indistinct (certainly when shooting at the ISO400 rating). If anything, foliage looks less interesting with this film than normal colour film, which for me is something of an epic fail for a film pretending to be an infrared film.

Will I be buying more? Perhaps. I sold 5 of the 10 rolls that I originally purchased to people who wanted to try it but didn’t want to buy the 5 packs that were on offer at the time. I’ve not heard any of these people singing the films praises yet, but it is fun and it might be entertaining every now and again.

BelowA couple of images taken with LomoChrome Purple at Warwick Castle using an Olympus XA2.

LomoChrome Purple, Warwick Castle

LomoChrome Purple, Warwick Castle

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