Once in a while, a photography commission comes along that’s a little bit different from what I usually do and quite an exciting prospect!
I was commissioned by design group, Modus Creative, on behalf of Worcester BID, to produce photographs for a 216 page coffee table book, highlighting 151 independent businesses within the BID (Business improvement District) area.
The book would be called ‘Uniquely Yours’, a high quality, lifestyle, coffee-table book, designed to promote Worcester as a unique place to shop, eat, play and live.
My first visit was to familiarise myself with the centre of Worcester and, with map in hand, I did a bit of exploring. It didn’t take long to get used to the layout.
I travelled as light as I could with my trusty old Billingham camera bag, a Nikon D800 with 3 lenses, and 2 Nikon SB800 Speedlights. After a few days, I was glad that I’d invested in a lightweight Manfrotto tripod.
The BID area stretches from The Museum and Art Gallery at one end to Worcester County Cricket Club at the other, about a mile, plus the same in the other directions.
I made the most of the hospitality shown to me by the pubs, coffee houses, restaurants and cafés that I visited, and quickly worked out that if I turned up at the right time and asked to photograph a restaurant’s signature dish I would probably end up eating it! Everyone was so friendly and eager to help with the photographic process that the whole project was a complete joy.
On a visit to Worcester Royal Porcelain, I photographed the wonderful Henry Sandon, of Antiques Roadshow fame and ended up chatting to him over a lovely pot of Earl Grey, poured from a porcelain teapot of course!
When I had time to spare, I would go and sit by the river and just chill out for a bit, or walk up to college green and explore the magnificent Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace, and generally taking photographs of different aspects of the City for possible use in the book.
I made 27 visits to Worcester over a five month period, photographing food, interiors, portraits of shop owners and local business men and women, and drank some of the best coffee I have ever tasted, at the many superb coffee shops in Worcester.
The final photograph was for the front cover, and it was decided that we would use the very old and picturesque Friar Street. I stood on top of a very high and shaky ladder for over an hour, waiting for the perfect moment when people were in just the right position.
Thanks go to Guy, Roger, Pippa and Sam at Modus Creative, Adrian Field and Nadja von Dalen from Worcester BID, and Pat Spence who wrote all the lovely words. Also, all the fab business owners who made me feel so welcome, and my amazing Loake brogues for coping so well with all the walking. (See image)
If you’ve never visited Worcester, you’re missing a little gem in the heart of England. Pick up a copy of ‘Uniquely Yours’ from the tourist information office. Don’t forget your camera, and if you need a guided tour…….. ;)
Click on the link to see the online version of the book: