Incredible Legacy

A while back I pledged to support the publication of John Downing’s book, LEGACY, through a Kickstarter campaign run by Bluecoat Press.

I’d previously supported Jim Mortram’s hard-hitting social documentary book Small Town Inertia in the same way and since John’s book required a ‘mere’ £8,000.00 to come to fruition, I thought it would be a great opportunity to see the photojournalism of a man who spent 50 years covering everything from Royalty to tragedy, the everyday to the extraordinary in a single book.

In the event the campaign smashed the target, raising a staggering £31,836.00, raised by 495 backers, which is testament to the level of respect and interest in his work.

My copy arrived today, and I was thrilled to realise I’d forgotten that my pledge level included a signed print of The Beatles taken at the press launch of Sgt Pepper in 1967. I think there will be a special place in my office for that print once it’s framed.

It’s almost pointless me saying much about John’s work; I’m genuinely not worthy to comment. You have to see the book to realise what a towering talent he has. His photos, regardless of what they show, always demonstrate an absolute command over his skills.

Whether the photos are of breathtaking, tragic or everyday subjects, there’s always an extra ingredient in his handling of the subject before him which just leaves you breathless. The sheer range of stories he has covered is astonishing enough, and far too many to list here.

My best advice is to buy a copy. Even if you have no interest in photography or photojournalism, buy it. You will learn something about history, about the human condition and you never know, you might learn something about yourself too.

Going Underground

Last week I was commissioned to take pictures in one of the most challenging locations I think I have ever had to work; Wookey Hole caves. Bear in mind, I’ve worked within the Arctic Circle, at the top of a 100ft hospital incineration chimney and from the deck of a helicopter over The Solent, but in terms of technical challenge I think this takes the prize.

The client was Somerset Art Works (SAW), organisers of Somerset Art Weeks Festival, a fortnight of open studios and events across Somerset. My job was to get photos of the launch event, but due to restrictions imposed by Wookey Hole I couldn’t use flash (it would disturb the bats) and by the artist (I couldn’t release my shutter during the live audio recording of the art work), I had to get everything I could during set-up and rehearsal.

There were some lights which the team had set up, but there was really only one that was usable for me, so I made the most of it and concentrated on getting shots of the choir as they rehearsed. I also had to get shots of guests and speeches, and there was a lot of help from mobile phone torches to make that even remotely possible.

For this gallery I’ve chosen a few of the choir photos because they’re the strongest standalone images from the set.

For full details, see the SAW Facebook page, from which I’m quoting their post:

Somerset Art Weeks Festival launched last Friday (20 September) evening at Wookey Hole Caves with new work by Ben Rivers, with the opening speech by Arts Council England Chief Executive, Darren Henley. Thanks to Somerset Film at The Engine RoomArts Council England Wookey Hole Caves team for making this possible, and to everyone at the event for supporting us.

Somerset Art Weeks until 6 October. Celebrating 25th year. https://somersetartworks.org.uk/artweeks

Nothing to do with photography. An Essay.

This article is apropos of absolutely nothing to do with photography, but it’s an idea I’ve been thinking of committing to words for some time now.

If you’re a driver, or interested in technology, or the environment, you might find this an interesting read. You’ll be the judge. I warn you though, it’s not a short piece, so get the coffee and biscuits ready. Maybe a sleeping bag too.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or in a cave for the last few decades you’ll know that the environment is under pressure as never before, and that if we do nothing to address this we will all end up living under rocks or in caves.

We know our driving habits are just one aspect of modern life which needs to change. While the bogeyman du jour is diesel, petrol cars are at least as bad for the environment and simply replacing our diesel/petrol cars with electric isn’t going to solve the issue of energy consumption. It might push pollution out of our towns and cities, but it’ll still be a major factor in climate change.

What the environment needs is a massive shift in how we own and use cars and how we travel.

Most people seem to be of the view that the future lies in simply switching from one form of propulsion to another, that whatever car they have now, they will one day switch to an electric version of it and this will solve everything, but this simply isn’t radical enough. It doesn’t look far enough ahead and as I’ve already said, it doesn’t address the fundamental issues affecting the environment or climate change.

I won’t go into too much detail about why this simple switch isn’t enough, we already know the problems caused by battery production, electricity generation, life-span maintenance and eventual disposal. Instead I want to focus on how radically our private transport solutions will change in order to make an effective impact on the health of our planet.

Ok, so we know we need to make fewer journeys by car, and we need to make those journeys more effective, so how about if we start from scratch? I mean literally from a point where nobody owns a car?

That’s not such a radical idea. Figures for 2016 show 86% of new cars were bought under personal contract purchase (PCP) agreements. In other words, only 14% of drivers owned the (new) cars they paid for. The rest had them on plans under which the car was effectively owned by the dealership.

That’s the first step towards a new way of motoring. How about taking it a step further, and instead of motorists paying hundreds of £s a month for a car they don’t own, they pay for a contract plan which allows them to use the car they need, when they need it, without ever keeping the same car from one journey to the next?

That’s a taxi isn’t it? Well no it isn’t, at least not in the way I’m thinking.

Here’s the next piece of the jigsaw puzzle: We all know about driverless vehicles (DVs), but at the moment they seem like space-age technology and we’ll never live long enough to see them in common use. You know, like computers were never going to be widely owned. Or “radio telephones”. Believe me, just like those old technologies which we assumed would never hit the mass market, DVs will be everywhere before we know it.

What you probably currently think though is that one day you might own an electrically-powered DV. Actually, I don’t believe you will. Ok, some of you will own one because you don’t have the imagination to see a life where you don’t keep a car you chose personally in front of your house, but you’ll probably be a minority with money to waste on things you don’t need.

So how does this utopian dream work?

Let’s say you need a car to get to work. This might be a regular commute, or (like me) an irregular commute at irregular times and almost always to a different location. It actually doesn’t matter because the electric DV (let’s call them EDVs) will pick you up according to your schedule requirements and take you wherever you need to go. It’s still sounding like a driverless taxi, but stay with me.

Unlike a taxi, there will be a few fundamental differences; as I say, there won’t be a driver, but also the car will be exactly the right size for your requirements and if your requirements change, a more suitable vehicle will be along in a just a minute to take you to your next destination.

Let me elaborate: You book the car you need using an app. If it’s just you commuting, you book a 1-seater car. If a few people need a car on the same route at the same time, the app will offer to send a larger share car for a discount. You take your pick.

Let’s say you get to your initial destination and decide you need a larger vehicle – maybe you need one which carries more people, or one which ‘could’ carry more people, but you need to flatten the seats to take a long load, well just get on the app and within minutes of booking, a replacement EDV will come along. The first EDV you booked will go off to the next person who needs it.

One of the problems with owning a car is that it’s often the wrong shape or size for what you need. Most of us drive around with 4 or 5 empty seats in our cars, but with the scheme I’ve outlined above, we could save car space, energy and road space by only driving a car of the size we need for any specific journey.

Indeed the shapes of cars in a driverless, fully-electric world could be very radically different. How about just one rear-facing seat? Or a circular cabin for 4 or 6 people? For long journeys, what about a car you can bed down and sleep in?

In a properly driverless world, cars which can’t crash can be designed in a much wider variety of shapes. They can be made from much lighter materials because they won’t need crumple zones or side impact protection bars. The full range of possibilities is beyond imagination right now.

Also in this wonderful future you are freed from loan plans, fuel costs, servicing, MoTs, insurance, or having to spend weekends washing a car which is rapidly depreciating outside your house.

And that’s another thing; as a percentage of the time you own a car, how much of that time does it spend idle outside your house, your place of work, or even at the shops? I can’t calculate an accurate figure, but for most of us it’s got to be around 75% or more unless you’re sharing your car with someone else who drives it at night when you’re asleep.

That’s a ridiculous amount of time to have something you’re paying several hundred £s a month for just to be sitting around doing nothing. I hear business people and politicians banging on about efficiency, well where’s the efficiency in that?

So an EDV you don’t own will be more efficient, because the minute you no longer need it, it can go and be useful to someone else. Even at night.

Now imagine if most of us switched to “communal” EDVs and got rid of our cars. Suddenly the number of vehicles cluttering up our kerbsides, drives and car parks would reduce massively. There would be the occasional EDV, but we’d see our streets again. We could re-shape them, plant them up, re-plan one-way streets to make the most of what we have.

Our streets would be safer for pedestrians and cyclists too. In fact, more people would choose to walk and cycle precisely because it would be safer to do so, and because the air would be sweeter to breathe.

Returning to the question of the environment, ask yourself which would be better: Millions of electric cars being built to replace the cars we own as individuals, or EDVs only being manufactured in numbers sufficient to meet real need? If not everyone is driving all the time (and no one is), we only need sufficient vehicles to service the journeys actually made, not to have them sitting doing nothing.

The savings in steel, alloys, plastics, glass, batteries and so on would be enormous, as would the savings in energy because EDVs would only be charged when they needed it. I bet a lot of electric vehicle owners find themselves having to top-up charge simply because the car has been sitting idle for long periods between journeys.

Of course all this will require a great deal of re-adjustment in individual thinking. We’d all have to give up the desire to own our cars. Some of us would already do this gladly, if given the opportunity, but I suspect there are many who still believe that the environment is someone else’s problem and they will cling to car ownership for as long as legislation allows them to. For the rest of us I imagine a very sudden switch from ownership to contract plan fuelled by the biggest scrappage scheme ever undertaken.

There will always be classic cars which people will want to keep (those Maestros and Cavaliers with their nostalgic tug back to the 1980s…) and I get that, but they’ll be such a minority that their environmental impact will become minimal. And eventually, once fuel becomes too scarce or expensive, they’ll eventually be permanently garaged; preserved in aspic or gently rotting away.

Likewise there will be every specialist vehicle from ambulances to ice cream vans for which a shared EDV equivalent won’t exist. Again, these are a minority on our roads, so losing everything except them will still mean a great environmental gain.

There would of course be great societal upheavals too. Taxi drivers would be a thing of the past. Traditional car mechanics will have a dwindling trade. We won’t need as many car parks. There will be economic impacts I can’t even begin to imagine, but as ever, this won’t stop progress.

My hope is that this might be one form of progress which, rather than crushing all that went before with no tangible benefit to mainstream society, will bring benefits to far more people as well as the environment itself.

One thing is for sure though; just replacing what we do now with a slightly shinier version which runs on a battery isn’t going to solve the issues we face. We’re going to have to think far more radically than that, and we’re going to have to be quick about it too. The question is, do we have the imagination and the will, and can we do it before it’s too late?

Backup! Backup!

Have you ever lost precious photographs? Some treasured family photos which you accidentally erased, or can only find on an unreadable hard drive? It’s a fear I share, except for me it’s not the photos of personal memories I worry about so much as the corporate website or brochure photos I’ve taken.

Perhaps worry is too strong a word, but it’s true that the minute I’ve finished taking photos for a client, I start taking precautions to ensure the safety of the photos.

Much of my work could be re-shot in the event of a disaster, but think of the inconvenience for my clients to have to re-organise colleagues for a head shot session. It will have been difficult enough to coordinate diaries the first time around; it might prove even trickier the second time. Other events are impossible to re-stage, which means image security is even more critical.

For starters, let’s take the journey back to the office. If I need to stop at a service station (or anywhere) on the way home, I’ll make sure I remove the memory cards from the cameras and take them with me. The same goes for any occasion on which I need to leave my car unattended. In the event of a break-in, all my kit is covered, but I don’t want my client’s photos stolen too.

Once I get back to base I’ll transfer the images from the memory cards and onto my laptop. I duplicate them onto an external hard drive too, so if the laptop suddenly dies I’ve already got one backup copy of the work.

I’ll do my captions and edits on the laptop version, but once that’s done I re-write the work to the external drive again. I then back up the external drive to a duplicate drive before erasing the job from my laptop. In the meantime, I’ll upload the edited high-resolution jpeg files to Photoshelter, which is where my clients access the files from.

At this point I’ll format the camera memory cards ready for the next job, but as you can see, by this stage the image files always exist in at least two places, with the high-res jpegs providing a third backup should both my external drives fail/go up in smoke.

For additional security the primary external hard drive stays at the office and the backup version comes home with me, so in the event of flood, fire, burglary, act of God, I should (SHOULD) be safe in the knowledge that one copy will always survive whatever disaster befalls the other.

All of this means that not only have I minimised the risk of not being able to deliver client images in the first instance, but that should the client subsequently lose the work, I should be able to re-supply it promptly.

Of course if a massive Solar flare strikes Earth, all my hard drives will get wiped. But then so will most of the internet and our energy supplies, water and transport… in fact modern life as we know it will come to a sudden halt and the army will be on the streets fighting pitched battles in a zombie apocalypse.

Some things you just can’t guard against.

Real People in a Digital World

When I think of the kinds of businesses which rely on stock images to illustrate their websites, I’d probably place IT support companies quite high in the table. I mean they’re into digital, noughts and ones and code, which has nothing to do with the real world, right? Well not really, but that helps explain why so may IT websites look the same – slick, but ultimately sterile.

Perhaps this is because IT companies don’t normally perceive that their clients would be interested in seeing anything beyond the service offer and price structure. Perhaps they don’t think personality is important, but as Jules says in Pulp Fiction, “Personality goes a long way”.

Ok, so Jules ends up machine-gunned to death on the toilet, but don’t let that put you off showing your personality! Sorry, this went downhill quickly. Let’s get back on track.

Certainly if you’re happy to run your business without properly engaging with your clients, I don’t recommend spending money on anything other than cheap stock photos, but one recent job reminded me that businesses with a positive culture will always benefit from featuring their own people in their website photography.

Netitude is a business which has grown fairly rapidly and is still expanding. Given it’s based in my home town of Frome, not known (yet) as the Silicone Valley of Somerset, Netitude is one of those business which most locals probably aren’t all that aware of, but which is doing remarkable things within its sector.

When the marketing assistant Lily got in touch the broad brief was to spend some time in their office working through a series of images to illustrate various areas of their website which needed a refresh. All the photos would feature real members of staff in genuine roles, not models pretending to do what Netitude does and not in an office potentially 1,000s of miles way.

The character of the businesses also shows through the images because the culture within Netitude is such that everyone I photographed knew why I was there and how to present themselves – friendly, approachable and professional. This character and culture is so important when communicating with current and potential clients.

Now rather than showing you a gallery of the images I came away with, I think it says far more to show the results in context which is why I’m showing a selection of screengrabs here. Alternatively, head over to the Netitude website for more information on what they do.

If you’re in the IT sector, don’t hide behind a bland website. It doesn’t matter what service people buy, they buy from people and if they can see your team, this helps build confidence. Of course I’ll be happy to discuss your options, so drop me a line any time via tim@timgander.co.uk.

Storms Now, but Storms Ahead Too?

Two nights ago we experienced the weirdest lightning storm anyone seems to remember witnessing. I had only seen something similar once, about 30 years ago in Germany, but even that was nothing compared to this more recent event.

Accompanied with Biblical rain, for almost an hour lightning lit up the night sky with astonishing frequency with BBC Weather reporting some 48,000 strikes nationally. It never struck Earth in my bit of Somerset, it was all cloud-to-cloud, which is what made it and its accompanying Hollywood thunder noise all the more eerie.

It happened to be the day we learned Boris Johnson was to be our new prime minister, and some speculated that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were about to burst through the clouds and lay waste to all that lay before them.

Of course politics and the weather are not so closely related. Setting aside political decisions which might cause or reduce global warming over generations, we can safely say this lightning storm and Bojo’s appointment are not that intertwined. However, as metaphors go its timing could not have been better.

So what of this new political future? Are we moving to the sunny uplands? Or hurtling towards a terrible storm? Anyone who knows my politics will be aware that I happen to believe Brexit is a very bad idea (putting it both mildly and diplomatically). However, it seems that’s where we are headed and whether we are inners or outers, we’re going to have to deal with whatever Brexit means.

It’s practically impossible to know how Brexit will affect my business. I know it will affect a great many people whose work takes them regularly in and out of the EU and their futures more than mine will rely on a sensible deal being reached about freedom of travel. For my part, looking back at my books over the period during which we were meant to leave, I’d say the uncertainty has definitely affected the willingness of businesses to press ahead with new projects. It’s been a real stop/start year so far.

Perhaps with a definite date in mind clients will feel better able to plan for October 31st and freer to make investment or expansion decisions. Sadly I suspect there is still a great deal of doubt about what Brexit will ACTUALLY mean. For all Mr Johnson’s energetic promises, he still has to deliver what Theresa May couldn’t and it still might not be the Brexit some people had in mind (while still managing to be the Brexit many never wanted).

I worry about the effect Brexit will have on those who have less control over their lives and fewer resources to deal with any negative consequences. I also know business will carry on one way or another. What is absolutely certain though is that nobody, not even Boris Johnson, has any real idea what to expect on the other side of all this. I think we can assume Boris will be ok, but beyond that, not much can be said with any certainty.

Possibly the most inconclusive conclusion I have ever written.

Nothing to see here… yet.

Don’t you hate it when a brand shows you a shadowy teaser photo of some slick new product? Often weeks or months before the product is on the market, Camera companies do it all the time and I’m sure other manufacturers do it to.

Well the good news is, I’m not about to show you some largely obscured piece of high-tech loveliness. No top-lit, low-key photo of a stippled aluminium surface designed to make you want the thing even before you have any idea what the thing actually is.

However, this week’s post is a little bit of a teaser (I almost typed “little teaser”, but decided that had unfortunate connotations).

Cutting to the chase, I am “this close” (holds forefinger and thumb of right hand approximately 1 3/4 inches apart) to launching a new website.

The new site is quite separate from this one because I’m very much continuing in the corporate communications photography business, but I felt that after 30 years as a photographer I should be stretching my creative wings even more.

The site will feature many of the works I’ve posted to Instagram, including chosen works from the Saxonvale and Skip Art projects and a lot more of my personal film photography, but re-digitised to a standard more suited to fine art prints than was originally the case.

Saxonvale was mostly scanned on a flatbed scanner which was destined for landfill, which while poetic in the context of the project, didn’t really give me the file quality I sought for anything beyond Instagram.

Once the site is live you can be sure I’m going to be banging dustbin lids together until everyone knows about it, so watch this space for more news, or just listen out for the clanging of cheap pressed steel.

Skills Challenge Challenge

The lack of recent blog posts is a result of the sheer volume of corporate photography work I’ve had on over the last few weeks, some new clients but also plenty of returning and recurring jobs. I’m sorry if you’ve missed me, but I’m also fairly sure you haven’t.

One of my favourite repeat assignments is the annual Society of Operations Engineers (SOE) Skills Challenge for bus and coach technicians. I blogged about this back in 2016, but to recap SOE is an association bringing together engineers from many sectors with the aim of maintaining and improving standards for the benefit of public safety through training and education of its members, and the skills challenge is a chance for technicians in public transport to test their skills and learn new ones.

The Skills Challenge takes place in June each year at S&B Automotive Academy in Bristol, and this was my fourth year of covering it.

My task is to get action shots of every contestant taking part during the event, which this year ran for an entire week. I can’t miss anyone because the pictures are used at the subsequent awards event to highlight the runners up and winners, so it’d be a bit awkward to miss a shot of someone who’s won a category. With 80 contestants taking part across the week, that’s a challenge within the challenge!

While it’s important that I capture a selection of shots of each participant, I also have to be wary of being too intrusive; many of the challenges are under timed conditions and require a great deal of concentration, so to get through everyone I have to use on-the-spot logistics to work out which challenges I can cover while the participant is in action and which I can set up to look like action when the participant is between challenges.

Further to that I also keep the client fed with “rush” images for their social media channels which they update during each day. Even then I have to be wary of showing anything which might give clues to participants who have yet to undertake the challenges, but who might be seeing the pictures on Twitter or Facebook. Sometimes it feels like I’m juggling with raw eggs, but it’s always a huge amount of fun.

The finished images are not only used for the awards event, but also feature in literature and display materials designed to promote SOE and the Skills Challenge for subsequent years, so I always ensure there’s a good choice of picture shapes for the client including images with space for design considerations.

I shot over 3,000 images over the week this year with a final edit to the client of just under 650, which will see them good for at least another year!

Besides the physical, mental and creative challenge of covering the event, perhaps the greatest pleasure is from working with the teams from SOE and S&B Automotive, who are incredibly good fun to be with, as well as all the contestants who without exception are friendly, accommodating and patient when it comes to having their photos taken.

So to celebrate another successful skills challenge, here’s a selection of images taken over the week. So until (hopefully) next year…

It was 20 years ago today (well, two weeks ago and more like 30 years, but now I’ve ruined the headline)

Good grief! It’s official! As of May 31st I’ve been a freelance photographer for 20 years!

If I’m honest, the anniversary rather passed me by as I was in the middle of various projects and assignments from which I have only this week started to emerge, blinking into the daylight. Hence it taking me two weeks to acknowledge the milestone at all.

So, gosh, what does one say at such a momentous time? And don’t forget, I was a staff photographer before that (and freelance before that again) and have been a professional photographer for 30 years now, so even I have to admit that’s some kind of achievement.

Rather than celebrating with a cake, I marked the occasion by doing my VAT return and accounts. I mean, what could be more rock ‘n roll than that?

What this anniversary does beg me to do is look back and expand on the lessons I’ve learned over the years. Well alrighty then.

Any photographer who has been going more than a decade will tell you they’ve had to weather a lot of storms and I have to say I’m sometimes amazed (and not a little grateful) that I’ve not only weathered them, but by many standards done pretty well.

Plenty of photographers have fallen by the wayside in the face of everything that’s been thrown at us, starting with news publishers making early (and often fateful) decisions to cut back the expensive parts of their businesses – journalism and photography.

Then came THE INTERNET and everything got turned on its head, not all of it especially constructive it has to be said, but increasingly I’m finding that there’s a return to basic principles which the internet and digital photography cannot change.

Indeed I’ve been feeling increasingly positive since the darkest days of the global recession when it looked like lack of client budget, the rise of micro-payment stock image sites and a general willingness to abuse copyright would conspire to terminate my industry altogether. There were certainly plenty of voices proclaiming the death of photography, yet I feel we’re at the start of a resurgence now.

A new respect for high quality, creative, original, unique photography means that simply by having stuck to my principles, not only do I find new clients regularly searching me out, but regular clients repeatedly returning for more work.

All this means I also have the capacity to feed my other passions; personal projects, documentary, working with film and exploring new ideas. The biggest lesson is, I believe, that sticking to my principles and passions has been what’s kept me going.

And then comes the inevitable question, “what about the next 20 years, Tim?”

I have no crystal ball, but I’m positive I’ll still be working hard as a photographer right up until ill health or the ultimate full stop mean I can no longer hold a camera. Who knows? That could be 30 or even 40 years from now, but it’s possible I’ll not be blogging by then. Perhaps you’ll hear about that milestone through some other medium yet to be invented, maybe through the cerebral implant we’ll all be fitted with by then.

Inspiration from a Skip

Unbeknownst to all but my inner circle of close advisers, friends, family, the guy on the checkout at my local Lidl and some random strangers in the street, I’ve been working on a top secret photo project which I can now reveal to you.

Skip Art is the title of a new series of pictures created as an appetiser to a major new exhibition, The Chemistry of Bronze, starting on Saturday 26th May (preview evening on Friday 25th – open to all!) and running until July 15th at Black Swan Arts gallery in Frome.

The Chemistry of Bronze will feature pieces by established UK artists as well as tools, illustrations and demonstrations explaining the bronze casting process by local foundry Art of a Fine Nature.

My involvement in the project came about when I was approached by the the exhibition curator and ceramic artist Hans Borgonjon to see if I’d be interested in creating a set of images to be displayed in the areas leading to the main exhibition hall which would be an appetiser to the main exhibition.

The idea intrigued me, so off I went to the foundry to have a look around and see what pictures I could make. My brief was wide open except for one caveat; I couldn’t directly illustrate the process of bronze casting as this would be thoroughly explained inside the main gallery.

Foundry owner Jon showed me the various areas of the workshop; the racks of rubber moulds, the workshop where the wax models are readied for encasing, the room where ceramic powder is built up over the wax models and the furnace in which the models are cast.

All the while I was having a mild panic inside, thinking this is all very lovely, but whatever I photograph will just look like an illustration of the process of making a bronze and I can’t show that!

Then Jon showed me the skip into which all the pieces of ceramic casing are swept once they’ve been broken from the cast bronze objects. He reached in and picked out a fragment to show me, and there was the impression of a gecko’s foot. I thought it was cute, but didn’t think much more about it until the middle of the night when I was lying in bed trying to come up with an angle on the project.

The image of the gecko’s foot kept swimming into my mind and it suddenly struck me that this was my angle.

So a day or two later I went back to the skip. Jon issued me with rubber gloves and a mug of tea and I spent the next couple of hours skip diving for interesting looking fragments in amongst the ceramic dust and rubble, picking out anything which had an interesting impression left on its surface. I was silently cursing myself that I hadn’t already kept the gekko foot and assumed it was lost forever in the bottom of the skip.

I’d pulled quite a few interesting pieces from the skip and was thinking of calling it a day when I decided to have one more look in an un-promising corner of the skip. That’s when I found the gecko’s foot Jon had shown me as well as the second, smaller foot you see in the photo. I was happy now and could go and make the photos.

The next few blog posts will reveal more about the project and the exhibition and keep you informed of progress as we head to towards the launch evening, so do watch this space.