#481 – Millscapes Exhibition Preparation 3

I’d previously visited the museum and photographed and measured the gallery space. Having precise measurements had been both a burden and a godsend for my previous exhibitions, and in the end, I decided that there was more than enough room and it would fit, one way or another!

Saddleworth Dimensions 1

What I always do when laying out any portfolio, book or exhibition, is to get a load of small prints and spread them out on the floor. I can then see the visual relationships between not only adjacent images, but also as a whole. One wall is a clear flat wall and this is where I will display the 20 images in the ‘original’ frames. The other wall is interrupted by two pillars, however this does allow for natural breaks and becomes the logical place to have a mix of larger and smaller images. However, rather as my selection of images was limited, it was a case of having to do a best fit. Previously, image selection was linked to layout and I did the two hand in hand but the circumstances here were a little different. But I still came up with something I was reasonably happy with even if it lacked a tangible visual narrative.

But the map is not the territory! When I got there I noticed that there were no hanging rails on the pillars, and that when on the walls the larger frames still looked a little lost, while the medium size frames all looked bunches up together. So an ad hoc reshuffle was required.


I’ve learned from past experience that you do your own promotion!

The poster was based on the one I’d used for my previous exhibitions. It was based on a rough design by myself and then made to look more professional by my sister who is a  graphic designer for a major media company.

Once done, I used this as the basis of my publicity on the various places I inhabit the internet (this blog, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, The View From The North, Mechanical Landscapes the Talk Photography forum and even my occasionally used Twitter account) well as by the museum on their website. I also made contact with the local camera club where I recently did a talk, and uploaded it to the website of Redeye, the northwest Photographic Network that I am a member of.

A3 prints of the poster were produced and put up in the museum to capture the attention of passing foot traffic. Next step will be to put up a few posters in suitable locations round the Saddleworth area such as libraries, etc.



#480 – Millscapes Exhibition Preparation 2

Due to the quantity of mounts involved, I decided that cutting my own would take too long (it’s a laborious task) , so I decided to buy pre-cut mounts. I meant to order single mounts but as I was in a hurry to order them (during a 5 minute lunch break between meetings….) I ended up ordering double mounts. I thought they were expensive, and noticed that for some inexplicable reason, the website had automatically added backing boards and bags, so by the time I’d deleted them the price had halved and I pressed ‘buy’ without realising I could have paid even less! Act in haste, repent at leisure? Actually no (apart from the cost).

The double mounts look brilliant, they really set the prints off, especially as I’ve printed slightly smaller and left a 5mm border round the prints giving them a really crisp look. I pondered printing the image smaller still and writing a title by hand underneath but I couldn’t be bothered making (or ordering) custom mounts.
I’ve had to cut my own mounts for the bigger images, purely on cost grounds as 4 custom sized mounts would have been excessively expensive. I managed to buy some giant mount board from a local framer and cut these down to size then did the maths to work out the size needed for a window with gap round the image (easier said than done).

Framing was thereafter a simple task of popping the mounted images into a frame. I already had 20 frames from my previous three exhibitions, and over several months had been buying the four big 80×60 cm frames from Hobbycraft. Given the large wallspace at the gallery, I decided that I needed a few more smaller frames so I took some 40x50cm frames off my wall and used them. As these were Hobbycraft ones, they match the 80×60 frames, but for some reason are 2mm smaller on each edge than my other frames so required some careful trimming of the mounts.
And so I now have a huge stack of mounted, framed prints on my floor!

#479 – Millscapes exhibition preparation

A few of the prints I’ll be mounting and framing this weekend and over the next week…..

So there’s a couple of weeks to go before I set up the Millscapes exhibition at Saddleworth Museum, and I thought I’d do a post on the preparation.

Unlike my previous exhibitions, this one contains photographs from just two sites – Bailey Mill and Wellington Mill. This has given me some different challenges to previous exhibitions:

1) the body of work to choose from is signicantly smaller

2) the photographs I have to choose from are not my best work, and were taken early on in my photographic journey, so from a technical and aesthetic viewpoint are notes good as my more recent work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as proud of them as any other photos, and there are a number of images from Bailey Mill that are in my portfolio, but I’ve yet to photograph anywhere and got 20 or more winners out of the shoot.

But, I realise that I’m being selfish here –  this exhibition is more about the mills than massaging my ego and showing my best work, and I’m happy to have the chance to exhibit in such a great little gallery. A few months back I visited the gallery to measure up and take a few pictures to help me plan my layout and so I could visualise how my exhibition would look.

I realised that with the space available, and the number of frames I have (20), then I’d need to do something a bit different to my previous exhibitions. I found that my local  Hobbycraft sells large 60x80cm frames, that while they don’t match my existing frames, are far cheaper than the equivalent custom made frames. So I invested in four of these, and bought some very large mount board from my local framers as I can cut my own mounts. 

The Saddleworth Museum gallery – I’ve got to fill this!

Two of the 60x80cm frames

What I can’t do is print bigger than A3, so I had to order enlargements from Photobox when they had a decent offer on (they’re a bit pricey otherwise!). The camera I was using in 2007 was a 6 megapixel Nikon D70 so the file size by today’s standards is somewhat small. I enlarged these using the Benvista Photozoom software that I’ve had for a few years and the results are pretty good – not as good as the 15×12 prints off my printer which are at the native resolution, but certainly acceptable.  I’m working on the basis  that viewing distance for larger prints is supposedly greater, although I’m sure there will be some visitors who will want to view them from a nose length away!

To complement my own images, the Museum have generously allowed me to use some historic images from their archive. These are of a variety of sizes and resolutions so I’m going to keep these away from the really big frames.

#478 – My next exhibition – ‘Millscapes’ at Saddleworth Museum and Art Gallery

Saddleworth Millscapes Poster FINAL lo-res

I’m excited to announce that my next exhibition is at the lovely Saddleworth Museum and Art Gallery, opening on the 11th November and running until the 4th December. Unlike my previous exhibitions, this exhibition will be a display of the photographs I took of two Saddleworth mills – Bailey and Wellington – in 2007. Wellington was demolished in 2010 and Bailey burned down in 2016, so this is a last look at what I found in the mills.

I have also been given the privilege of exhibiting a number of historic images of the mills from the Museums archives, these provide a fascinating background and show the changes to the local landscape over the last century.

More details to come!


#477 – Reduced price copies of The View From The North 2007-2017 book!


OK, so I’ve bought a few copies of The View From The North 2007-2017 book for sale at my talks, so it makes sense to try and peddle it here as well. If you buy it direct from Blurb it’ll cost £26 (plus 7 quid P&P) but I bought these during a discount offer so I’ve priced them at a nice round £20 (plus 5 quid P&P – it’s quite heavy). Interested? You can review (or purchase) the full book at Blurb here: http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/7944325-view-from-the-north-10-year-192-page

The reduced price copies are for sale on my Selz site here:

#473 – Derelict Ship at Glasson Dock 2

In the past, Glasson Dock has been used for ship breaking (and building) occasionally, so it may well be that Merger meets her end where she now lies.

I visited primarily to try out an ND filter, but found that the tide didn’t rise high enough for me to get the pictures I’d envisioned, but at least it’s not too far away for a reshoot the next time a higher tide is forecast.

#472 – Derelict Ship at Glasson Dock 1


I know nothing of this little ship, other than it used to be a dredger based at Glasson Dock. Named ‘Merger’,  internet pictures show it with an excavator positioned near the bow, presumably for clearing the channels of the Lune for the coastal shipping that uses this small Lancashire Port.


It looks like its service has now ended and the ship has been beached just to the west of the port, away from the quay used by the large coasters that are too big to enter the basin.


I don’t know how long she’s been beached, quite a while judging by the condition.