Apart from being my homage to Kim Sayer's beautiful book Dinky Toys, this blog is also an 'In Memoriam' for the fact that Kodak no longer make film cameras. Many of us will have made our first awkward attempts at taking photographs with a Box Brownie, or the later Instamatics, eagerly awaiting our glossy black and white or coloured rectangles to be ready at the chemists. It was some time ago that we stopped sending our slide films in yellow envelopes to Hemel Hempstead, when slide processing moved out to the Land of the Cuckoo Clock. Oh the joys of slow old Kodachrome, so magnificently celebrated by Paul Simon, and the blue-toned Ektachrome that was the first film I looped into my 1970 Yashica. All those yellow boxes in attics, stuffed full of little cardboard or plastic mounts. My father swore by Kodachrome, taking off his thick-rimmed Philip Larkin spectacles to peer myopically through viewfinders. ("Always put something red in the picture boy".) And literally swearing when he had to struggle with an Aldis projector and screen in order to show my Aunt Rosalie's slides (usually of her Cyclemaster propped up against banana trees in the Nigerian bush) to open-mouthed audiences in remote Leicestershire chapels. Photographs taken on film, I suppose, will never completely disappear, but will one day recede to become the fine art it was at its inception. Goodbye Box Brownie, goodbye opening the back up too soon and finding you've fogged all the film.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)