2 December 2020
Another Picture – Another Story … the continuing trawl through a press photographer’s archive
I’ve heard it said, more than once, that just about anything you can think of will have some connection somewhere to Swindon. Well, the briefest of trawls through Another Picture – Another Story, demonstrates how true that is. Swindon IS the centre of the universe!
They say that every picture tells a story. Well that’s certainly true of this offering from Richard Wintle of the Calyx Picture Agency. And the book we’re talking about here is part two of a series. Richard published part one: A picture is only the start of the story last year, via Hobnob Press.
(NB: Hobnob Press are also the kind publishers of my latest publication. #justsaying)
About the book
The best way to describe the book itself is to use some of Richard’s own words from the inside cover:
‘As a press photographer, I take pictures of life. And, as an archivist of pictures, I store life’s stories. Stories that quite often a theme. Some are happy and some are sad … Most stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. And with many picture stories the start is a long way from the end – sometimes it’s years. In wading through my archive, I have found links between stories that never existed at the time.’
So the structure of this book then is, as you’d imagine, stacks of great photographs linked together by Richard’s recollections of the events they belong to.
For Dr Who fans it’s something of a wibbly wobbly, timey wimey hop, skip and jump through different times and events in Swindon’s history. And that’s an appropriate analogy given that the book features Dr Who and the Daleks. Obey! Obey! Resistance is futile!
Note though, the contents of the book are not entirely Swindon-centric. There’s world events too. But you need to buy the book to see why.
So what’s in it then?
Well – Lydiard looms large of course. As you’d expect Lydiard House and Park are more than bit players in this production. As too are the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. Indeed as you can see, the front cover features the Princess of Wales herself. All as apposite as it can be given that The Crown is running on Netflix at the moment.
Returning to Lydiard – at the very start of the book we see images of events at Lydiard with The Queen. Hard to conceive though it may be, there was a time when the importance of that house and park was not so well appreciated as it is now. Richard describes how, when scanning in some pictures from the 1980s/early 1990s, he had only one negative. And the legend on this negative was a simple: ‘house in Lydiard Park’. An indication of the lack of that aforementioned lack of appreciation.
Right – I haven’t yet finished the book, I’m about halfway. And so far I’ve encountered snow, stations, shopping and snakes. Also bricks, bears and brass bands. And I know there’s trains, planes and automobiles. You get the idea – everything you can think of and more.
Why buy it?
Well – if you have only the most passing of interests in Swindon you – or someone you know – is sure to get something from this book – if only looking at the pictures! Plus – it’s not ‘history’ as such. If the very mention of that word brings you out in a hive then you need have no fears with this book. You can put the anti-histamines away. It’s chock full of all manner of ‘well I never knew that’ moments. It’s a brilliant gift for that ‘hard-to-buy-for’ friend or family member – or a treat for yourself.
And besides all that – Richard will donate £1 from every book sold to the Neuroendocrine Cancer UK – a charity that Richard has good reason thank. Isn’t that a good reason too?