David Cameron launches Conservative Party Manifesto in Swindon

Wow, what a morning. I was photographing at The Conservative Party Manifesto launch here in Swindon this morning.
It was presented by Prime Minister David Cameron but George Osborne and Theresa May both made speeches as well.
I have never seen so many famous faces in one place. The security must have been a nightmare. I think the whole of the Cabinet was there as was Samantha Cameron. Not only that, there were all of the famous journalists that I have only ever seen on TV. And I was in the media room with them.

Star struck, me nooooooo.

Swindon Farmers Market Returns

Well for a number of reasons I have not blogged for a while. I have been in Spain for a couple of weeks and since being back I have carried out some photo shoots that I am not contractually allowed to use yet. But I am back now and will be blogging again on a more regular basis.

This shoot was for and about the first day of the return of the Farmers Market in Swindon. The market has not been held for about a year and was greatly missed. The market has now been reinstated and will be held every Thursday from now on.
It was interesting from my point of view as the stall holders were very friendly and happy to pose but it was so good to see how positive they were about the economy and the future. The bread sold out in the first few hours and the vegetables were not far behind either. I had heard that generally people are starting to spend a little more on quality rather than quantity and from what I could see they could be right.

So get yourself down there on Thursdays and get not just fresh but really tasty (yes I did try everything whilst I was there)!!! fruit, veg, bread etc.

Swindon when one door shuts another door opens…….

Well, this post just reflects what I believe to be true in life in general.

Today a new store opened in Swindon Town Centre. Peacocks the clothing retailer opened up a new store. Nice and clean and warm, with plenty of stock and nice staff. Whilst only a few doors down HMV is closing down, selling off all of it’s stock at hugely discounted prices. What a shame for not just the staff that work there but for Swindon Town.

I believe in progress and new technology and the internet etc but I also do not want to see the High Street become a ghost town and I will support it as much as I can. However what I do believe in is:-

When one door shuts another one opens …..

Swindon Launch of Verelogic IT Recruitment Company

Another of my jobs last week was the Launch Party for the New Company Verelogic IT Recruitment. I think I have it right in saying that Verelogic IT Recruitment is a sister company of the well established Verelogic IT company that has been in Swindon for 20 years now. For me not only was it a lovely party well organized by the event coordinator Kirsty Heber-Smith but it shows that all is not doom and gloom in the economy. New things are happening, companies are springing up here in Swindon, jobs are out there for the taking, Swindon economy isnt all bad news and depression. In fact all of the people that I talk to in small businesses are quite positive at the moment.
Just to temper my enthusiasm I do know that there are major companies here that are laying people off right left and centre. I have friends who have been made redundant recently and are being made redundant. But it all seems to be the big major companies who do not seem to be able to manage themselves properly. Smaller companies to me, seem to be far more efficient and effective in what they are doing and therefore quite a few are growing and employing.

Well done to Verelogic IT Recruitment. Keep it up.

Republic Retail Clothing Stores May Be Going into Administration

republic clothing store

republic clothing store

republic clothing store

republic clothing store

It is generally thought that the Republic Retail Clothing Chain will be going into Administration tomorrow (Wednesday 13th). Country wide this could mean up to 1000 job losses including those in Swindon. These two images are of the Swindon Branch of Republic clothing and despite when I was taking these images there seemed to be a fairly good and steady foot fall through the store, countrywide the trading figures are poor and from what I can see the trade seem to think that the clothing chain will be going into administration.

Watch this space I guess.

Sunday Project – No More

Well no photo of Sunday anymore. Why? I have been carrying out quite a bit of research and despite it being only the 4th Sunday of the year I have decided to bin it because it is not providing any benefit to me or anybody else. Stats are showing very few hits on those posts and to be honest I can understand why. There is no theme and is therefore completely random and unless I am on another assignment then I am just taking an image just for the sake of it with very little thought behind it. With very little information around the photo, why it was taken etc then why would anybody actually be interested in reading it.

What I should be doing more of is explaining things and why I do them, how I do them etc.

So as a start, I did a small photo shoot this morning. It was only mug shots for the person to send off as part of his profile as part of a competition. It was carried out in a gym, (in the squash court to be precise) where lighting is just awful. And short of getting the flash and umbrellas out it was a case of the ISO at 3200 and hope for the best. I just did not feel happy with the results which prob will suffice for what it was for but I just did not feel satisfied. Which at the end of the day is what it is all about for me. I have to feel emotionally involved in what I am doing and I didnt. Is that true of all professional photographers? I dont want to just earn money and not feel as though I have not done a good job.

So this blog is going to go back to the Swindon News/Photojournalism and I am not going to try to combine other things with it.

Likewise I am going to re-design my website to provide a better experience, better show case for my better images from both the UK and Spain and try to make it more interesting.

Swindon Economy Positive, Negative or Neutral ???

Well in line with latest news about results from Argos, Curry’s/Dixon, Mothercare etc I thought I would take a quick look at what is going on in Swindon.

To me it looks about Neutral. Some places are struggling and closing, others are opening and others are keeping their heads above water. It is too early to say what the effects of the redundancies at Honda and other local companies will be but I can see more closing than opening. Just wandering around Swindon as I do the Town Centre does not seem to be getting the footfall through the day that it used to.

What does it look like to you ???

Swindon – Whats going on ???

Well, first day back in Swindon and what am I faced with. Jessops going into administration and Honda laying off 800 workers. Blimey, depressing or what. Well, I am not so sure. Firstly Jessops have been having problems for years and I believe that they have not really moved with the times and the demands of the market. And of course there are other really good Camera shops in Swindon. Honda, well yep I have to say this is bad news. Have Honda got it wrong, yep I would say so, and having been made redundant twice myself I feel for those who are going to lose their jobs. I do think that it will affect the local economy as well as another 800 people looking for jobs that are not really there. Also, and it has not been really advertised very much but Alcatel-Lucent the Telecomms Company based in Westlea are also making people redundant. In some areas 1 in 4 people are going!!!! Ok not as many as Honda by any means but does need to be highlighted.

However, new business is picking up, people are hiring, there is a positive vibe going around but more in the small business arena rather than big business. Poppins Cafe is one example, is it new?, I have not noticed it before!!! People may not like the jobs that are on offer, they may not like the starting salaries etc but to me work is work and you just have to get on with it and not rely on the state to do it all for you. If you have the drive and determination you can do anything.

The Pain in Spain …….

Well, this isn´t a blog about news in Swindon but the other place I spend a lot of time. My girlfriend lives in a small village in rural Andalucia, Spain called Freila. It is not the Spain of tourists and English bars, but one where there are very few other English people and you really need to be able to speak Spanish. In England we hear all about how the Spanish are having it really hard at the moment. Well it is true. There is a very limited social welfare system here in Spain and it is very easy and very common for people here to have absolutely no income whatsoever nor any benefits. Entire families are thrown out on to the streets and it is only because it is a very family orientated society and families look after each other that most are just about surviving. But what about those who have no family. Suicides have already taken place by some of the homeless.
The photos above are just a small view of what is happening. The mainstay of the local income has been hardhit by the early heavy rains and the intense heat of the summer leading to shrivelled and dry olives. Some small land owners are not harvesting their olives at all as the sale price is so low it is not economically worth it and so the olives are left to rot on the trees. Also even in a tiny rural village like Freila where houses and caves are very cheap, they are not selling or being left half way through being built.
In England we get the impression that all Spaniards live on the coast, own bars or hotels and earn quite a lot of money from tourists. That is definitely not my experience of what is going on over here.