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.

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 ???

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.

12-12-12 A cold and frosty day in Swindon

I thought I would celebrate 12-12-12 (lets face it I am not going to be around in 89 years for the next one)!!!! by going out into a Cold and Frosty Coate Water and take some images. It was a lovely walk around. I met lots of different people. One who was getting in and out of the water carrying out an inspection on the bridge. He had of course a team of people with him for health and safety ( supplying hot coffee)!!! He was a nice chap, not only did he enjoy his job but was interested in photography and was more than happy to pose for me. I also met a chap feeding the birds. They must have been really hungry as they were giving him a real hard time trying to get to the food. They must be struggling a bit at the moment.
All in all a nice but cold couple of hours.

Swindon Children In Need Steam Museum

OK, so no images on this post and I dont want it to sound like sour grapes or anything but ..

A few weeks ago I applied for a Media Pass for the Children in Need event here in Swindon at the Steam Museum. I am a local Swindon resident, I am a photographer/photojournalist published locally, Nationally and Internationally, published author and have been CRB checked and a member of the NUJ and I couldnt get a media pass. Between the BBC and the Steam Museum they decided that only one photographer would be allowed in and that they would own the copyright to all of those images!!!

Firstly I dont understand the logic of that decision (I will be questioning them on it), but, more importantly, for me and indeed for any aspiring photographer or photojournalist, how does one develop in the industry if, when there are major events like this, one cannot get a media pass?

I know that this is a hard industry to be in, I know that it is who you know and not always what you know, I understand that contacts mean everything but when every opportunity is hit with a brick wall, it’s difficult to know how to get the breaks. I am 57 years old and have a huge amount of experience in the military and the corporate world so not quite so important for me but I feel sorry for young people just starting out in this industry.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and meanwhile I continue to pursue every avenue for future stories and photos.

Pete

Swindon new independent businesses or not

Well today it was announced that there were less independent businesses being created than for the last few years.
I wonder why this is.
Do you think it may be because nobody is prepared to help and I mean really help small businesses other than giving them a high interest bank loan or charging them high business rates???!!!!!! Here in Swindon despite the lack of help, small businesses are starting up. Ok if you look at the images attached there are quite a few boarded up shops that make the place look bad, but two of them show new businesses that have recently started trading, one of which only opened a few days ago.
Lets get rid of more of the dark seedy looking shopfronts, replace them with new and exciting new businesses, the better it looks the more chance of even more investment. The above are all in Old Town Swindon. The main ‘New’ part of Swindon is having a long needed huge amount of investment and being redevelopment. Lets not forget about Old Town eh.