A book about your company, project or programme is a great way to promote, celebrate or inform. Books have clout and are a real lasting legacy.
I'm working on two long-term book commissions, both about new buildings.
The Co-operative Group's new £100 million head office in Manchester is currently Europe's most environmentally advanced new office building. It's got great views too. I've been photographing its construction and interviewing dozens of people for a 160-page book, out in July 2013.
The second project is equally interesting but for different reasons. This book will chart the renovation of the 1930s Trafford Town Hall (back then it was Stretford Town Hall) and the construction of its ultra-modern extension. For this book I have been off on all sorts of intriguing tangents to engage the reader. Fascinating stuff.
Here's what some of my recent clients have to say about their books:
I grew that: Nurturing strong communities
Published April 2013
In 2003 ten Greater Manchester neighbourhoods won a share in a £50m handout from the Big Lottery Fund. Targetted at areas that had not received their ‘fair share’ of lottery funding, the Fair Share Trust programme set about redressing the balance.
Forever Manchester – the Community Foundation for Greater Manchester – has managed the scheme locally. In the last few months of the 10-year programme it commissioned me (and film-maker Simon Dinnigan), to investigate the impact. I call this book, 'an alternative evaluation' because it tells the stories of those who benefited from the scheme and those who put the effort in to make it work.
“I’d already read a few things Len had written when I was introduced to him, including his book, Billy and Rolonde and was really impressed with his writing style and ability to put across honest and compassionate insight. So, choosing him to write an alternative view of the Greater Manchester Fair Share Trust programme was an easy decision.
“I’m happy to say that the decision has proved to be a good one,. In 'I Grew That' we have a unique and brilliant record of what local people have achieved, told in their own words, steered with genuine skill by Len and enhanced by his photographs that capture the passion, determination and fun that always accompanies local people doing extraordinary things together.
“Len himself is amazingly easy to work with, a great ally and muse and a powerful community builder. I can’t wait to work with him again.”
Nick Massey DL, Chief Executive
Forever Manchester, the Community Foundation for Greater Manchester
See the book online here.
100 Years in the Making
Published October 2011.
Prepared for Cargill, Manchester as part of their centenary celebrations, it's a history not just of one company – a glucose factory on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal – but also a fascinating social, industrial and local history too. Drawing from interviews with past and present employees and research in local photo archives, this 128-page book follows the company from modest beginnings to multinational food producer.
For 100 Years in the Making I researched, interviewed, wrote, photographed (a little), edited and project managed. The book was expertly designed by Axis Graphic Design.
“From the very outset of the project, Len, through his experience and expertise was able to understand our needs and to communicate his ideas and vision for the book in very simple, straightforward terms. Meeting with retired and current employees, and using his very relaxed approach to put people at ease he was able to capture their memories and anecdotes and also went on to interview a number of them separately.
“Using both existing archive material and researching external sources the book began to come to life, even more so when Alan from Axis Graphic Design started to produce the first layouts. The balance within the book of text, photographs, quotes and illustrations is perfect for the casual reader and also a wider audience than just within our company. ‘100 Years in the Making’ is not just a company history, but also a social and industrial history reflecting on the changes that have taken place over the decades. We are absolutely thrilled with the finished book and to have worked with both Len and Alan has been a pleasure and a delight.”
John McGarrity, Regional Marketing Coordinator, Cargill
The Reclaim Book
Published March 2011.
This has been a fascinating book to produce. Reclaim is a Manchester-based youth project that provides a network of caring adults to support young people from disadvantaged communities. For several months I followed the ‘Gorton Girls’ as they progressed to their ‘graduation’ and I interviewed and photographed their parents and carers. I also made a ‘wacky’ cartoon strip to explain the ins and outs of this life-affirming programme.
For The Reclaim Book I interviewed, wrote, photographed, edited and project managed. The book was designed by Axis Graphic Design.
“Working with Len on this book was a brilliant experience for all of us from start to finish. When we hatched the idea to document the Reclaim project in a book: its methodology, the young people and their families, we knew that Len would be able to perfectly capture the essence of what we are trying to accomplish. He worked with us continually for eight months, quietly photographing, recording and interviewing throughout. He was never intrusive and became a trusted part of the project, to the point that the young people and their families were totally at ease around him, and his camera.
“We are utterly delighted with the finished book. It is witty, personal, poignant, detailed, beautifully photographed and designed but most importantly, it reflects the truth of our work. When read in conjunction with the accompanying DVD, in which many of the young people in the book feature, The RECLAIM Book stands as a positive testimony to the fantastic spirit of so many of Manchester’s young people who are determined to thrive.”
Ruth Ibegbuna, Director, Reclaim
Published January 2011.
This 96-page publication celebrates the work of Manchester City Council’s Cultural Regeneration Team. Fifty-five individual arts projects were profiled from Bangladeshi dance to wheelchair ballroom dancing and from a monster parade to a ‘Halloween Howler’.
For Snapshot I researched, interviewed, wrote, photographed, edited and project managed. The book was designed and printed by m-four.
“Having produced a great little publication in 08/09 for east Manchester, we commissioned Len to profile all of the city’s cultural regeneration programme for this latest Snapshot book. As a photographer and writer with an understanding of how engaging people in creative activities can change lives, he has accurately profiled both our activities and our approach to cultural regeneration. With professionalism and good humour, Len has steered us through an unfamiliar process and we now have a wonderful testament to the work of our team.”
Louise Sutton, Cultural Regeneration Manager, Manchester City Council
Reclaiming East Manchester: Ten Years of Resident-led Regeneration
Published March 2010.
In its 184 pages, this book follows the story of the New Deal for Communities programme. It includes dozens of interviews with residents and regeneration officers to offer a forthright account of the renewal process. Based on a timeline with quotes, facts and over 250 images, the book offers a real legacy of neighbourhood renewal.
For Reclaiming East Manchester I researched, interviewed, wrote, photographed, edited and project managed. The book was designed by Axis Graphic Design.
“Len was the ideal person to put our book together. Not only are his photographs consistently excellent but he has a particular empathy with local residents, encouraging them to share their experiences of the regeneration process. After some editorial consultation, we pretty much left him to it and he and Axis Graphic Design have produced an accessible and yet authoritative record of New Deal’s achievements in east Manchester.”
Sean McGonigle, Assistant Chief Executive, Manchester City Council
See ALL BOOKS here