Every year, around this time, I decide that I really ought to knuckle down and “do a photography project”. I am not sure why this compunction comes round every year, but I have to confess that for the most part, it’s an idea that starts, then stops fairly quickly.
One year, (2010 was it?), the project was actually putting a book of my photographs together. That was a good idea, as at the time, I rarely saw my photographs printed and to see 100 of them in a book was very pleasing (the book is still available if anyone wants a copy 🙂 ). I must get round to doing Volume 2.
Another time, after I had said that I was looking for a photography project, a colleague at work suggested that I gather a collection of Tin Tabernacles, corrugated iron chapels erected by the hundred by the Victorians, some of which still survive. That was Ok for a while, but actually, there are not that many of them left any more.
Before that, I decided that photographing every Brakspear pub would be a good idea for a collection, overlooking the fact that all of them are at probably 200 miles away.
So, these were not actually very practical. I really don’t have the time or the money to go driving to the Thames Valley every weekend.
The idea for what will be this year’s project is to shoot dead or “clinging-on for dear life” petrol stations. Yes, please contain your excitement. I know that this doesn’t sound like a Pulitzer prize winning idea, but it’s not meant to be. I first had the idea when we found this bungalow and started the process of buying it. There is a small, independent garage in this very village that still has a couple of pumps outside the timber shed. The owner sits in his little office reading the paper, only venturing out when someone stops by for a chat or a couple of gallons. It struck me that he might not be there much longer and nor would his colleagues other little places around the country. I am amazed that there are still some around at all, to be honest. So, I took a photograph. I know I should have bought some diesel too, but the shot was taken while I was walking the dog. I promise I will buy some from him, before it’s too late.
So, here are some shots that will start off the collection. Two of these places are still selling fuel; sadly, two on the isle of Skye aren’t, having closed since the last time that the Google Streetview car went by in 2011.
Rufford, Lancashire is an interesting garage in a very nice little village. It has a gun-shop adjacent, ironically accessible just to the right of the magazine rack. That’s not something that you see very often. But at least if you run out of ammo and need this month’s “Horse and Hound”, you know where to go.
This one is in Comberbach, which is also a very nice little village, but sadly lacking in amenities when compared to its Lancastrian cousin…
And here are two from Skye, roughly three or four miles apart, on the same road.
Over the year, as I am out and about on the highways and by-ways, I shall stop as often as necessary and expand the collection.
If I get to 100, I will put them all into a book.
Now, the observant among you, which I know is all of you, will have noticed that I hinted at a second project. Like buses, they have come along at once.
It’s actually, not dissimilar to the first one and tips a hat to the Brakspears one. With pubs closing by the hundred every month in this country, this one will unfortunately be easier to do.
This is The Lion, Burscough
So, if anyone has any ideas for a good title for a collection of old petrol stations, or dead pubs, I would be very happy to receive them. Answers on a postcard please.
There’s a pint in The Lion waiting for you.