Friday, 10 September 2010
Britain's Oldest Cidermaker
Being a writer I'm acutely aware that people tend to look at the pictures in a book before the words. I do this myself, come to think of it. On numerous occasions I've handed somebody a book, only for them to flick through, look at the photos and say, 'This is great!'.
Which is fine, as far as I'm concerned. If a reader can be enticed into a book by good pictures they're more likely to read the words. I want my books to be as visually exciting as possible, not just because people are more likely to buy them, but also because I think a book - I mean a real book, made of paper - ought to be a thing of beauty, or of wonder.
But how do you go about matching pictures and text? Often photographers are commissioned to illustrate particular aspects of the text, but I prefer pictures - or series of pictures - that stand on their own. Photo essays, I suppose you'd call them.
When I came across Neil Phillips' pictures of Frank Naish, the Somerset farmer dubbed Britain's Oldest Cidermaker by The Sun newspaper, I knew they were exactly what The Naked Guide to Cider needed. They don't illustrate anything I wrote, but they are gorgeous pictures in which the character of the men shown, and the place where they live and work (and the photographer, who loves orchards and cidermaking), shines through.