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.


Anonymous said...

Hi James,
I'm trying to get hold of you to ask you a few questions for an article I'm writing about Cider for Country Life magazine - can you drop me an email? I'm on - I'd love to review your book, too...
Look forward to hearing from you.

Anonymous said...

So how old is he?

Anonymous said...

Hello James
I work for East Sussex Library Service and we have a website called the Culture Trail ( which I am writing a short article on Ravilious in Sussex. I am going to link to your pages on your blog and will have your book highlighted on the page. I was wondering if I could use the photo you have on your blog of the exterior of Furlongs please? This will be credited to you and there will be a link to it's original location. Please can you email me when you get a chance

Many thanks Zoe

We also have 2 photographs of cider making from around 1890 taken by George Woods - I would be happy to send you files of these for your resources.