About simon robinson

Having worked as a graphic designer in the music industry, mainly in the reissue sector, I now concentrate on the design and publication of books about popular culture - and even write some of them.

Walkies

As we all face issues about where we can and cannot walk outdoors, here’s a reminder of what were in many ways less stressful times with a couple more page previews from the upcoming book of street photographs, Go Home On A Postcard. This book explores the art of cameramen who photographed holidaymakers and other people in the street hoping to sell them a print.

The trade began back in the 1920s but continued into the 1970s and the page above shows some unusual colour examples with great Seventies fashions on the teenagers. On the right are a couple taking a break in Hunstanton. Click on an image for a larger version.

The jazzy blazers on the two ladies above mark them out to be street photographers, working in Skegness in the 1950s. Women until then had worked mainly in the kiosks and backroom operations but increasingly began taking cameras on to the street and in some towns replaced their male counterparts. On the right is an older walking picture, a groups of friends chat and stroll down a prom seemingly unaware they were being photographed.

There is more information about the forthcoming title on the site.

Blues News

Blues fan Norman Darwen, who writes for several blues mags, does a regular ‘Blues in UK’ page for some overseas mags. The Norwegian title Blues Newshave just run an interview with Brian Smith about his time as a photographer and fan, in Issue 117 [December 2020].

They included a selection of Brian’s later colour material, showing how much has appeared on other magazines in recent years. You can read about Brian’s Book Boom Boom Boom Boom on the site. This will now be our next title to be published.

Vintage Rock 47

Here’s another double page spread from Issue 47 of Vintage Rock magazine, with more of Brian Smith’s Little Richard photographs. You can read about the magazine below. While our book concentrates on Brian’s Sixties images, he did return to concert photography in the late 1970s and captured some of the big names on their later tours here. The two colour shots here are his.

Covered again

We’ve been doing some tidying up on the site lately and realised that we had never added any page previews of the fab Covered! book on here. So this has now been rectified! It’s a book which has gone down well with designers and music fans in general, and worth checking out if you missed it before. Time to get the promo film done as well next!

Kiss / Kraftwerk
The Clash / Dark Side Of The Moon

Vintage Rock

Vintage Rock magazine have given Brian Smith‘s upcoming blues photo book Boom Boom Boom Boom a nice plug in their current issue (September), majoring on his Little Richard photographs in tribute to the singer. It is currently on the news-stands if you are venturing out to the shops, or can be ordered direct from the publishers using the links below. Thanks to Steve Harnell for the scan. Brian has now finished his detailed proofing of the book layout so we are getting all this sorted out now. We have also had a really nice foreword for the book done by a famous British blues singer and will be revealing details of that very soon. If you have not yet read about the book, you can do so on the site.

Buy direct and get an issue delivered to your door: bit.ly/32UxeIP

Find the mag in shops with the store locator: bit.ly/2FYBUVc

Walking camera

Our upcoming book about street photographs and their practitioners Go Home On A Postcard was recently given a nice preview in the UK’s leading magazine on the history of cameras and photography, Photographica World. They were interested in a newly discovered camera used in the trade and the book’s author penned them a feature on this which spanned some eight pages in the end. The magazine is only available to subscribers and much of the detail was far too technical for the book itself but has certainly drawn interest to the subject from techie experts. They even made the beaten up camera their cover star as you can see below! This Thornton Pickard Super Reflex camera was used by Sunbeam Photos from the 1930s into the 1960s as a walking picture camera, taking up to a 1,000 images a day at the height of each holiday season in Margate. You can read more about this fascinating area of photography on the dedicated website Go Home On A Postcard.

Photographica World 2020

Spreading out

Work on our next DEEP PURPLE title, Fire In The Sky, has continued during the lockdown period. As a result we decided to increase the page count significantly over that period. So much so that we will have to revise the price prior to actual publication! However the new material does add a lot to the story and it seemed a shame not to take this opportunity to include it. In addition there will be a good number of extra images and photographs which help explain crucial aspects of the story, including some we hope have not been seen before. We will update final publication details as soon as we can. In terms of production, the book artwork and layout is now complete apart from the extra photo pages. We have also run the finished layout past our proof-readers for another check, you can never be too careful! In the meantime here a couple more new page spreads and you can see more on the site. The spread below shows a collection of contemporary reviews (some of them very rare) which have been reproduced in full to give a real feel for exactly how the album was received by the press at the time.

On screen

on screen

A quick snap of our designer’s computer screens during work on the Boom Boom Blues Book, as it is alliteratively referred to in the office! Most of the earlier design work has been done on the laptop but as we reach the more detailed final page layout, a split screen process is employed. The actual pages are shown on the larger monitor, with all the software windows, tools and options held on the laptop screen, along with the book pages menu which allows us to zip about the book more quickly. This enables us to see the pages at a much larger size and spot things which might otherwise be missed and do more precise adjustments. Though it does call for nifty hand eye co-ordination or the cursor disappears into who knows where! As you can see there is still room for the old fashioned skills of print-outs and a couple of pencils. Quite what the 1964 packet of Shreddies is doing on the desk though we’re not sure.

Spreads

We’ve posted another eight pages from the upcoming Blues Photos of Brian Smith title on the site, which give you a good idea of how this is shaping up. Our designer is busy correcting the spreads right now: “I design each page as a single sheet, this allows me to focus on how it looks. Then once the bulk of the pages are laid out, it’s time to turn them into ‘spreads’, so you can see how the left and right hand pages interact with one another visually when they face each other. This then throws up some clashes and you need to love a few elements around, and make it all work visually across the spread. I use two screens for this as you need plenty of digital ‘desk’ space! But the Blues book is coming together nicely, even if I did discover some image duplication today which meant a fair bit of work to correct. But I hope to be done very shortly then it will go out to Brian for proofing and feedback.” The spread below is from the section on Chuck Berry.

The big five zero

Deep Purple In Rock was released 50 years ago today. It makes me feel nostalgic amongst other things; the trip up to the record shop at school lunch-time to buy the first single off it… then the b-side which trailed the album and made me decide it must go straight onto my wish list, and the saving up to buy it a few weeks later. Getting a sheet of Letraset and putting my initials on the labels in case my brother tried to annex it. So to publish the definitive biography about the album was a real treat. You can read about it on the site, the second edition is still available.