Review of Canvas Print Service

I was recently approached by to review their service. Now I’m not a huge fan of canvas prints, being slightly of the mind that canvas is for oil paintings not photographs. However, recognising that some folk like this format and with nothing to lose I thought, why not?

So I selected a landscape that I thought would work well and started a dialogue with Dan of about what options were available to me. He was extremely helpful in explaining the “wrap options” to me and emailed examples of what the various crops would look like.

Ben More, Isle of Mull 1

Ben More, Isle of Mull 1

I selected the style I liked and then awaited my package with some trepidation. When I received my package in the post it was evident that a mistake with the crop had been made but when I pointed this out to them they rapidly dispatched a replacement without any quibble. Should I have need of a canvas printing service in the future I would certainly consider using MCanvasPrints again and I’m very happy to recommend them to others.

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Durham Photographer, Rob Birrell Selected for Shot Up North Awards

One of my images “Mobile Phone” has been selected for this year’s Shot Up North (SUN) Awards. The SUN Awards – now entering its 20th year – recognises and rewards the best commercial photography in the UK regions, working in the disciplines of Advertising, Design, Fashion or Editorial Photography. The 50 chosen images are currently exhibited at Manchester’s Lowry Hotel and after that set off on a coutrywide tour.

SUN AWARDS Exhibition Tour 2008/9
MANCHESTER – Lowry Hotel, 6 November – 2 December 2008
LEEDS – Design Innovation Centre, 7 February – 2 March 2009
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE – The Biscuit Factory, 6 March – 19 April

the SUN Awards will also be at these Calumet branches:
Liverpool (Special Edition) January 12 – 31
and then Sun Awards as follows
Birmingham April 23 – May 10
Nottingham May 12 – 31
Drummond Street June 3 – 18
Belfast June 22 – July 10
Manchester September 1- 31

In addition to being selected for the main awards the image is also available as a limited edition print at a cost of £245 unframed, including delivery Buy Print

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I’ve finally got around to a long overdue update of my commercial website, Rob Birrell Photography at Along with a new colour scheme you’ll find loads of new images that hopefully better describe what I do. Let me know what you think, if it works for you and how it could be improved further.

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Durham City Baths

Last month I had the privilege of photographing the old 1930s Durham City Baths just prior to their closure in July 2008. They have been replaced by a swish new pool and leisure complex called Freemans Quay which I hope to be able to photograph at some stage in the future. Thanks to Kay Smith and Paul Bailey of Durham City Leisure for allowing me access to the pool. While its sad to see the old pool become disused almost certainly to be bulldozed I’m sure the majority of the users will be pleased with the superb new facilities.

More Photographs ->

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Valves, Bells and Whistles

Valve Assembly in mock studio

Valve Assembly in makeshift studio

Finished Image of Valve Assembly

Finished Image of Valve Assembly

I recently completed a commision for a German Engineering company who asked me to shoot some images of a valve assembly before it shipped out to their customer. Problem was that the assemblage was about the size of a mini and could only be shifted about with a fork lift truck. Well the sub-contractor, VA Kirkdale of Wallsend, was most accomodating and agreed to paint the floor for me. The backdrop is my studio white muslin backdrop turned on its side and stretched as taught as possible between the uprights. Even then it wasn’t quite high enough so I ended up shooting from about 5 foot off the ground on a scaffolding tower.

Thankfully the job had been postponed from the original intended day as a couple of days previously I was largely immobilised by a nasty stomach bug which meant that I didn’t dare venture more that a few feet from a toilet. As it was I did the shoot drugged up to the eyeballs fueled by little more than 3 litres of water. I lost 7lbs that week!

Click through on the above images to see the finished images.

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55° North

Yet another personal project … I’ve been working in a series of urban/hard landscape photographs. They started off loosely based within about 100 yards of the 55 degrees north roundabout in Newcastle Upon Tyne but I’ve extended the remit to include some photos of Durham and the University Running Track. Click through on any of the images to see the full set.

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Ripon Races

Ripon Races

Ripon Races

I recently visited Ripon Races with my friend Anne with the intention of doing a little recreational photography. Well it proved to be more difficult than I anticipated especially in the overcast conditions. I had hoped to get more people shots but timidity got the better of me. The shots of horses were hampered by lack of practice with panning and the track rail which draws an obtrusive line across many of the shots. “Foxy Jane”, my wifes namesake, was my only bet of the day and true to her number “5” she came in fith so no fortune won there.

Click through from the image above to see a series of photos from the afternoon which I hope give a flavour of the event.

Oh yes, and who would have guessed that the boards that the bookies use use some sort of scanning technology similar to a TV so, note to self, if you want to capture the text use a slower shutter speed in future!

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Accepted for Cravens Art Prize / The People Show

Middleton Mart - The Middleton in Teesdale Cattle Market

I’m pleased to say that the above image of mine has been accepted into the 2008 People Show (formerly known as the Cravens Art Prize). The exhibition is open to painters, printmakers, sculptors, photographers, film and ceramic artists who live in the North East of England. It’s running at the Northumbria University Gallery until September 12th.

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Bookshop goes online

I’ve decided to take an opportunity to share some thoughts on what photography books I like and/or have found useful by adding a book shop to my blog website. Hopefully you will something useful and inspirational here too and if you click through from this website it will serve to bolster my meagre income in a small way as I will get a small amount of commission for each transaction. The cost to you is exactly the same as if you had gone through the standard Amazon website. All orders are fulfilled by so you can be rest assured as to the security and quality of the order process. I apologise to international customers … as yet I don’t cater for you at this moment in time, though you’re are at liberty to order from the UK website. Watch this space however, as I hope to have something up and running for customers soon.

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The Roma Journeys

Roma Journeys

Photo Copyright Joakim Eskildsen

I visited Joakim Eskilden’s exhibition, “The Roma Journeys” on Friday at the Side Gallery in Newcastle.

Between 2000 and 2006 Joakim Eskildsen travelled in seven different countries photographing the life of the Roma and the conditions they face. The journeys, in India, Romania, Russia, Hungary, Greece, Finland and France, came about as a result of chance, coincidence and personal contact, rather than any process of meticulous planning. What the journeys open up on is somewhere and something beyond nations.

It was the first colour photography exhibition that I have seen at the Side but I was completely overwhelmed by both the quality of the photography and the printing. The exhibition runs until 14th June 2008 and I would heartily recommend it. Whether or not you can make it the book of the project is an excellent buy (The Roma Journeys by Joakim Eskildsen and Cia Lungile Rinne).

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