You may not be aware, unless you've read the intro page of Unexpected:MK, that the idea for the book originally came from world renowned landscape photographer Charlie Waite, who I have had the privilege to know for some years now through various exhibitions and workshops.
We were having lunch back in July 2015, and I happened to mention that Milton Keynes would be 50 in 2017, and so would I – and Charlie suggested that it would be a great idea to do a photography book to celebrate the occasion, and to show people what has been achieved. The idea to fund it through sponsorship from local businesses was also his – and of course it proved to be a very good one!
Having now completed the project, some 18 months later - and seeing how well it has been received, I finally felt brave enough to send a copy to Charlie, along with a note thanking him for his support and encouragement in the early days of the project - at a point when I don't think he really believed that I would actually make it happen. A slightly nerve wracking thing to do - given his stature in the world of photography. So I was absolutely delighted to receive these comments back after he had reviewed the book:
"You did it. Absolutely fantastic! It's a lovely book to hold and relish, and read. I cannot fault it. The grand vistas, the architectural images, the design and the sheer classiness of the production is just 10 out of 10.
I adore the blossom image on page 35, lovely light with all the petals scattering along that beautiful arc of a path. Heavenly! The Tree Cathedral on page 63 is superb and your skies are really exceptionally good - Caldecotte Lake and your goose with outstretched wings in exactly the spot you wanted her to be in was just bang on!
Some wonderful cameos, the image of the snail on page 49 is just too good. And well done for having his eyes up and looking, I have always thought that snails are very underrated! I loved the double page spread of the Light Pyramid image, and a good location for your portrait as well.
Going back to the design, I think the little flecks of grass every so often on the old map pages is just inspired, and the design is really cutting edge. All in all a huge triumph Gill. I'm very proud of you, BRAVO!”
As you can imagine, I was absolutely thrilled that he liked it, and it very much feels like the journey has now come full circle from the day the book was first imagined. Thank you Charlie!