“It’s all Black and White” was the answer that photographer Bob Holman gave when asked about his new book, published just in time to grace Marlborough’s Christmas coffee tables. ‘Marlborough in Monochrome’ sheds light on some of the bits of central Marlborough that we see every day but never actually notice. That is until you look at just one of his pics.
‘Black and white’ also doesn’t refer to the options for coffee that are served in The Food Gallery, Marlborough’s renowned cafe that Bob started with his wife Nikki many years ago before settling down to a retirement which involved making the best of his other love, photography. They (The Food Gallery) offer lots of other, more elaborate formulations and presentations of coffee, espresso doppio being just one to savour.
Whilst The Food Gallery now prospers under Rich and Kat, the next generation of the Holman family, ‘Marlborough in Monochrome’ adds insight to Marlborough, complementing his six-monthly magazine, also entitled ‘Marlborough in Monochrome’ where areas and features of the town are displayed in ways that few would have ever thought natural, as Bob’s originality and eye for capturing these places brings a new dimension to what would be normally regarded as ‘old Marlborough’. Or ‘boring Marlborough’. But it isn’t, as Bob shows.
Bob’s photography takes a different ‘angle’ from that of many other professionals. Most images are captured on his iPhone – with some on his Panasonic camera. And as his magazine shows, great pics don’t necessarily require great and expensive equipment. To use the cliche – ‘It’s what you do with it’ that Bob’s work demonstrates.
So in between calls Bob is delving into normally unseen and unnoticed dark alleyways, poking his iPhone in to capture some angle or presentation of image that wouldn’t normally be expected of such places, but strong and original enough to be compiled into an emotive bibliography of Marlborough’s less noticed places that gives a completely different and new slant on the town, even for those of us who grew up here and thought we knew Marlborough well.
How did this all start? What was his inspiration? A while back, when conducting a ‘teaching photography safari’ in and about the town someone asked him about one of the alleyways. And not knowing the answer, he carried out some investigation to answer the question. He also learned about many others in the town. Hence The Alleyways of Marlborough project was born, the full series of which can be viewed on Bob’s Instagram account @bob___holman
The magazine is already available for sale in Marlborough at The Food Gallery, The White Horse Bookshop and Valentiner gift shop.
Alternatively, his hard copy book can be purchased via Bob’s website – which gives a wider picture of Bob’s work (not all black and white, a smattering of colour as well) and also some of the ways he can impart his skills and techniques to others as well, and a background to his views on photography and – to him – what makes a great pic.