2006 – Hot From The Press

Today I just got my first batch of copies of 2006: My London Diary, my latest Blurb book, and the my first book to be based on relatively recent work other than the rather private ‘Secret Gardens of St John’s Wood‘, still available exclusively from the Queen’s Terrace Café where the work was shown earlier this year.

© 2006 Peter Marshall
2006 starts with this picture, taken on 1 Jan 2006

I was pleased with it when I saw the proof copy a couple of weeks ago, though I found around 20 pictures that I thought I could improve a little, and completely rewrote portions of the thankfully short text. There are just a couple of pages of introduction, then the pictures, in chronological order (extreme pedants may note that on the few occasions where I’ve included more than one picture from a single day, they are not necessarily shown in the order they were taken.)

© 2006 Peter Marshall
And ends with this picture from December of Santas getting engaged

All of the pictures came from digital cameras, but in making the book I went back to the original RAW files and reworked them using Lightroom 3.5.  I then compared these files with those that I’d produced back in 2006 using the much lamented Pixmantec Raw Shooter Premium (RSP), which Adobe bought up because it was too strong a competitor to ignore. Lightroom had several huge advantages, firstly that of several more years of development, but mainly that it allows large amounts of local control, burning and dodging of specific areas of print. We were also told that Lightroom would make use of the technology and programmers from RSP and improve on them.

Somewhat to my surprise, probably around half of the images I used came from RSP, which still seemed to do a better job of the basic conversion than Lightroom has yet to manage.  With those that were better from Lightroom, I think it was mainly down to the ability to use the selective tools, particularly to lower highlight areas without changing the rest of the image. It also was able to do a better job at controlling noise and correcting lens distortion.

The book does contain one image that isn’t on the My London Diary web site, from June’s World Naked Bike Ride. This one is on the web site:

© 2006 Peter Marshall

but I’ve included another which I thought was perhaps unsuitable to post on the web. You can see a preview showing around 15 pages (though rather fewer pictures) on Blurb.

It is great being able to design and edit my own books using Blurb, and the only real drawback is cost. (Though of course there may be better designers and editors than me around.)  This is an 80 page paperback and would be decent value at a tenner, but from Blurb it costs £24.99 a copy. Worse still, Blurb seems usually to charge another fiver to deliver a single copy bringing the total to around £30.

Still perhaps not bad value at only around 44p for each of those photographs,  and part of the cost is for the slightly better than standard lustre paper which I think works a lot better. The printing is I think pretty good – far better than many print on demand publishers get – but certainly not up to the standard of the best photographic books. And with some photographic books now being published in limited editions for hundreds of pounds it perhaps begins to look more reasonable.

Of course the real place to see My London Diary is on the web, where you can enjoy almost all of these pictures (though on a rather smaller scale and less carefully developed from the raw files) along with several thousand others from the year. Blurb has a preview which also shows some of the book pages.


I’ve decided to make a special offer. I can get a small discount by ordering books in small batches rather than singly, and am prepared to add postage at actual cost. Taken together that means I can supply copies at £25.00 to any UK address and still make a smallish amount on the deal. It is possibly an advantage that these copies will also (unless you request otherwise) will be signed.  The only downside is that it may take a week or so longer for you to get the book than ordering direct from Blurb, depending on whether I have stock or not. If I don’t it may take around two weeks to get your book. Orders I get in the next few days should arrive in time for Christmas unless demand greatly exceeds my expectations.

Orders will need to be paid in advance, and if you e-mail me  – its just petermarshall followed by the at symbol and then cix.co.uk –  asking for details I’ll send you a message telling you where to send the cheque and your address.

I’m also prepared to supply any of the other books on my Blurb bookstore in the same way.

Until further notice, prices direct from me as as follows:

2006: My London Diary: £25

In Search of Atget: £25

Photo Paris (1988) £25

Still Occupied – A View Of Hull: £30

Before The Olympics: £25

1989: £18

The links on the titles are to Blurb where you can see a preview of all or most of all the books.

I’m also prepared to supply Secret Gardens of St John’s Wood which is not available on Blurb, again at £25 a copy post paid. Alternatively you can collect a copy from the Queen’s Terrace Café for £20 while stocks last.

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