Douglas and I never stop talking. No awkward silences. No wondering what to say next. No looking for an excuse to leave because we’ve run out of things to say.
It’s been like this for 16 years.
Fortunately for everyone else we now live over 100 miles apart and don’t see each other so often, but when we do the conversation instantly flows again.
We first met back in the days when I was web designer. I’d started my business just a couple of years before, and he’d launched his graphic design business around the same time. On the same day, we joined the Stirling branch of BNI (Business Networking International) – an organisation where you meet for breakfast once a week with other local businesses to network. It all seemed quite high-powered, with firm handshakes, “elevator pitches” and lots and lots of exchanging business cards.
While it was actually quite an effective way to get business, there was a persona you needed to adopt in order to make it work for you, which never really sat comfortably with me. It didn’t with Douglas either.
It ran from just before 7am to 8.30am every Thursday, with the idea that it didn’t interfere with your working day. But as we would wander out to the car park afterwards, Douglas and I would always be chatting and it wasn’t uncommon for 2 or 3 hours to pass, still standing in the car park, before we would head back to our offices.
Douglas has an exceptional talent for design. While my ideas would always veer towards the more conventional, he would always come up with something that would never have occurred to me but would look infinitely better and more professional. I got him to redesign my own logo and not long after started using him to come up with the visual designs for the websites I was building.
Recently Douglas has downsized his company from having employees and an office in a business centre, to working from home by himself. Without all the overheads and responsibilities he’s gained a new lease of life.
It’s also allowed him to concentrate more on another side of his business doing screen printing, often creating limited edition posters for bands and events – see handcookedposters.com.
I’ve been promising for a while that I’d photograph him at work in the large shed in his garden where he has the screen printing studio set up, so as I was up in the area over Easter, I called in at lunchtime with my camera and a loaf of artisan bread from our amazing local bakery (who I did a shoot for last summer – see Earth’s Crust Bakery).
Douglas’s shed is laid out perfectly for him to operate with everything to hand as he needs it. It’s not designed, however, to fit a second person in with a camera. It was definitely a wide-angle lens job.
Here are a couple of the images I took of him at work.
Although the photography itself probably only took about 90 minutes, I was there for 5 hours and the only silence was for a few seconds while I took each shot.
If you ever need amazing graphic design, then get in touch with Douglas at Handcooked Studios. Or if you fancy a really cool limited edition screen print, then you can buy one from Handcooked Posters.
But if you just want a quick meeting, don’t develop a 16 year relationship with him...