Lens District - well a bit about the name first...... I can't claim credit for it, it was actually my fiance who came up with the name when I first started in Photography. Initially I was a bit skeptical when I started using that name on social media and even thought about dropping it, although when the opportunity to take on the gallery in Keswick came up the name seemed such a natural fit. Pretty much anything name-wise in photography had been done before so it was nice to come up with something approaching original!
On to the gallery itself - the shop is located on the corner of Derwent Street and Borrowdale Road, next to George Fisher's and is somewhat diminutive in appearance, although after an extensive re-fit we've managed to squeeze every last bit of space out of it that we can! A huge thank you must go to my best friend and fellow business owner John Graham, whose vision for revamping the shop and far-greater-than-mine DIY skills wouldn't have made it a reality. John runs two successful coffee shops in Keswick and Cockermouth called Merienda which serve fabulous food as well as great coffee, so if you're ever in either town give them a try I promise you won't be disappointed.
Locals and visitors to the area will know the shop in it's previous form as Brave the Skies, which stocked among others the work of local photographer Mike Pearson (who also ran the shop some years ago as 'Mikes Eye'. For followers of Mike's work he will continue to be a contributor in the shop as a big part of my aim for the Gallery is to retain the roots of what has made it a popular place to visit in Keswick. The shop carries largely my own personal work, with some contributors added to the mix who I feel really add value and share my passion for Landscape Photography. The shop's focus will be on delivering high-quality imagery of the Lake District whilst keeping it's focus on the Keswick area. If you happen to visit the shop and don't see something on the wall that you're after, just ask - I have an extensive portfolio of the Lake District in the collections area of this website where I'd be only happy to show you in-store what can be offered. All images you see on the website are available as prints even if you don't see them in the online store. Just use the contact form and let me know what you're after.
We started work revamping the shop officially on 30th April 2018, with an ambitious target of 5 days to strip the place, add new display shelving, build a bespoke desk on site (not in the original plans!), fit new signage and last but not least the job everyone loathes - PAINTING! The initial pulling down of racking and display paneling proved much quicker than we anticipated, and progress initially was quick. Painting however is never a quick process if you want it done right, and with a couple of setbacks later in the week where we had to pull back from the job, it became clear we weren't going to open on the Saturday that we'd hoped. This was not the end of the world though, and I'd far rather the job was done right and a bit late than rushed and looking sloppy. What we hadn't anticipated at the end of the job was just how long the display element of it would take - the absolute mountain of stock that needed un-boxing, cleaning, then obviously mounting on the walls. This part took much longer than I'd given it credit, and i've still not got all the images level.
I've still got a few odds and ends to sort, mainly just cosmetic bits that I know will annoy me if I leave them, but for now the Gallery is 99% complete. Below is a wee slideshow of the timeline spent preparing the shop for opening: