It's not often I buy photo books, but today I bought a book that I will treasure. 'Todmorden People' is a book chronicling a bygone age in the small town or Todmorden, West Yorkshire though the photographs of Roger Birch and compiled by his son Daniel.

A lecturer, Roger Birch ran the graphic design course at Hopwood Hall College when I attended in the late eighties and it was through Roger that I was first introduced to photography and taught darkroom skills. Looking back I think it was a pivotal moment in my life as photography has been an abiding passion of mine ever since.

I hadn't seen Roger since leaving college though I did often wonder what he was up to and wished I could find his whereabouts so I could have a chat and thank him personally. However this was not to be as I learnt that Roger had passed away suddenly in 2013.

So today I did the next best thing. I met his son Daniel, bought the book, and told him how Roger had inspired me. I imagine I'm not the only one.

The book itself is full of wonderful images depicting scenes from different times and very tender portraits and I would rate Roger alongside of my favourite photographers. The contains a forward by Martin Parr who also knew Roger.

The book can be bought from

Roger Birch

February 2013. "In summer, Venice is torrid, stuffed to the gills with the 18 million tourists who overwhelm it each year, clogging its bridges, swelling its vaporetti, vastly outnumbering the famously grouchy residents and making the city seem like one big floating Disneyland — a perverse metaphor for the future of Italy, if not all of Europe, a place that has staked its future on selling an image of its past and may yet be destroying itself in the process." RACHEL DONADIO, The New York Times .

“In winter you wake up in this city, especially on Sundays, to the chiming of its innumerable bells, as though behind your gauze curtains a gigantic china teaset were vibrating on a silver tray in the pearl-gray sky [...] You fling the window open and the room is instantly flooded with this outer, peal-laden haze, which is part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers.” JOSEPH BRODSKY, Watermark.