In Focus: A day in Birmingham Parr Excellence!

Crowds at the UK Photography Show

UK Photography Show 2019.

I have a feeling I wrote this post last year (will have to check) but if not the deja vu feels strong.

This was our third pilgrimage to the NEC which meant an early start.

I had a couple of aims for the day:

  1. Check out the new Olympus EM1X
  2. Check out the new Panasonic S range
  3. Compare printers and photo papers
  4. Buy some film from Lomography ant Analogue Wonderland
  5. Visit Ilford to learn about and purchase some photographic paper

How did I get on…?

  1. EM 1X – Yes. Held it. Liked it. Not right for me though.
  2. Panasonic S – Again held it, really liked it but it’s far too expensive and heavy for my needs.The salesman seemed more interested in the fact I had my Lecia and was looking at a Panasonic!
  3. Printers – I did this but they all honestly look the same after a while. I’ve had a selection of photos printed with one of them (forget which) and am awaiting them in the post. I also already had a sample pack for another.
  4. Now, this is where it goes wrong. For starters, I don’t know what happened to Lomography but they were still setting up the stand when we left at 1330! So not really able to browse or make any purchases.The Analogue Wonderland concession was tied up with a SolarCan stand and I couldn’t really get to see what films they had on offer due to the SolarCan demonstrations so not film purchased here either.
  5. Ilford had a nice stand with lots of choices but when I asked that had no developing paper, only paper you print in. Fail!

I did try a rather nice bag from Hex backpacks but even at the show, the price was £145!


Richard enjoying a much needed pasty and a coffee

The best result was the Paterson stand. They’re a British company who make excellent darkroom kit and I managed to nab myself a deal. I purchased a darkroom timer and a microfocus finder for a great price (the nice guy on the stand basically bartered and I saved about 25% off the retail price).

I did renew my subscription to Practical Photography (and obtained a new bag as part of the deal (which I’ll probably give to Richard for his Canon)).

But that was it.

I was underwhelmed. It’s a good 3-hour drive and I’m not sure it’s worth it.

If you could look and browse it would be great but people are so rude and they sell so many tickets, it’s hard to take it easy and enjoy the day.

I was going to drop off my EM5 MKII for a free clean on the Olympus stand but the queue was horrendous and we got their really early!

I get spooked by the crowds too as they tend to be middle-aged balding men with beer bellies or (and this is worse) youffs who think they’re famous or want to be famous on YouTube or Instagram (I did see Jimmy from Red Dot 35 Channel). I really hope we’re not all like the representatives in the crowd.

One highlight though happened when Richard and I left the show and stopped at a cafe outside (far quieter) for a drink. Whilst enjoying my cuppa, Martin Parr joined the table next to us.

I won’t share what they were discussing but I did find it rather amusing.

I loved the fact there were lots of people in the show trying to be famous/Insta famous and yet here was a man whose reputation proceeds him and yet he could easily blend into the crowd at a coffee shop (which I guess is what makes him so successful).

It was a day out and Martin Parr was my highlight. I’m not too sure I’d want to go again next year…

Watch an Interview with Martin Parr at the Photography Show here:


  1. Thanks for providing such an honest review of this Keith. I had wondered whether this would have been worth a visit as I wasn’t sure how many film Photography related stands there would be. It’s such a shame about Lomography and Ilford. That is very disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Natalie. The show was interesting but I didn’t really achieve what I wanted and there is more emphasis on digital photography.

      Paterson were really flying the flag and I’m sure once Lomography were set up they were too but all in all it seemed like more of the same.

      More people spending time looking for a bargain or trying the newest kit rather than focussing on photography.

      Liked by 1 person

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