Fifty Portraits

at 50mm, of 50 people like me


Portrait No 36 – Robin, Blacksmith & Anvil Dealer

This week I had the pleasure of meeting and spending a fascinating few hours with Robin at his smithy in the Rossendale hills. I never realised that something so apparently unassuming as an anvil could have such a rich and interesting history, I also had no idea that there is a thriving international trade in anvils!

Robin’s love for all things blacksmith related started at age 10 when he was inspired by a TV programme but unfortunately his plans for an apprenticeship after school were dashed when he suffered kidney failure.

Many years and three kidney transplants later Robin is certainly following his passion, he trades anvils internationally as well has having a small forge. He also runs workshops in blacksmithing and plans are underway for a local museum.

Robin also has another claim to fame, last year he was a category winner in George Clarke’s Shed of The Year. I can’t say I’m surprised though, his shed is a photographers dream, it’s crammed full of interesting old things that are great to photograph.

You can find Robin on Instagram here or visit his website here.

(All images ©Janet Broughton


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Portrait Number 35 – Chris, The Blind Woodturner

I actually photographed Chris way back in December, at the time I was a little unsure whether I was going to move this site to a different platform so I shared a post about Chris on my main site Definitely Dreaming while I decided what was happening with this one.

A very busy first half of the year followed so not only did I not get around to photographing anyone else I also didn’t move Chris to the right website. But better late than never!

When someone starts a conversation with “I couldn’t find a really well made vampire stake so I decided to teach myself wood turning” you know they are going to be interesting, and when that person is also blind they become incredibly inspiring.

Chris has been blind for over eight years and around four years ago he decided he needed to learn woodturning (to make that vampire stake!). He listened to hours and hours of YouTube videos until he was convinced he knew what he was doing and then bought himself a lathe and started turning wood.

He’s had a number of practical challenges to overcome but he has become an exceptionally skilled wood turner and with the help of his partner Nicola he now has a website and sells his products at craft fairs and in the local tea rooms.

Chris also has his own YouTube channel with a growing following, which is no surprise since he’s a natural in front of the camera and an engaging speaker.

You can find Chris online and see his work on his website here and on YouTube here.

Make sure you checkout his work, I’m sure you will as inspired as I am!!

(All images ©Janet Broughton