Putting The Pieces Together

Updated: Apr 17, 2021

One look at a college’s darkroom and photography studio and Paul Hands was smitten. It was love at first sight and just knew he had to sign up for a level three course there and then.

After losing his job as a telesales consultant in 2012 and his wife losing her job shortly after, they had no idea what to do. “We both panicked” Paul said but they soon chose to go back to college to get into the healthcare industry.

“It would have meant doing an access course and the thought of it bored the pants off me.” During a visit to North Warwickshire and Hinckley College to discuss their options, Paul opted to take a leap of faith and asked to check out the college's photography department.

"We’d both always thought about learning more about photography but planned to wait until retirement.”

Deciding that now was a great opportunity to enter the world of photography, Paul signed up for a two year course and then stayed on for an extra two years doing a Higher National Diploma (HND). From his time at college, Paul began his ongoing project by creating a Facebook page called “Hinckley Photographed” - now Hinckley and Burbage Photographed.

He then finished his studies with a two year BA Honours at De Montfort University.

Fast forward to 2020, Covid-19 hit and Paul lost all of his commissioned work, which included a four-film deal with a local rock music school. “I had enough work to support me for a year but it all just fell away.” Desperate to find a new way of putting food on the table for his family, Paul took a long, hard look at himself and decided to do whatever he could do to make money with what he had, and what he had was over ten thousand photos from his Hinckley and Burbage Photographed project.

“I discovered a company that operates a photographers scheme, allowing only one per area.”

After applying to have his photographs viewed by this company, they opened up their product line to him, which included jigsaws, calendars, and colouring books.

From this, he has made several 1000-piece jigsaws using his most popular photographs - his first jigsaw creation being a photograph of St Catherine’s Church - a Hinckley and Burbage colouring book, a photobook about the Covid-19 lockdown, calendars for both 2020 and 2021, framed prints, and Christmas cards.

These items can be purchased from his stall at the Hinckley market or via his website.

“The first lockdown gave me the kick up the backside that I needed and my business rose out of the darkness.”

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