They always say you should expect the unexpected. But photographer Gill Prince has blown us away here at Celebrate:MK with the stunning array of images in her new book Unexpected:MK.
The book has been created as part of Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday celebrations in 2017, and has been made possible thanks to sponsorship from local companies.
Gill explained: “The idea came about because I too will be 50 in 2017, though I’m not sure I should admit that!
“I moved to MK in 1992 when we were both 25, and I clearly remember the exhibition in Middleton Hall, and all the old maps and photos showing the city’s development.
“It was fascinating. So, as a photographer who loves Milton Keynes, I wanted to do my bit for the 50th birthday.”
We’ve followed the progress of the book since it was published on December 6 and we can see why Gill has been pleasantly surprised by the reaction to it.
“We started off planning a 500 print run, with copies going to sponsors for use as corporate gifts – but the initial print run ended up being 1,500,” she said.
“Helped in part by a large order from Milton Keynes Council, it’s now selling well online, at MK Museum and at the Visitor Information Centre in the centre:mk and I’m talking to a number of other retailers.”
So what is it that makes Unexpected:MK so appealing and different to other Milton Keynes publications?
Gill explained: “I’d seen many books which document the history of MK, and those are brilliant, but I wanted to demonstrate how far we’ve come since 1967.
“So, with a couple of exceptions, the images I shot for the book all show what has been achieved in the last 50 years.”
A quick flick through the book makes it clear that these are no ordinary snaps.
Vivid sunrises sit next to misty mornings in many of MK’s beautiful parks, followed by unusual angles on well-known landmarks, and quirky wildlife and nature shots that illustrate how established the city now is.
Unexpected:MK also includes maps that show where each image was taken, including some older ones, and we asked Gill why that aspect of the book was so important.
“It was the maps that gave me the idea for the format of the book,” she explains. “When I moved here in ’92 I saw a 1986 map of Furzton Lake, which was just a dotted line, and the whole idea of ‘building the countryside’ intrigued me.”
Everything Gill set out to achieve 18 months ago has now come together in this brilliant book – described in the foreword by the CEO of Destination MK as ‘an important piece of history’.
And it was all made possible by sponsorship from local businesses, with support from Milton Keynes Council, the MK50 team, the City Discovery Centre and Heron Maps.
So what next for Gill?
“I’m delighted with the response I’ve received, and am now looking forward to the MK50 exhibition in Middleton Hall in January, which also features a number of my images.
“It feels a little like coming full circle since seeing the 25th birthday exhibition in 1992, and MK has definitely been a fabulous place to call home for all those years!”
For more information about Gill’s photography and her personal tuition services, or to buy Unexpected:MK online, visit http://www.gillprincephotography.com/mk50book
Here’s the full list of Gill’s book sponsors…