Focus on Norden: Norden studio
Reporter: Laura Wild
Date online: 03 January 2011
Norden Studio was opened in 2009. Owner Graham Sivills spent 38 years in IT and worked in various parts of the world. Before and in-between his travels Mr Sivills lived in Rochdale.
He decided he wanted to come back to the UK and because he had always loved taking photographs he opened his own studio in the heart of Norden. A place he admires for its community feel.
Rochdale Online reporter Laura Wild caught up with Mr Sivills to find out how his first year and a few months had gone – and if he was right to come home.
“This year has gone very well,” said Mr Sivills, “I have had some lovely customers, lots of nice people.”
Mr Sivills has taken a variety of photographs, from babies and weddings to fashion boutiques and models.
Mr Sivills, feels it is important to “exceed expectations,” he said: “It is important to build relationships and get the pictures that the customers want. I will do what it takes to make them happy. It is also important that they like me and can get on with me.”
For Mr Sivills, photography was simply just his hobby, something he loved to do in his spare time. So what has it been like turning that hobby into a job, a business?
“It has been everything I expected and more,” he said. “It is really different running your own business – when it’s your own cash you’re spending. I sometimes question ‘do I really need this new gadget?’ It is an expensive place to be but I’m glad I’m here.
“It is good working for myself because I have no boss – but it is also bad working for myself because I have no boss.”
Mr Sivills is certainly looking forward to 2011. He is introducing a new way to display his photographs which is modern and goes away from a traditional photo frame.
Community is important to Mr Sivills and his way of ‘giving something back’ has been through working with young people and helping them on their own career and decision making journey.
He took part in Redwood School’s employment day and had a work experience student work with him.
“Being local it is nice to put something into the community.
“I have lived here for a long time and it doesn’t make you part of the community just living in a place but participating does. Norden is a nice place to be, that’s why we moved here in the first place.”
“I am very optimistic for the coming year.
“I have had lovely people through the door and we have had an awful lot of laughs.”
When Mr Sivills first opened his studio he had his own personal collection of photographs on his walls. Now he has photos of his clients. “It is nice having people appreciate the pictures I have taken,” he said.
So, what has been the highlight for Mr Sivills? “There have been so many” he said.
Highlights for Mr Sivills include winning the ‘best dressed window’ at Norden Carnival, which he worked on with an art student, hosting ‘the face of Norden Studio’ competition and in summary he said: “Seeing people with tears in their eyes when they see the pictures makes me feel great – when they are stuck for choice that makes me feel good.
“The whole year has been fun. I have had a lot of different experiences.”
Finally, did he make the right move coming home? “I’m very glad I came back,” he said.
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