Recently, I was scouring the internet for pictures of Perthshire in days gone by for a gallery of historic photos I was planning for Small City, Big Personality, when I came across a review of a book by today's interviewee Roben Antoniewicz. In his recent book The Early Photographers of Perthshire (co-written with Dr Paul S. Philippou) he had compiled the most stunning and enlightening photographs from the very earliest days of the medium, allowing us a peculiar insight into what life was like in our little pocket of the world at the dawn of photography.
I e-mailed Roben and he was kind enough to let me use some of the best images for our gallery which you can view here. During our correspondence, it came up that he was a Perth lad born and bred, hailing from Whitefriars Street and hanging out in Gillies in his spare time. As well as being a published author, Roben is also a signwriter and photographer. We had a chat about the perils of spelling, his worst job (it was like living in a Dickens novel) and a particular earworm he's developed thanks to our questions. All this and more in today's Workdays and Weekends article.
Tell us the weirdest / funniest thing that has ever happened to you at work?
There was the time I made a spelling mistake on a large hand-painted sign on a shop front in Charlotte Street. Lots of people passed, tradesmen in their vans, and the public on foot and called up to me on my ladders…..” you have spelt that wrong” of course I ignored them. This was a frequently used joke made to signwriters. However, it was not so funny when I got to the end of the sign and wondered why there was extra space. To my horror, the calls had been correct, instead of writing "solicitors", the word I painted read "solitors". A desperate attempt was made to clean off the freshly painted lettering. My embarrassment was compounded when I needed to repaint the sign with the correct spelling before nightfall. My fellow tradesmen returning home from their work took delight in telling me of my error and seeing me with a red face.
What signals the start of your days off?
There are no days off work and leisure often blend together.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
Though my surname is Antoniewicz, I have no trace of Polish blood, My paternal ancestors were Scottish and My maternal ancestors Italian, my mother married Stefan Antoniewicz a few years after I was born.
What is at the top of your bucket list?
To explore Italy completely and become fluent in speaking Italian. My mother never taught me or my brother because back then it was more important to speak good English.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
Working in the Glassworks straight after I left school. It was like a Dickensian nightmare.
Who or what inspires you?
Magnus Jackson, photographer. He not only captured the Lords and ladies of Victorian society, he also recorded the local people of Perthshire.
Tell us about the day you’d love to live again?
The day my children were born, the adrenalin rush was was incredible, it was overwhelming in an exciting way.
What’s the best part about your job?
When a photoshoot has gone to plan, and I am satisfied that I achieved the best result possible.
The best things in life are...
You can purchase Early Photographers of Perthshire here
If you want to find out more about his Co-author Paul S. Philippou here
Check out the amazing photos from the book here
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