The Jim Taylor Collection
This is a collection of scanned prints from a collection of photographs taken by the late Jim Taylor A number of years ago I was offered a large number of photographs taken by Jim Taylor, a transport photographer based in Huddersfield. The collection, 30,000 prints, 20,000 negatives – and copyright! – had been offered to me and one of the national transport magazines previously by a friend of Jim's, on behalf of Jim's wife. I initially turned them down, already having over 30,000 of my own prints filed away and taking space up. Several months later the prints were still for sale – at what was, apparently, the going rate. It was a lot of money and I deliberated for quite a while before deciding to buy them. I did however buy them directly from Jim’s wife and she delivered them personally – just to quash the occasional rumour from people who can’t mind their own business. Although some prints were sold elsewhere, particularly the popular big fleet stuff, I should have the negatives, unfortunately they came to me in a random mix, 1200 to a box, without any sort of indexing and as such it would be impossible to match negatives to prints, or, to even find a print of any particular vehicle. I have only ever looked at a handful myself unless I am scanning them. The prints are generally in excellent condition and I initially stored them in a bedroom without ever looking at any of them. In 2006 I built an extension and they had to be well protected from dust and moved a few times. Ultimately my former 6x7 box room office has become their (and my own work’s) permanent home.

It was the development of our second generation website with its photo gallery located quite cleverly on Flickr, rather than making our own site unwieldy, that led me to start uploading photos to Flickr. It was initially for my own and historic company photos but with unlimited storage and reasonable upload speeds I soon started uploading other stuff. Scanning one of Jim’s photos was a random choice one winters evening, initially very slow and time consuming I nevertheless stuck with it and things just snowballed. It was obvious that there are a lot of people interested in this type of thing. I can now scan and edit in Photoshop in a minute or so per print. Out of over 30,000 images on Flickr I have around 3500 of Jim's photos. I don’t promote myself on Flickr – at all! So my viewing figures grow organically, without using the mutual favourite awarding etc. that is endemic on Flickr. The statistics tell me that travel (I don’t do porn) is the most popular genre. My travel photos, particularly later stuff receives far more views than transport. The transport stuff will hit a ceiling and then build very slowly over time, with lots of people coming back to them again and again. Travel of course is far more inclusive but there is an unbelievable amount out there, far more than the 1980’s UK transport stuff. The travel and landscape photos have pushed the views past 12 million, with a current average of around 40,000 views a day, peaking with an upload from a new destination at around 90,000 views. I recall being excited with 100 views.

My reasons for buying the collection were mixed. On the one hand it was a unique snapshot of the transport industry, predominantly in the north of England, from around 1980 onwards. This was my patch and my era. I passed my Class One a few days after my 21st birthday in 1980 and spent the next 17 years being a Jack the Lad on the road, waving at and crossing paths with many of the wagons that Jim photographed, in fact my owns wagons are in the mix. Jim did travel to Scotland extensively and into the Southern Hemisphere a number of times hence there is a broad range of material in his collection. I knew I wouldn’t get a chance like it again. On the other hand, the reason I gave up hauling scrap around the North of England in a Foden eight wheeler was the diagnosis of an incurable form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 38, although a low grade cancer I was already a widower with four young children and I was looking at an uncertain future and it terrified me. I wasn’t remotely ill but was treated with Chemotherapy, again, I wasn’t ill and didn’t need time off work. The shock however brought me to my senses and I came off the road, I joined the normal world, up at 6.30 not 4.30am. I didn’t realise it at the time but I had closed the door on my wagon driving days. I was worried that, at some point, I wouldn’t be able to work physically hard, bearing in mind the family business is a scrap yard – a physical sort of environment. I had it in my mind that there was a possibility that I could use my own and Jim’s photos to supplement my income, I had four kids to feed and I knew there wouldn’t be any family financial support – it’s not that sort of family. I still have the NHL although thankfully you wouldn’t know it. This type of thing is now considered treatable – not curable- after around forty endoscopies, around 100 stomach biopsies, bone marrow samples and endless scans of different types, I may well get to die of old age, not cancer. It was discovered almost by accident at the time, not illness on my part, and long may it stay that way! The lack of illness made the shock all the greater though.

I hope to avoid posting images that Jim had not taken his self, however should I inadvertently infringe another photographers copyright, please inform me by email and I will resolve the issue immediately. There are copyright issues with some of the photographs that were sold to me. A Flickr member from Scotland drew my attention to some of his own work amongst the first uploads of Jim’s work. I had a quick look through some of the 30 boxes of prints and decided that for the time being the safest thing for me to do was withdraw the majority of the earlier uploaded scans and deal with the problem – which I did. whilst the vast majority of the prints are Jims, there is a problem defining copyright of some of them, this is something that the seller did not make clear at the time. I am reasonably confident that I have since been successful in identifying Jims own work. His early work consists of many thousands of lustre 6x4 prints which are difficult to scan well, later work is almost entirely 7x5 glossy, much easier to scan. Not all of the prints are pin sharp but I can generally print successfully to A4 from a scan.

You may notice photographs being duplicated in this Album, unfortunately there are multiple copies of many prints (for swapping) and as I have to have a system of archiving and backing up I can only guess - using memory - if I have scanned a print before. The bigger fleets have so many similar vehicles and registration numbers that it is impossible to get it right all of the time. It is easier to scan and process a print than check my files - on three different PC’s - for duplicates. There has not been, nor will there ever be, any intention to knowingly breach anyone else's copyright. I have presented the Jim Taylor collection as exactly that-The Jim Taylor Collection- his work not mine, my own work is quite obviously mine.

Unfortunately, many truck spotters have swapped and traded their work without copyright marking it as theirs. These people never anticipated the ease with which images would be shared online in the future. I would guess that having swapped and traded photos for many years that it is almost impossible to control their future use. Anyone wanting to control the future use of their work would have been well advised to copyright mark their work (as many did) and would be well advised not to post them on photo sharing sites without a watermark as the whole point of these sites is to share the image, it is very easy for those that wish, to lift any image, despite security settings, indeed, Flickr itself, warns you that this is the case. It was this abuse and theft of my material that led me to watermark all of my later uploads. I may yet withdraw non-watermarked photos, I haven’t decided yet. (I did in the end)

To anyone reading the above it will be quite obvious that I can’t provide information regarding specific photos or potential future uploads – I didn’t take them! There are many vehicles that were well known to me as Jim only lived down the road from me (although I didn’t know him), however scanning, titling, tagging and uploading is laborious and time consuming enough, I do however provide a fair amount of information with my own transport (and other) photos. I am aware that there are requests from other Flickr users that are unanswered, I stumble across them months or years after they were posted, this isn’t deliberate. Some weekends one or two “enthusiasts” can add many hundreds of photos as favourites, this pushes requests that are in the comments section ten or twenty pages out of sight and I miss them. I also have notifications switched off, I receive around 50 emails a day through work and I don’t want even more from Flickr. Other requests, like many other things, I just plain forget – no excuses! Uploads of Jim’s photos will be infrequent as it is a boring pastime and I would much rather work on my own output.

None of my photographs are free to use – without my permission - only free to view! If you breach my copyright you are stealing what is mine and if I find out, I will pursue the case until you rectify the situation. Arguments that attempt to justify copyright theft are just excuses for theft from people with little or no understanding of copyright law – or more frequently- deliberate, selective, misinterpretation of the law – to suit their own ends. I have never knowingly refused a reasonable request, I don’t join groups but am quite happy for people to add photos to groups. I dislike exchanging long and time-consuming emails – I prefer to talk on the phone, being the opposite of anti-social in person, you can’t shut me up. I am generally speaking an anti-social, social networker, I just don’t have the time for it, in fact, I joke that I am going to start a social network for internet anti-social people, you’ll just register your name and that’s it – no networking and endless mindless twaddle. Face-less Book? The antidote to Facebook. I like to get out and chat to people face to face and welcome customers with an interest in photography in to my office to chat on a regular basis. I also print – and give- A4 prints to many of the drivers that visit out yard. I photograph wagons and plant that I come into contact with in a day’s work I don’t go looking to photograph them in my free time. Wagons are a necessary evil in my life these days and they cost me money – every day! For the extensive story and history of JB Schofield &sons Ltd look here;

So far photography remains a hobby, and I refuse any offers to turn it into a business, the regulations surrounding scrap and transport and the running of the yard keep me occupied most of the time. In my free time I cycle hard for fitness, walk hard for pleasure, fitness, and the challenge, take photos for pleasure and the challenge, edit them because I have to, and lastly, drink wine because I want to. There isn’t time for another business. The kids are now adults and all of them work for me, and with me, another challenge.
2,834 photos · 68,918 views
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