Photo superhero brings historic family archives up to date

Issue date: 12 November 2010

Photo superhero University of the West of England student Paul Blakemore is in line for a Universities South West enterprise award for his photographic archiving service that digitally remasters family historical photographs. He is representing UWE at the USW enterprise award final being held on 16 November in Plymouth.

Paul's business is called Photoboy and he lives the part, wearing period clothing as his character takes on the mantle of the photographer's assistant. He launched the business with his first character set in the Victorian era when posed family photographs taken in studios were the latest thing.

He says, “Photoboy is a photographic super hero who can be summoned by clients to save their valuable jumbled historical family photos. With his mobile digital scanning equipment and postal service he will help clients organise their family pictures into a digital format that can be shared with their extended family forevermore.

“I am studying photographic history as part of my MA by Project course at UWE. I have been able to incorporate the Photoboy business, which inspires and enables family groups to discover and record their photographic heritage, with my studies.”

Paul has been developing his ideas in both a commercial and social context, while teaching and giving demonstrations and workshops within institutions based on ideas of memory. He was recently invited by St Paul's Community Centre to set up his stand at the Central Library, Bristol, during Open Doors day.

Paul's idea has already proved a success, as he was runner-up in the creative category of UWE's theBizIdea competition last May. He has benefited from the support of his MA project tutors Rachael Miles and Alex Franklin, from Ricardo Demarchi and Kim Jones of the Innovation and Enterprise Team in RBI at the university to help develop his creative focus and business plan, from Tim Lloyd-Yeates at Alive Activities, Dagmar Smeed at SS Great Britain and Dave Jarman for his guidance during the Spark competition in September.

Mentor Kim Jones said, “Paul has taken a great idea that emerged from his studies and previous work experience to create a challenging and exciting creative business. The social and historical value of photographic images is now a prominent and recognised art form. Photoboy is great way of sharing and disseminating images amongst family, friends and the wider audiences interested in social history.”

Eight Universities and Colleges based in the South West are competing for prizes worth £15,000 at the second Universities South West Enterprise Awards Winners of Winners business plan competition to be held at the Plymouth Holiday Inn on 16 November 2010. The event takes place during national Global Entrepreneurship Week, 15-21 November.

The institutions taking part in the competition are the Universities of Bath, Bath Spa, Bristol, Exeter, Gloucestershire, Plymouth, the Royal Agricultural College and the University of the West of England (UWE).

The competition, which is part of the Knowledge Escalator South West (KESW) programme and managed by Universities South West, has been supported by over £2.3 million of European Regional Development Funding investment through the South West RDA and aims to encourage collaboration and enterprise between universities and business in the region.


Editor's notes

For more information on Photoboy visit

For more information on the Universities SW Enterprise 2010 Awards visit

The Universities SW Enterprise Awards project is part financed by the European Union's Competitiveness and Employment ERDF Programme and the Convergence ERDF Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, via Knowledge Escalator South West. The Knowledge Escalator South West project secured over £2.3 million of ERDF investment through the South West Regional Development Agency (South West RDA). The Competitiveness and Employment ERDF Programme and the Convergence ERDF Programm for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are investing over £511 million in the South West of England to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.

Global Entrepreneurship Week began life as Enterprise Week in the UK back in 2004. In 2008, Enterprise UK and the Kauffman Foundation (the world's largest entrepreneurship foundation based in the US) founded the very first Global Entrepreneurship Week, and it is now a worldwide movement of entrepreneurial people, with millions unleashing their enterprising talents and turning their ideas into reality. Find out more at Global Entrepreneurship Week

Universities South West is the higher education membership association for South West England. We represent a strong partnership of universities and higher education institutions working together to influence and shape opportunity in a creative and dynamic region.

Its aim is to promote outstanding knowledge creation, scholarship and creativity, encourage entrepreneurialism and seek practical solutions in order to make a positive impact upon economic growth and social inclusion in the South West and beyond.

Back to top