Maganbhai 'Masterji' Patel arrived in Coventry in 1951 and dedicated the rest of his life to working as a photographer in the city.
I had met Masterji's daughter Tarla Patel some years ago and discussed producing a publication of his work. Some years later Tarla joined forces with Photo Archive Miners to begin work on a book of the Masterji archive.
This was a sensitive project to be involved in — Masterji was approaching the later stages of his life and having worked outside of the mainstream (largely white/male) photographic community for the majority of his creative career, it was a story that had to be told with both care and love.
I have worked with Ian on two photography projects and my most trusted project of designing a book that would immortalise my father’s photography, the Masterji book. Ian was cornerstone in designing the book, he is calm, clear headed and will suggest better ways of doing things. My father was delighted with the book, it was a book that he was proud of.
— Tarla Patel
Masterji gave us a clear idea of the style he wanted from a book. Prior to leaving India he had worked as a teacher, and he talked of his love of the canvas-bound textbooks with foil-blocked titles, something he considered to be a 'proper' book.
This made the thinking around the book design simple, and made sure that the focus would be around producing something that exudes quality.
The printing of the book was tasked to master bookmaker Rik van Leeuwen of Wonderful Books.