The folk of Northampton Boot and Shoe Quarter are focus of photo exhibition

"You really need to scratch the surface."
"You really need to scratch the surface."

An exhibition celebrating the people working and in Northampton's 'footwear district' is set to open.

A photographer has captured and framed the district's "wonderful characters" and will display his work as part of a joint photography exhibition, with this next-door neighbour.

"I like capturing photos with emotion," said photographer Rob Boler.

"I like capturing photos with emotion," said photographer Rob Boler.

Half of the exhibition is from Rob Boler's collection taken on the streets of the Boot and Shoe Quarter, while the other half will be his neighbour Patrick Byrd's selection of wildlife photography.

The exhibition launch is at the Jesus Centre, in Abington Square, on April 3 from 11am - 3pm with champagne, wine and entrees for visitors. Entrance is free.

The photos will be on display throughout April and will be on sale for prices starting at £35, frame included.

Photographers Rob and Patrick live next door to each other in Brashland Drive, off Limesfield Way, East Hunsbury. They have both had careers in IT, but now they are swapping computers for cameras.

Rob Boler's collection captures the lives of the residents of the Boot & Shoe Quarter.

Rob Boler's collection captures the lives of the residents of the Boot & Shoe Quarter.

Rob Boler, 67, a retired IT technician, has been photographing the Boot and Shoe Quarter's residents for the past five years.

He said: "There's more to the Boot and Shoe Quarter than people realise and after you've spent some time walking its streets, you realise what wonderful characters are there. I love taking pictures of people that capture their emotion."

: "I just hope my pictures strike a chord with people in the area. It's a depressed-looking area and I imagine some of the people there feel a bit down about that too.

"I challenge the people of the Boot and Shoe Quarter to come and see who they recognise.

Rob has been photographing the Boot & Shoe Quarter for five years.

Rob has been photographing the Boot & Shoe Quarter for five years.

He added: "I really needed a kick up the backside to exhibit my work, and then Patrick came over and said he wanted to do an exhibition too. His enthusiasm has been terrific."

Patrick Byrd, 61, has grown a passion for wildlife photography over the last four years.

He said: "I started off doing calendars for my family and friends and got a great response from them. I'm approaching retirement now and I'd like to grow a little photography business to retire to.

"I figured the next step was to get exhibited. So I went next door to Rob to ask his advice and told him I had been thinking of going to Jesus Centre to ask for an exhibition. That's when he told me he'd been thinking of doing the same for years. I asked him if we could do a joint exhibition on the spot.

"Once you've walked the streets for a while you see some of the wonderful characters there."

"Once you've walked the streets for a while you see some of the wonderful characters there."

"He focuses on people while I'm more about wildlife. One of my most popular photos was of two swans taken on Summer Leys Nature Reserve in Northamptonshire."

Rob and Patrick, who are both members of the Jesus Centre church, will now display their work at the centre throughout April.

Tim Chapel, team facilitator at the Jesus Centre, said: "We try to run exhibitions on a regular basis but this is one of the largest ones we've had. We want to support local artists and what they do.

"We don't often have a launch event with the artists present but I'm quite excited for it."

This photo was taken on the Brackmills Country Estate.

This photo was taken on the Brackmills Country Estate.

The exhibition is a joint display with Rob's neighbour, Patrick Byrd, who enjoys wildlife photography.

The exhibition is a joint display with Rob's neighbour, Patrick Byrd, who enjoys wildlife photography.