Home Features The refuelling of remote communities

The refuelling of remote communities

  Luss, Scotland, Leica M10
Luss, Scotland, Leica M10

Phil Coomes, a keen Leica enthusiast and curator of The Leica Society’s Circle D monthly photographic competition, has just completed a magnificent photo essay on rural fuel stations for the BBC website.

  Pateley Bridge, England, Leica M10
Pateley Bridge, England, Leica M10
  Llanwddyn, Wales, Leica M10
Llanwddyn, Wales, Leica M10

Most of the content was shot on the Leica M240 or M10 with, as Phil says, “a bit of Nikon here and there”. Phil’s photographs, all reproduced in monochrome, indeed evoke the spirit of these remote communities and the way in which dedicated independent retailers and, in some cases, community organised automatic dispensers, are helping to make life easier. 

  Porlock, England, Leica M240
Porlock, England, Leica M240

When the nearest petrol pump is a two-hour drive away, and when there is insufficient business for the big companies to make a profit, it often comes down to self-help and the ingenuity of local residents. I can thoroughly recommend Phil’s story which you can find here.

All images ©Phil Coomes 2018


  1. I know Phil through the Leica Society and his work for the BBC. He has a wonderful eye for detail which a lot of us would miss. It is important that the elements of life in rural societies are documented before they change forever. James Ravilious did this kind of work in Devon for many years and we were privileged to have his widow Caroline show us some of his work at the Leica Society AGM some years ago. The same type of changes are happening in rural areas in my country, but the sense of community spirit which they have is still very strong. Phil has captured that type of spirit in the communities which he has visited. Well done.


  2. Its a great story and I had meant to tweet it so thanks for reminding me. Its amazing to see the photos of Porlock garage, I lived in the town about 40 years ago and the garage appears to be exactly the same as then.

  3. Well, you have inspired me to get doing a lot more monochrome processing. B&W is what got me into photography in the 1970s. I loved seeing prints emerge in the developer and enjoyed whole weekends in the darkroom perfecting the dodging and burning of a photo.

    I love your images but I particularly love the magic in the first image. The fleeting decisive moment is so perfectly captured – I keep going back to that image.

    I grew up in a small town of 400 souls and these communities are rapidly disappearing due to people moving to urban areas for jobs – I did this but I feel far more isolated.

    It is critical to capture these communities as they are rapidly disappearing.

    Thanks for the inspirational post!


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