The Secret Life of the Pencil


In our digital world, the humble pencil still holds a certain allure, as demonstrated in a new photographic series by Alex Hammond and Mike Tinney. The duo has shot close-up images of the pencils used by a variety of artists, writers, and designers (including Sir Paul Smith, above left, and Stephen Fry, right), with the individual quirks of the tools revealing much about the personalities of their owners…


Pencils belonging to authors Alexander McCall Smith, left, and Posy Simmonds


Designer James Dyson’s pencils

Over 50 of the biggest names in the arts have contributed to the project – from Sir Quentin Blake to Dave Eggers, Peter Saville to Nadav Kander. The appeal of the photographs comes particularly from the habits and tastes that they reveal about the participants: Stephen Fry’s hand-shaved pencil against James Dyson’s far more technical tool, for example.

The project is supported by Sir Paul Smith, and an exhibition of the photographs will take place at Smith’s gallery on Albemarle Street in London from May 19 until June 3. A charity auction, of both the prints and some of the pencils themselves, will also take place online during the exhibition’s run, with all proceeds raised donated to Children in Crisis.


Pencils belonging to designer Tom Dixon, left, and author William Boyd


Poet Christopher Reid’s pencil set

See the original article @ Creative Review

More information on the exhibition is at; and on the auction, which is hosted by Paddle8, at