I am a farmer, mother and photographer. I juggle all three so my life is pretty busy!
I take most of my photographs in black and white; I hope to convey a timeless and traditional feel of life on our farm where we keep rare breed cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry, dogs and donkeys.
My husband is also an artisan cheese-maker, making Gloucester cheeses from Gloucester cow’s milk.
I began taking photographs, as a lot of people do, when my first child was born, to record life growing up on the farm.
I had no schooling in photography at all and I was using a palm sized do-it-all camera with no real thought to the quality of the photographs but I was motivated and enthusiastic.
After several years of making colour photo books and diaries for our family I met a friend of a friend who is a working photographer. She looked at my photo’s and books, told me that she thought I had ‘something’ and suggested that I get a decent camera …
I had been following the work of a fabulous photographer in New Zealand called Niki Boon; also a home educator, living a rural life with feral children. I felt an instant connection with her images and read that she had started with a Canon 5D so I went along to a local camera shop and they happened to have a second hand one that I could just about afford. Serendipity!
I have always loved the “silver watercolour” photographs of James Ravilious (The Beaford Archive) and aspire to create a similar record of country life, focussed on our family life, working through the seasons on the farm and our links with the farming community.
One day in November 2018 I was looking at James’ photo’s on various websites and came across a friend of his called Chris Chapman. Chris was a close friend of James and also a photographer living and working on Dartmoor. I looked up his photo’s- they are truly wonderful! I went straight to ebay, bought one of his books and then went to his FB page where I discovered he was giving a talk two days later!
I jumped at the chance to go along, booked my ticket on Monday and drove down to Devon on Wednesday afternoon.
The photo of Chris, on the poster to promote that talk, was taken by another photographer living on Dartmoor called Juliette Mills. I looked up her website and discovered that she offered tailor-made workshops on the moor. I booked a session with her and spent a wonderful day where I learned a lot to improve my work. I have always been reluctant to edit my images but she introduced me to a few things that have helped when I don’t get the settings quite right and for that I’m so grateful.
Earlier in 2018 another friend introduced me to Instagram and I had begun to share photo’s with a wider community. Through Instagram I have connected with many experienced, inspiring photographers who have supported and encouraged me.
Last year I entered a competition set by the Thru The Lens gallery and was delighted to have my entry chosen as a finalist and to be exhibited (albeit for a short while as it was the week before lockdown!) I visited Hay-On-Wye and got to see my framed photo on the wall of a gallery -I would never have imagined that possible a couple of years ago.
I have just self-published my first book ‘The Show and Sale’- photographs of a Rare Breeds sale in Somerset in 2019 and hope to have my first exhibition later this year.