One of my first shoots in the food market was with West Berkshire Brewery. Recently, Ferment Magazine got in contact asking if I would be interested in photographing Renegade, the experimental, crafty arm of West Berkshire Brewery. Living local, I jumped at the opportunity to work with the brewery again. Griffin Maggs, son of Helen and David Maggs who founded West Berkshire Brewery was brewing on the day I visited. It was great to work with the brewers again and see the company succeeding in a difficult market. The following is a selection of photographs from the full series for Ferment.
On a beautiful summer's day, I took a trip to visit my dear friend Griffin's parents - Helen and Dave Maggs. Founders of West Berkshire Brewery, the Maggs' are kind, warm and considerate people whom are passionate about many areas of the arts and nature. After getting lost several times, and finally heading down a two mile stretch of track, I found myself at their beautiful cottage, which looks like something out of the Lord of the Rings. Beautiful carved doors, timber ceilings, with nick-nacks and plants galore, I was taken aback by the quirkiness of their little cottage. We sat for a while eating cheese and biscuits and chatting, before Dave headed into the converted garage to play the guitar, and Helen took me out to get changed into our bee-keeping suits.
Unfortunately, at the time of visiting Helen was having a bee crisis. Her hive population was down and we found dead bodies scattered. Grubs were being rejected by the bees and the honey wax was a strange colour.
Unfortunately, since my time there all the bees have vanished from the hive. Helen will be investigating the reason the bees left and will keep me posted, but it is certainly a sad way to finish the 5 profitable years she had with the bees.
Yesterday, I sat down with Lara, the head chef at The Pantry in Yattendon, Berkshire. Trained as a pastry chef, Lara creates beautifully unique and mouth-watering bakes and I can't wait to see what she does next!
Find part one here.
For the second day on the Narrative Landscape workshop run by Tim Richmond and Cheryl Newman we visited the sand dunes near Hinkley Nuclear Power Station. A flat and desolate landscape, the dunes can only be entered by one tiny country track so you rarely come across anyone else walking. After walking for twenty minutes, Tim got out his camera and took a photograph. Here are the shots from the morning.
At the end of April, I spent three days in the company of internationally acclaimed photographer Tim Richmond and curator, photography consultant Cheryl Newman, who contributed to the Telegraph Magazine for more than 15 years, on their workshop 'The Narrative Landscape'. Set in the heart of Somerset, we spent three days discussing photography, visiting local areas of interest and working on personal projects. The experience was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Tim, his wife the amazing Lee Wallick, and Cheryl and hearing their input about my work.
Over the next few posts I will be sharing the three mini series I photographed while in Somerset.
On our first outing we visited recently closed Wansbrough Paper Mill on a very wet and windy day. The site was enormous, and luckily we had access to all of it! During my hour documenting the site I only found one closed door so the possibilities for photographing were endless. I spent twenty minutes just exploring the site, finding small remains of human activity, before getting the camera out of my bag. The mill itself was beautiful but also had a great sadness about it. Here is a small snapshot of my time there.
Recently, me and Daniel at Something Fishy took a trip to Scotland to meet and document at a Salmon farm. We spent two days at a beautiful loch-side village in Northern Scotland learning about the trade and skill set of a Salmon farmer. We were lucky enough to witness the delivery of the baby Salmon from Northern Europe, an occasion that only happens once every two years, and then also see the harvesting procedure as the fish reach the end of their lives. Unsure about what to expect before the trip, I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the care and passion of the farmers. The pens weren't overcrowded like I expected them to be and the fish weren't stressed at all. They were fed a fantastic diet of hand selected organic produce and lice management was controlled naturally by including small lice eating fish called Ballam Wrasse in the pens. I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting and chatting with the salmon farmers, who were usually second or third generation fisherman.
The Salmon farms provide a great source of business and job opportunities for the local communities, and although it is a hardworking trade, it is also rewarding.
As well as being an MOT garage, Yattendon Garage also conducts Classic Car restoration work and repairs. I would often help my father take his Classic Cars to the garage to get their MOT's and during that time I became increasingly aware of the vintage nature of the premises. Using mostly traditional repair equipment inside a warehouse that is being retaken by nature emoted an atmospheric representation of a fore-gone time. Surrounding the building are various Classic Cars in an array of conditions - from derelict to show-room standard - ongoing projects untaken by the Yattendon Garage's owner Roland.
While working at the pub I got to know Roland and his employees a little better when they would occasionally pop in after work. Yattendon Garage has been on my list of places I wanted to photograph for a while so it was great to be granted access on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
Me and Daniel at Something Fishy recently went up to Scotland to meet his Salmon suppliers Wester Ross - photos of that to come soon. Also during that time Daniel moved his business premises next to renowned game butchery Vicars Game and has been managing their fish counter. Things are really taking off for his business, Direct Seafoods and Coopers of Andover now supply his fish. They requested some close ups of the products so I took some time to photograph the smoked salmon he has on offer.
My alarm was set for 3:45. I was due to get up and meet deer stalker Alastair at local game-meat butcher Vicars Game. I arrived and we promptly got to work. With dozens of deliveries lined up for the day ahead, Alastair started the process of preparing the meat and filing the paperwork for the Michelin starred clients. At Vicars Game, he wraps the deer carcasses in muslin and tags them based on weight and client, all before 6am when he sets out for a day of sales.
We started the second day at Something Fishy headquarters by hot smoking some salmon fillets. A fire pit has been built into the ground which is attached to piping connecting the pit to the smoking container. A fan draws the smoke from the fire which smokes the fish. The whole smoking process can take up to a couple of hours which left Dan with plenty of time to show me previous examples as well as take me on deliveries to some of his suppliers which include Vicars Game.
Winter is in full swing and I have once again been spending time with local deer stalker Alastair. In a bid to reuse as much of the animal as he can, Alastair has been collecting the skulls from his kills for a few years. He currently going through the process of bleaching and repairing the bones ready for mounting. A long and tedious process, it requires the patience of a saint as well as the precision of a needle-worker.
Yattendon Forestry lies deep within the West Berkshire countryside. Solely dedicated to providing homegrown Christmas Trees it is one of the most successful businesses of its kind in the whole of Berkshire. They grow and harvest trees on a large scale - currently up to 50,000 each year. All stock is from replanted nurseries on the Estate, on a 8-9 year cycle making them fully sustainable. I visited the Forestry during peak season, and although the Tree Barn was filled with crowds, the surrounding mill was deserted.
On Monday I spent the morning with Daniel Knowlson at Something Fishy smokery. Having worked as a chef since the age of sixteen in top Michelin starred restaurants across the country, and specializing in smoking meat and fish during this time, he recently decided it was time to start his own business. You will find Something Fishy deep within the Berkshire countryside on an estate that dates back to the 9th century, but is currently owned by the Betts family who have been farming here since 1909. The smoking containers he works out of are surrounded by the old mills which are no longer used but still contain the original equipment.
Over the coming weeks I will be documenting Dan's first steps and learning about what makes his new start up, Something Fishy, special.