The Faces Behind Our Food

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Behind the food on our plates lies a group of real people with lives like, and unlike, our own. We invite you to come and meet them…

(thanks to Kate Drummond at www.tickled-pink.co.uk for the leaflet design)

In August 2016 I was commissioned by LESS, Lancaster to photograph 24 portraits of 12 local (to Lancaster) food producers, ranging from small home businesses to large scale industries. The Faces Behind Our Food explores the personal stories of twelve food and drink producers working in Lancashire, using imagery and stories to explore the complex environmental, social, animal welfare and political issues that shape the food that we eat. It’s a little look into the lives of the people who put the food on our tables, to see… the Faces Behind Our Food.

I have some great memories of the shoots. Along the way I had a scary moment with a wasp inside my beekeepers mask, my wellies sank so deep into the silt of Morecambe Bay, I was sure they would never come out, a shoot was cancelled at the last minute for a ‘goat emergency’, after rescheduling, I had my jeans nibbled at by goats, as I sat in a field surrounded by them, observing an immigrant family share a meal with workers on the Claver Hill community farm, getting up at the crack of dawn to watch sheep being milked for cheese, and I sampled some amazing foods!

As well as photographing our subjects, we also interviewed them and recorded their stories.

The portraits (and interview extracts) will tour Lancaster District from October 2016 – May 2017. Along the way, animator Ginny Koppenhol will run several community workshops where the public will be invited to delve deeper into the stories and images and produce short animations to bring the stories to life.

The exhibition will launch on Thursday 20th October from 7:00-8:30pm at the The Storey, Lancaster. The exhibition’s photography and stories will be shared for the first time. Anna & Desna (from LESS), myself and Ginny will be there to talk about the artwork and issues. And, on Saturday 22nd October Ginny will run a free taster drop-in stop-motion animation workshop from 2-4pm in the Thomas Storey Room at the Storey, Lancaster. The exhibition and workshops are free of charge.

The Faces Behind Our Food exhibition will tour Lancaster District until May 2017. Venues and dates include the following:

  • 20-31 October 2016: The Storey
  • 1-30 November 2016: Pavilion Café, Williamson Park
  • December 2016 – January 2017: An art trail will be created across a number of Lancaster’s cafes including The Radish, Whale Tail, Roots and the Cornerstone Café
  • 1-28 February 2017: Market Place Restaurant, Lancaster University
  • 1-31 March 2017: The HotHouse, More Music, Morecambe
  • 1-31 April 2017: Lancaster Library
  • 1-28 May 2017: Halton Mill, Halton, Lancaster

The project will culminate on Saturday May 6th 2017 with a final event at Halton Mill, Lancaster, where the photos, interviews and animations will be presented in full, with the artists, project team and some of the producers present to talk about the artwork, the businesses and present samples of produce to taste. Full details are available on the LESS project site.

Prints from the exhibition are available to buy from my shop.

[envira-gallery id=”8173″]

The producers featured are:

  • Thornton Meadow Mushrooms, Quernmore
  • Billy’s Eggs, Milnthorpe
  • Filbert’s Bakery, Lancaster
  • Stephensons Dairy, Lancaster
  • Edmondsons Fresh Fish, Morecambe
  • Mansergh Hall Farm, Kirkby Lonsdale
  • Growing With Nature, Pilling
  • Dolphinholme Honey, Dolphinholme
  • Cockerham Boers, Cockerham
  • Claver Hill Community Farm, Lancaster
  • The FIG Tree, Garstang
  • The Borough Brewery, Lancaster

My thanks go to Anna Clayton/Desna McKenzie from LESS, to Ginny Koppenhol for sharing the artistic journey, to Graham Dean for making the exhibition prints and assisting with the hanging, to John Kingston for help with hanging, to Kate Drummond for the typographic design, to all the fabulous people who allowed me into their lives briefly and to Arts Council England for supporting the project.

Lottery Funded: Supported using public funding by Arts Council England