Water Salad on Monday was an on-site, immersive experience of cinematic photographs that tenderly picked their way through the special natures of Elm Tree, a working farm staffed by adults with learning disabilities. The show pasted, stapled and hung vast monochrome portraits and fleeting moments onto walls, hay bales and sheds around the farm itself. Esther was in situ to witness animal birth and death, mud and blood, community and care while clicking her battered, analogue cameras through the seasons. Portraying the life-affirming hotbed of care, compassion and graft of the farm, the exhibition was a treasure trail of sensory pleasure holding still life for a single moment, surrounded by its living, breathing muses in resplendent Autumn light.
The accompanying limited edition book is now available.
Sometimes you only realise what’s been lacking when it appears. Most photographic shows display work in sterile surroundings cut off from context. Water Salad on Monday is different. The pictures – a poignant mix of unguarded portraits, captured moments, still lives – are chanced upon in unexpected places around the farm on which they were taken. In an orchard, a pig sty, pinned to a straw bale, hidden in a barn, peeped at through a high window and the effect is resonant, lingering, multi-layered. Rich, nuanced, context floods in through the ears and nose as well as the eyes. There’s such a closeness to the photos. Tender and acutely observed, building to a deeply-felt love letter to the land. Mike White, Boneshaker.
There is love in these photos. The quality is fantastic– Darren Shepherd, photographer
I can’t recommend this enough. A wonderful immersive exhibition. Esther has taken hugely emotive shots of the people who work on the farm… It’s such a fabulous idea and if I’m honest, it blew me away. – Lifestyle District
I genuinely don’t know how Esther does what she does – the photos are remarkable, relevant, heart-felt and important– Adam Laity, cinematographer
Amazingly beautiful, grounded, unpretentious – Dave Howell, Fatcat Records
An utter delight, beautifully produced and a wonderfully empathetic portrayal – Black and White photography magazine
It is the most wonderful, gentle and intimate portrait of people and place. We left with full hearts, you will too – The Forge, Bristol
Water Salad on Monday was kindly supported by The Arts Council of Great Britain.