E M CAMPBELL
Copyright © 2017 E M Campbell All Rights Reserved
This harvest season, Bristolian treasure Elm Tree Farm hosted a new photographic experience by E M Campbell. Water Salad on Monday was an immersive, on site exhibition of black and white photographs that tenderly picked their way through the special natures of this hidden jewel. After a year on the farm clicking her battered camera through the seasons, Campbell's book - portraying the life-affirming hotbed of care, compassion and graft that is the foundation of this and all community-minded collective endeavors - is now available.
"Sometimes you only realise what's been lacking when it suddenly appears in your life. Most photographic shows display the work in sterile surroundings, white walls and quietness, cut off from context. Water Salad on Monday is different. Instead 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. The effect is resonant, lingering, many-layered. Rich, nuanced, context floods in through the ears and nose as well as the eyes. The playfulness of the pictures' positioning adds a sense of treasure hunt. The photos themselves are the product of many months spent with the people who work at Elm Tree Farm. There's a closeness to them, a sense of deep fondness that shines from each portrait. Time taken, seasons' shift. Laughter. Rain. They're tender but not patronising, acutely observed but not intrusive. Esther's photographs build into a slow, deeply-felt love letter to the land, to community, to care in its many forms, to the play of light, to soil and sun, to tiny moments that are there and gone." Mike White, Boneshaker