This autumn, Elm Tree Farm will host a photographic exhibition and book launch by BAFTA-winning film maker and photographer Esther May Campbell, looking at the role of ‘care’ on a farm for adults with learning disabilities.
- Thursday, 28 September and Friday, 29 September, 3pm-6pm
- Saturday, 30 September and Sunday, 1 October, 10am-6pm
Elm Tree Farm
About the exhibition and book
Water Salad on Monday is a photography book and exhibition documenting the passing seasons at Elm Tree Farm. The Farm nurtures health through friendship, learning new skills, and caring for the animals and plants. Through her photography Esther shares her insights and inspirations from the Farm over the last year.
Esther has photographed piglets tumbling into the world, big men nursing orphaned lambs, one woman’s absolute confidence with small animals, a worker’s diligence in the rhythm of seed sorting, and elemental absorption using water and fire.
She captures poignant moments in a documentary style, which contrast with her formal portraits of staff to create a series of images that bring to the fore that caring for all living things is the foundation of human connection.
The exhibition starts here at the Farm itself; images hung behind the chickens, in the mud, and amongst the trees in the orchard and vegetables in the ground.
Thoughts from the Farm
“Esther’s style gives a dignity to her subject. Even pictures where people are still, contain momentum; it’s clear that person has paused, and will be back on with their day in a short time. They make it clear that farming is hard work, it’s relentless!
“We may do it at a slower pace than a more conventional farm, but that intensity is still there and I see that conflict in her pictures – people taking a moment to just be and experience, in the middle of a whirl of purposeful activity.
“There’s some real weathered old farmers in her pictures. This is in beautiful contrast to the younger people, where there’s a freshness and vitality. An optimism. Maybe this shows the differing life experiences of those in care.” Lisa, support worker
Esther May Campbell
Esther’s analogue, painterly portraiture draws into focus the beauty and extraordinary in the often overlooked. She’s self-taught, and as a working mum, she knows the importance of connection and community.
Premiering at the Venice Film Festival, her feature film Light Years, which touches on mental illness, is currently touring the UK. Her earlier work includes the multi-awarded and BAFTA-winning September.
Her images investigate the profundity of the domestic – compassion, kindness, growth, care – and Water Salad on Monday deepens and expands on these themes.