From the Portrait Series… Meet Ivan – a Norfolk Farmer, near Great Yarmouth
Spoken in his own words in 2019.
“This is Belton Black Mill. I’ve had it since around 1994 when I purchased it. It was renovated by Norfolk Windmills Trust, but sadly it got vandalised, so the doors and windows were removed and instead metal sheets covered the entrances. Occasionally you can see Barn Owls near the capping.
I’ve been farming in this area since I was a boy, this particular farm is a lovely one, you’ll notice the lack of telegraph poles to spoil the landscape.
We supply a lot of hay, straw and the like as well as various other farming activities. It’s all I’ve ever known and although it’s a tough life, it’s also a good one.”
Adding to the portraiture theme, here is another portrait from 2019 and my ongoing project (if you know of anyone within Waveney that would make provide an interesting social history of the area, please get in touch!)
Hugh Crossley of the Somerleyton Estate
“Somerleyton is a charming run of land between the Waveney river valley to the west and the North Sea to the east, the green lung and ‘nature sink’ for Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. My family followed the path of many northern industrialists down the East Coast in search of the healthier climes and appeal of then booming seaside resorts such as Great Yarmouth. The Crossleys had made their fortune as entrepreneurs of the industrial revolution, taking a small family company and turning it into a global brand – as the slogan went ‘you can’t get better than a Crossleys carpet’ If they were intent of spending their newly won fortune, they found the ideal candidate in Somerleyton Hall, a fabulously extravagant example of Jaco-Victorian architecture – a fine seventeenth century Jacobean manor house, bejewelled with towers and extensive new gardens in the mid nineteenth century by John Thomas, favourite sculptor of Prince Albert and William Andrews Nesfield, the celebrated Victorian garden designer. I took over the management of the estate in 2005 and have focused on regenerative farming practices and restoring natural habitats as well as strengthening our tourism business at Fritton Lake. The Welsh black cattle seen here are a nod to my mother and our Welsh heritage but were bought in to replace our commercial herd. They do well on extensive naturalistic grazing systems and live as a herd outside all year around allowing them to fulfil their own natural processes, such as wallowing and self-medicating as well providing apex environmental services to the wider environment through their dung. The virtuous circle of high welfare livestock, living natural outdoor lives, the crucial environmental services they yield living this way and the obvious benefit to us having healthy pasture fed meat to eat is under exploited and deserves to be at the forefront of Government, farmer and consumers’ minds if we are to restore the natural balance that agriculture especially since the 1970’s has, unwittingly or not, done so much to harm. At Somerleyton we are committed to show casing that profitable farming can co-exist with nature restoration in the hope the other join, for if we farmers don’t work collaboratively on a landscape scale, all is lost. After the war it was justifiably our duty to never go hungry again, now it is our profound moral duty, without incentive or handouts, to restore nature to levels of super abundance for future generations of all species, not just our own”
Portrait of Howard Constantine Ranger for the Broads Authority. Spoken in his own words in 2019. “My Family are from Bury in Manchester, and we came down here as a Family for my Fathers job in 1982, so here is where I finished school. I then did some travelling, spending a year in New Zealand, but returning home I had no idea of careers. After many years working in Sheffield, I began to realise how important environmental protection was to me, so I undertook a course in environmental science at the UEA. In the process of this course I would regularly meet rangers who worked on the Broads. The Broads Authority had two teams of rangers, countryside who dealt with the land, and navigation who dealt with the water. I spent six enjoyable months with the countryside rangers, which also included working closely with the navigation team doing a guided boat trip from Ranworth Broad. Spending a year in Tasmania during my gap year in university, I got involved with projects there, and in a Government run project trapping Tasmanian Devils to enable them to do health checks, as they suffer from Devil Facial Tumour Disease, a form of facial cancer. This helped make me realise that I wanted to be doing a hands-on job. I returned and made diligent efforts to get into working as a ranger. Working in the tolls office, I also volunteered, regularly carrying out tasks such as footpath maintenance and the like. Eventually I secured a position with the ranger team on the River Yare and the following year I was lucky enough to join the Breydon team. Working with the public as they travel across Breydon is always interesting, many people aren’t aware of bridge heights, tidal flows and the like and it’s a pleasure to be able to advise and be their point of contact. The seasons are terrific around here – we maintain the biodiversity of the area, working with and helping land owners, enabling this terrific area to work for all parties”
A portrait of Mark Smart Site Manager RSPB, Halvergate Marshes Photographed in 2019 on Halvergate Marshes and spoken in his own words.
“Effectively the RSPB reserve is around 600 hectares, it’s wet grassland and sits within a stunning landscape that is around 3500 hectares in size.We’re a relatively small chunk of land within a much larger landscape.The main reason the reserve is here, is for wintering waterfowl and also breeding waders. On a good year we can get 110,000 wintering waterfowl, which includes lapwing, golden plover and pink footed geese.
e are internationally important, in fact we are in the top five of the most important estuaries of the UK, which most people don’t expect within the Norfolk Broads National Park.We are doing a lot science here, trying to understand how we can get these birds back into the wider landscape. We work with numerous landowners, wetting the areas but still enabling commercial activities to take place.
It’s important to keep that balance.My Background, before joining the RSPB was farming. I spent over 10 years fixing and driving tractors, but I had also been heavily involved with conservation, volunteering with local conservation groups, that was my passion. When redundancy came along, it was a chance to do something new and work in the industry I was passionate about. If I were to leave a legacy, it would be that I would want to see a lot more areas containing a few pairs of breeding waders”#norfolk#norwich#broadsnationalpark#rspb#birds#sitemanagement#conservation#farming#greatyarmouth#portrait
Already two weeks has passed since the opening of “Always Walking Alongside” at the fabulous Coal Drops Yard in #kingscross with Age UK Camden who managed to find such a fabulous venue to display my photographic work, from my time working with them during May – in the depth of the Pandemic.
Truly delighted to be showcasing over 20 emotive images shot during the Covid19 pandemic with AGEUK Camden. I spent a few days with the team truly in the heart of the pandemic and those affected within Camden.
The images are being exhibited at the fabulous Samsung KX in Kings Cross, London – along with a showing of the short film I put together
“Using imagery, this exhibition tells the story of the organisation, the people and the passion for providing services for older people, as well as the struggles and emotions experienced in such a challenging environment.”
Carol Baker – Owner of Lockgate Mill – Norfolk.
Fine Artist and designer.
“I own the Mill as my Father left it in his Will for me. He bought it around the early 80’s and would often come here, mooring up and sit and enjoy the serenity of the place.
In fact, that is what draws me to this area, it is so tranquil, It is quite a special place.
Father would come in on his boat, moor up in the early morning and leave at twilight. He had plans to do something special with the Mill, sadly, that never worked out.
When I acquired the Mill, I worked closely with the Broads Authority and some repairs were made, to sustain the condition, however I am hopeful planned works will begin later this year and then eventually, perhaps it can become the sketching mill I envisage.
As a designer and fine artist, I really appreciate this mill and its standing in this incredibly special place and I am keen to share my experiences with other artists.
Twilight and early morning are particularly atmospheric here. I am creating an artist hub, a sketch mill, somewhere where artists and the students I teach are able to attend and appreciate.
Outside sketching is very important to me, being able to have the essence of a memory of how you felt at a particular time is a special moment.
I Hope to make it a place where artists are able to come freely and just sketch and enjoy the incredible wildlife.
My father lived in Norfolk and we reconnected in the later part of my life, I would come up from London, visiting both my father and the mill. It was a chance to reconnect with nature, but also escape the hectic life.
These days I mainly use oils for my paintings, to be out in the open, sketching is a truly wonderful feeling”
A portrait of John – who volunteers as a stoker on the Lydia Eva – in Great Yarmouth.
Spoken in his own words in 2019.
“My job on the Lydia Eva is Stoker, shovelling coal all day, it’s the best job in the world.
These days I suffer with my joints and being down there with that heat makes me feel 18 again, it’s brilliant.
There’s no smoke in the engine room, it’s just the coal dust, it gets everywhere! We take people out on trips in the North Sea and encourage them to get involved, stoking, working on the ropes and really getting their hands dirty, a real drifter experience.
It’s the last surviving steam drifter in the world, It was built in Kings Lynn, and is the only one ever built in this shape. Really unique.
I’ve been involved with the Lydia Eva for 5 years. I left school at 14 and joined the army, I worked in Germany, driving and all sorts. Coming back to England, I worked as a bus driver in London for 10 years and then eventually moved to Great Yarmouth.
After being involved in Coast Watch for a few years, I decided to volunteer with this little lady”
A blast from the past…. These days, with my commercial and documentary work I’m shooting a lot less landscape material.
However, one of my lovely clients has just purchased this fine art print for their walls.
I remember turning up at this spot in Beccles three mornings, and finally struck gold with the lighting. Everything just fell into place to help make a wonderful capture.