In September 2020, I visited Bethan and her family, at their hill farm in the heart of Exmoor. Autumn colours were just starting to peek through; it was a gloriously sunny couple of days. After capturing their life together, alongside their dogs, sheep and Stabiliser cattle, Bethan kindly wrote the following review…
We are very proud of our farm, and everything we do here, but it is an extremely solitary life for much of the time. I had often thought that when we are busy with our farming calendar(those jobs that mark the progress of the year), how nice it would be to have a visual record of what we do. Not moments just caught on my phone!
When I found Lucy’s photographs on Instagram, I could see immediately that she would be the perfect person for the job. Classed as a ‘rural lifestyle photographer’, Lucy’s Instagram account @lucynewsonphotography, is full of gorgeous examples of her work, and her obvious emotional connection to the countryside. She says that she is “passionate about British farming and everything Countrylife.” A girl I could relate to!
When I originally spoke to Lucy and asked her if she would take some pictures of us, and our life, I hadn’t realised that we would be given so much more. As Lucy says on her website www.lucynewsonphotography.co.uk, her “mission is to capture memories that are perfectly you”.
The day that Lucy arrived on the farm was a fabulous, sunny September day. A miracle had come to pass!! We do get a lot of rain and fog on Exmoor! Lucy had advised us to choose a few days where she would be able to follow all of the family as we went about our day to day. For us this meant moving sheep with a quad bike and a sheepdog, bringing cattle in off the hilltop for pregnancy scanning, and a day of working with our ewes, making sure they were in tiptop shape ready to be put with the rams. A busy few days!
When Lucy arrived, she set to work immediately. I took her to see possible locations to capture the best of the action, and also where to take the group family pictures. Before the pandemic it was so rare to find all of us together, especially as George had been working abroad. His return, just before the first Lockdown, meant extra time spent as a family. The only positive part of this strange year. Lucy was able to take full advantage of that. We all had such fun together, and what fabulous pictures they were!
Over the two days, when we were shown some edited highlights at the kitchen table, we were amazed how Lucy didn’t miss a thing! She not only saw all that was important to us, but she captured truly special memories. That is a rare talent.
She showed us Rustle peeking through the gate wanting to join the work party. The way Dan slunk low as he approached his flock, with all eyes on him. My Farmer, on his quad bike, leading the herd he is so proud of, back over the farm. The boys laughing, standing on tiptoes trying to look the tallest in the group shots. My beautiful, wonderful spaniels. Not a thing was missed.
After returning to Essex, Lucy edited the pictures, and we had a meeting via Zoom. We were shown the photos via my laptop and were talked through what we saw. All the photos were safely kept on a memory stick, to download or have printed, to do whatever we wanted with them. I have already shared lots of them on my Instagram page. Such an easy process. The hard part was deciding which ones to print! So many beautiful images. We have chosen some for the wall and the rest are in a printed book, to look at and show whenever we want.
Lucy was such a pleasure to work with and so easy to share our days with. She made the experience very relaxed and comfortable. In fact, we all agreed, that we had really enjoyed showing Lucy our life here on Exmoor. It was an opportunity to see our lives through another person’s eyes. We were rather proud of what we saw! It isn’t often you have that sort of opportunity.
All in all, a very enjoyable and successful experience for us here.
So much so, that Lucy is returning to us for lambing time! Lots of wonderful scenes to photograph then. I have promised to show her the ropes and I’m really looking forward to it.