These words are taken from the forward of Brian Steptoe's stunning book of photographs entitled 'A Year on Grays Farm - Artist Edition' which I had the opportunity to flip through at Brian's exhibition at Gallery@49 in Bracknell. The exhibition 'Grays Pick-Your-Own and Farm Shop' is just a small selection of the photographs from the book, a photo documentary of his observations of the seasons and related activities on the farm located just outside Wokingham, Berkshire from July 2010 to June 2011. Brian, a fellow with the Royal Photographic Society, says he tried to keep out of the way of the workers as they carried out their tasks while taking over 2500 exposures, many with a large format camera, on 50 separate visits to the farm.
|Roadside Notice by Brian Steptoe|
Brian's images follow the seasons, from eye catching maroon seeds to bright green seedlings, ghostly strawberry plants hiding under netting through to the ripe berries on the vine. Autumn turns to deep earthy colours with the evidence of decay in the wilting leaves and crushed over ripe tomatoes. Then there's the eye catching image of the iconic strawberry frosted with the first snow of the winter sitting under a beautiful soft blue sky.
|Photograph by Brian Steptoe|
There is much more to this series than just stunning fruit and veg shots though, and through these photographic images we get a sense of the hard work and dedication that goes into maintaining a small farm by the Grays family and their staff. There are lively images of boxes and boots, detailed reflections and obscure patterns, and of course the joyous faces of children as they partake in the fruits of their labour. All of these images and many, many more are beautifully laid out, printed with superb colour, and wonderfully displayed within this glorious hard bound book. Brian has the trained eye of the professional photographer combined with an acute artistic vision, his editing and design skills allow both to shine through in the printed book form.
The exhibition was enjoyable, the book memorable!