Review, Amy Bateman on photography and farming

Review: Ilkley Camera Club, Friday the 17th September 2021

Award winning photographer Amy Bateman  joined Ilkley Camera Club members from her farm in Cumbria on Friday September 17 . Amy lives and works on the 900 Acre farm with her husband and three young daughters.

Documenting the children’s early years on the farm has been important to Amy. In 2016 her husband bought her a photography course which led to a severe obsession with photography. “I loved this little black box and what I could do with it, I left my handbag behind and swapped it for a camera bag”, said Amy.  

After only a short period of time after taking the photography course Amy won the London photo festival 2017.  Her decision to become a professional photographer was then spurred on after she won the 2018 British Life Photographer of the Year competition. 

“The winning image for me captures a huge range of emotions.  When I see it I can hear the sound of the straw under the lambs’ feet and feel the warmth of the heat lamp. This image has certainly helped me to become a professional photographer.”

Amy took time to answer club members’ questions and offer advice, “the details make the story” she said.  “When photographing animals I always recommend getting down to eye level.”  

Living and working on the farm has meant that Amy gets to see the landscape through the seasons and in all weathers, “embrace the gloom”, she said.  “When the weather is dull and you can get great black and white images”.  “I love the skeleton nature of trees and their form in winter, and I really enjoy playing with the sky – the sky holds a lot more detail than our eyes can see.”

Amy’s passion for the landscape and nature shone through in her talk, and her care for the environment. The correct values and practices in farming are important to ensure sustainable farming and thriving nature.  Amy explained how important it is to leave wildlife corridors on the borders of fields and manage the farm for wildlife. “We have really wide hedgerows which connect and provide wildlife corridors. There are hares, cormorants, and swans;  there’s a whole ecosystem in these provisions”.

“We don’t plough but drill seeds directly into the ground.  We try to balance farming with nature, for example the meadows are cut late in the year.”

Finally Amy invited members to consider joining one of her farm photography tours. The tours give unique access to photography subjects normally out of reach. For anyone with a love of the countryside they will give a mental and physical boost, as well as enable some great photography capturing upland livestock farming in Cumbria. 

More information about the tours on this link

amybatemanphotography.com/tours

Listen to Amy talking about her photography on BBC Radio Four on this link

bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07sy134/p07sy002

The next meeting of Ilkley Camera Club is on Friday September 24 and will be a lecture, ‘Wildlife – From Mountains to Sea’  with Gary Jones who is a full time wildlife photographer and accomplished mountaineer, based in North Wales.

Ilkley Camera Club is currently meeting via Zoom on Friday evenings at 7.30pm. For more information visit the Club website at ilkleycameraclub.co.uk or their Facebook page,

facebook.com/ilkleycameraclub.

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