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Forty Farms - Conversations about change in the landscapes of Cumbria

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Over the course of a year, Photographer of the Year Amy Bateman, has captured the stories of farms across Cumbria, to create this beautiful book and a visual record of farming at a period of profound change. We juggle two jobs from home, and it’s just been a game-changer. Just sign up! It’s the best internet service I’ve ever received, and I’ve moved a thousand times! Rhian Harris, Chief Executive Lakeland Arts says, “As an arts and heritage charity, Lakeland Arts encourages creativity and the exploration of landscape and identity. We’re delighted to be hosting Forty Farms which brings to life the stories of local farmers who for generations have been fundamental in shaping the landscape and culture of this region.”

Photographer Amy Bateman said: “I have tried to reflect the widest possible range of farmers engaged with the widest variety of animals, crops, landscapes, and diversifications. Low Sizergh Farm (‘Low Sizergh Barn Farm Shop & Café’), Sizergh near Kendal – Dairy, horticulture, hospitality, poultry, tourism The accompanying conversations with farmers, often frank, sometimes funny, and occasionally painful, reflect the critical issues facing farming today.It felt wrong to walk on these tiles, such is their beauty and delicacy.” The Minton tiles, St George’s Hall, Liverpool In March 2021, British Life Photographer of the Year Amy Bateman embarked on a journey to record the stories of Forty Farms in the Lake District and Cumbria. I've got a Sony A7R IV and Sony A7 III, which I will be upgrading to a Sony A7 IV (released in December 2021). I've been very impressed with their capabilities and have had many opportunities to improve my photography and capture great images.

I remember having lessons on style in evening classes and I always thought, “How am I ever going to create a style?”. I never thought that I had a style, yet people recognize my images now and so I have realized that I do have a style – but I can only recognize it to an extent. Have quite high contrast images, more low-key than high, and focus on story-telling imagery. Nibthwaite Grange (‘Dodgson Wood’), Crake Valley near Coniston – Arts & crafts, beef, sheep, tourism I think also, there's something about photography of farmland that is quite unique. You kind of have to open your eyes a little bit more. I mean, landscape photographers do use the same leading lines of walls and fences, or gateways and openings that open a door or lead the viewer into your image. But then if you've got animals in your image, it changes the focus of the subject. A lot of people generally overlook the animals and consider them just part of the bigger composition. I generally tend to make the animals more part of the image and I like to add an element of storytelling to my images. The animals are essential because I'm photographing farm life, not only a part of it. Could you tell us more about the "Forty Farms" project? The farmer and photographer behind the Forty Farms book and exhibition took a little time recently to talk to B4RN.MISS POTTER is an enchanting love story inspired by the life of Beatrix Potter - the most successful children’s author of all time. Set in London and the Lake District in 1902, the film stars Academy Award winner Renée Zellweger as Beatrix Potter, and charts the... Dalefoot Farm ('Dalefoot Composts'), Heltondale near Penrith – Compost, peatland restoration, sheep There will be times when part of the Forty Farms exhibition can’t be viewed temporarily because the learning centre is being used for an activity.

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