a photographer's notebook issue 16
introducing Betty

In this month’s newsletter we follow the early days in the life of Betty the piglet as she is hand reared by Chris … spoiler 
alert … Betty is special, will go on to live a rich and full life, have a series of meaningful relationships … and lots of children. 
Further down you can see the results from a test day as I got to play with a very new and clever piece of lighting kit.


I first met Chris, seen here with Betty, while shooting a new range of ciders at Four Elms Fruit Farm. At the time he was hand rearing another piglet, Nudge, who could often be seen with her head out of the car window, enjoying the breeze as Chris drove his pick-up around the various local orchards. 

We already know the great lengths Chris will go to keep his pigs happy and on this occasion he was there to pick up some waste apple pulp. When apples are juiced using a rack and cloth press it creates a by-product known as apple pomace, which, when blended with a bit of extra fibre, makes a very tasty source of carbohydrate that pigs absolutely love …



Betty is half Mangalitsa and half Devon Black. This is her dad Django, a real character who loves a good back rub …


… and this is her mum Margot with Betty’s brothers and sisters. It was just unfortunate that Betty was a little smaller and needed a bit of extra help.



A few weeks later and Betty is now bigger and strong enough to accompany Chris as he goes on his rounds.

Along the way they call in on Betty’s family and various cousins as well as playing games of chase, but Betty still wants to come back to Chris for a cuddle when she gets tired. 


Another couple of weeks have passed. The decision to hand rear a piglet is not an easy one. Betty has been living in the house for months, and has formed really strong bonds with Chris who has been both mum and dad throughout.

Chris is still supplementing Betty’s feed but now it’s time for her to go back to her real family. However as she rejoins her mum and siblings, the look of betrayal on Betty’s face speaks volumes.

I was extremely lucky recently to have the opportunity to test a new piece of kit called Light Revolution, a unique 360 degree lighting rig that allows fine and crafted control over both subject matter and background. Not only is it infinitely varied in its potential it also offers great possibilities in bulk product work. To give myself a challenge I chose to work with humdrum household objects …


… from a ‘punchy' reel of twine  


… to a ‘flat’ ball of string.


A prickly cactus.


From the humble pan scourer ...

… to revealing the natural beauty of the common or garden fir cone.

You can read more about Light Revolution here ...


With summer now upon us I am exploring the craft of thatching and, with my curiosity piqued, I have been delving into the provenance of some of the various materials used in the thatching process. As temperatures have soared, I have documented the earliest yet harvest of wheat straw using equipment from a bygone age and observed the lesser known practice of stooking where farm workers toil from dawn to dusk gathering the unthreshed sheaves of grain, standing them on end to dry, away from moisture and vermin!

to see more of Charlie’s photographs, visit the website at e m 07802 820408
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