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  • Fiona Bielby (Anoif Photography)

BROATS FARM | Farm Life from 365 angles...

Updated: Feb 27

Ok, this project started way back in June 2018, after being at the photography show in Birmingham, where I was totally blown away and inspired by Helen Bartlett a London-based family photographer. This is when I decided to embark on something so I could experiment and develop my skills.

Day 1 Wellies at the backdoor.

Day 1 Wellies at the back door. Hmm...a familiar sight from childhood days, are they Lawrence Borthwick's or my Papa's? Wellies at the back door filled my heart with warmth as a child knowing my Dad was finally home! I know my niece Lily will feel this too one day.

Day 98: Two of a kind

Day 98: Two peas in a pod, these two! they are even observing identically. Time to harrow and get rid of that unwalkable terrain that resulted from the ploughing, ready to seed the land again.

New Years Eve at Broats Farm, we spent it all together, with a few drinks and lots and lots of games!


I really liked the way that Helen captured families doing what they do best - just being themselves! I admired the fact that Helen did what she's most passionate about and was inspired that there is a booming market for this style of photography amongst families. This natural, relaxed and playful style is also what I love to do best, so I'm pretty pleased about this realisation.

Day 297: Two new family members.

Day 279: Two new family members! An extremely fond part of our childhood; Lawrence, Laura and Richard, do you remember Em? She followed us everywhere and even helped us keep the kids (baby goats) in check. What a lamb!

Meet Everest and Callie, Broats Farm's new pet lambs, they are just the most adorable things ever! Nat and Lily were enjoying feeding them tonight, I'm sure they'll gather some grand memories with these two too.

Day 196: So close.

Day 196: So close. We had a lovely half hour or so encouraging Charlie to get his legs in to action, backwards and forwards he went with the biggest ever grin on his face!

315: Yikes! I think I might be about the land on the floor.

315: "Yikes! I think I might be about the land on the floor."


Sometimes though, you can get so caught up in what you "think" your client wants; especially, when you're just starting out, I always forget to do what I love most and what I'm best at, it's easy to be influenced by trends.

An inspirational woman once stated the obvious to me, “If you want to do a certain type or style of photography, then make sure that's what you market, don’t put what you think everyone wants you to do on your website or you FB page if you're not so good at that or really just don't enjoy doing it.":

She said, "Eventually as your brand develops, you’ll find people will book you because of your unique style.”

What great advice, but you have to be brave to diversify from the normal, it's not for everyone and that's something you have to learn to accept.

Before I took this advice on board, it was difficult and at times stressful, wondering if I was going to do a good enough job and get exactly what they people were after. There’s pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and there’s trying to be something you're not, which is exhausting. After hearing these words, I decided I should take her advice and try it out.

That was when I truly felt I could do what I wanted, still if I wanted to do that I also needed to have the portfolio I was proud of to showcase it. So this is how my idea of capturing my brother’s recently purchased farm came about.

I needed to capture the little things around me like I would at a wedding, my aim was to treat family shoots like a wedding, because I truly believed this added to the personality of the session and the people being captured. When they viewed their gallery it should help them to see the best bits about them and their family.

Another thing I'm drawn to, is that I like to always be where the action is!

So my brief for this project was exactly the above, my dream brief! Because I knew this would take place over along period of time (a whole year) I decided that making it mainly black and white would help stitch it together nicely. Plus, there is also the fact that…I love black and white photography too, especially when it comes to farming photos!

Day 364: Harvest

Day 364: Harvest (Poem)

We've gathered in the harvest, We've cut and saved the corn. The winter days are coming, But we'll be safe and warm. The earth was warmed with sunshine, The crop drank in the rain. We've bread to feed and warm us, When winter comes again. And when the winter's over, And springtime comes around. We'll plant next season's harvest, Seeds hidden in the ground. Each seed is like a promise, Of sunshine after the rain, Of the golden grain we hope for, When itís harvest time again. Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Day 231: An extra pair of wheels.

Day 231: An extra pair of wheels.

Day 306: Behind every bright light...

Day 306: Behind every bright light...Is a great idea! This is what Rich and Lawrence have been working hard on over the last couple of days. Lawrence's new shed will have a technical mucking out system to make things easier, it needed some serous thought though and a clever idea. They've made all the gates from scratch so it was exactly as it needs to.

Day 108

Day 108: Evening RaysI managed to capture these guys in their natural state from behind the yorkshire-boarding, making the most of the last summer sun

Day 106 Unbalanced. The joys of owning vintage machinery and still actually using it for odd jobs, there was a pair of dual wheels when Lawrence started rolling the field. I know I shouldn't, but I am, and I can't help but have a chuckle to myself.​

180 The followers.

Day 180: The followers.

Day 102: Harrow the land.

Day 102: Harrow the land. The irony of it, to grow the seeds and weed the land we harrow it, yet the meaning of the word is so negative: to distress, torture and wound.

When you think about it, thats exactly what the harrow does to the earths surface.


And so it began, I took photos of the farm every time I was there, which increased immensely during the 12-month period of my project, not only did I want to capture the little changes in the seasons but the work that happened over the them seasons and how family life fitted around everything, or not, as sometimes the case maybe.

Growing up on a farm has got to be one of the best things you can experience, even so it doesn’t come without sacrifices, during harvest when everyone is busy, busy family life can be thinly lived. I remember as a child sometimes not seeing Dad for days on end, it wasn’t a problem, we were used to it, still it did make the time we had with him more precious than ever!

When he was there, we hung around him like bees around a sunflower and pestered him to death. We probably drove him mad! This was when Mum managed to get a brief break from being a ‘single parent’ and had an extra pair of eyes to help her keep us out of mischief too.

I have found that over the time of my creating and completing the project, I have slowly had the confidence to incorporate it into my family shoots more, I always advise my families to book the longer sessions, because you achieve to best ‘lifestyle’ photography this way. My couples/families, especially children need to feel comfortable around me before they will interact naturally with each other, or “forget that I’m there,” my favourite saying.

I have found the feedback astonishing, I love the reactions my families have when they see their images for the first time.

Day 63 Follow my lead.

Day 63 Follow my lead. Lots of fun walking the dogs. Steve can't go on footpaths yet, until he's had all his jabs, so a wander up Broats' drive is just the ticket!

Day 301: Cousins How long has this project been going on for? And this is my first even portrait of the 4 of them together, I can't believe it! What a bunch of gorgeousness they all are. :)

There has always got the odd portrait!

Day 248: Zzzzzz...

Day 248: Zzzzzz...Oh look here, what a familar sight... Pappa is asleep with his cup of tea at hand. Haha. Sometimes he wake himself up when he pours it on his leg! Poor Paps, I have no idea though how he sleeps upright on a kitchen chair.

Day 260: "What can I get you?"

Day 260: "What can I get you?" Now, I have to say this is definitely the type of shop keeper I enjoying coming across: eager, happy and helpful, she's pregnant to you know!

On a rainy afternoon there's nothing better than playing shops with your big cousin the pair of them are so close.

Day 10 Innovative

Day 10 Innovative. Every other farmer saw a cows water-trough; Lawrence saw an indestructable paddling pool!

Day 252: Beg!

Day 252: Beg! Lewis is loves being with the dogs especially teaching them tricks!

Day 9- Dints and Delves

Day 9- Dints and Delves. They both look pretty cheerful during these ominous times, a mysterious scrub has a appeared on Lawrence's tractor's bucket, but who did it? Hmm I really can't decide...


“You made us look beautiful”

“Aww, they always do that face.”

“It’s so us.”

“You’ve captured us, how we are.”

Are a few of the typical comment I get back! I love these so much, when people say things like this about my work, I feel like I’ve totally nailed it! So thank you to Broats for letting me use you like guinea pigs ;)

Ploughing the fields

Rainy days

Thanks to:

Broats Farm for putting up with me for 12 months, I know Lawrence wasn't always comfortable with me taking his picture, especially when he wasn't on his tractor!

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