Bees (and other species)

The Ink Collective, Anne-Marie Briscombe, Anna Sellen, Nat Wilkins, Lucy Saggers, Kate Oakes, Ismail Khokon

Bees (and other species)
© Ismail Khokon. The Ink Collective
Bees (and other species)
© Lucy Saggers
Bees (and other species)
© kate Oakes
Bees (and other species)
© Anne Marie Briscombe
Bees (and other species)
© Nat Wilkins
Bees (and other species)
© Anna Sellen

‘Tipping points’ are critical moments in an ecological or social system. Beyond these points, significant and often unstoppable changes can take place. Although gradual changes can be difficult to see, indicator species like Bees (and other species) act as environmental barometers, revealing changes in the health of the natural world. Bees (and other species) are also vital as pollinators, maintaining Earth’s ecosystems, biodiversity and the agriculture that sustains humanity. Yet bee numbers are dramatically falling: worldwide a third of wild bee species are in decline, and in Britain 97% of wildflower meadows have gone.

Ink photographers each explore a different aspect of humanity’s connections to and reliance on Bees (and other species). The group’s work covers Bees (and other species) and their capacity to reconnect us with nature and with each other; to contribute to our health and wellbeing; as an allegorical tool reflecting human society; to indicate the health of meadow habitats; to highlight biological data recorders and to explore our dependence on pollinators for one in three mouthfuls of food. Through this group photographic project, Ink examines issues including the value of nature in urban settings, habitat loss, our dependence on bees for food production and the importance of the work of conservationists.

Presented through photographic series, moving image and sound, Ink questions the potential ‘tipping point’ humanity has reached within the fragile natural world, considers lessons we can learn from our current state of uncertainty and contemplates the opportunities for action now.

About Artists

Portrait of The Ink Collective

The Ink Collective

Ink is a collective of six emerging photographers based throughout the UK. Members Anna Sellen, Anne-Marie Briscombe, Ismail Khokon, Kate Oakes, Lucy Saggers and Nat Wilkins are united by their shared interests and drive to collaborate to produce stronger, richer and more meaningful work.

With expertise in photography, conservation, psychology, beekeeping and the arts, Ink explores each members’ individual response to common themes. From unique vantage points – north to south, rural to urban, we draw on different cultures and identities. Having formed in uncertain times, during the Covid pandemic, via Redeye’s 2021 Lightbox programme, Ink members are delighted to launch their inaugural project ‘Bees and other species’ at Diffusion Festival 2021.

image: Meadow study by Anna Sellen

Portrait of Anne-Marie Briscombe

Anne-Marie Briscombe

Anne-Marie Briscombe is a London based documentary photographer originally from South Wales. She studied Psychology and later completed an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. Both disciplines inform Anne-Marie’s practice and she is currently exploring the role community projects play in mental health and wellbeing. Anne-Marie enjoys creating long-term, portrait-centred projects. She is interested in observing how we navigate an increasingly complex world. Drawing on her own personal experience she makes connections with people and creates natural pictures of people and place. This year Anne-Marie has been working on a socially engaged Covid-related project for a mental health charity, exhibiting this autumn. Anne-Marie has immersed herself in a new collaborative co-working approach as a member of the recently formed Ink.

Portrait of Anna Sellen

Anna Sellen

Anna Sellen is a photographer who focuses her lens on people and places undergoing transition and change. Originally from Far-Eastern Russia, Anna currently lives and works between the West Coast of Wales and Cambridge. Her work responds to such diverse subjects as the physical environment, identity and memory. Transition remains the common thread that embraces this diversity within her work. Anna’s approach is multimedia and often involves sound, text, moving and still images.

As artist-in-residence at the Kelvedon Hatch Cold War Bunker (2020-2021), Anna uses her family’s and the bunker’s archives to explore personal and collective memories of the Cold War. Her work “Bunker Diaries” won the Shutter Hub Portfolio Award at FORMAT 2021.

Portrait of Nat Wilkins

Nat Wilkins

Nat Wilkins is a documentary and portrait photographer based in North East England. He is currently focusing on the Arts Council funded project Absent Presence exploring fatherhood, his practice also incorporates explorations of rural hinterlands, the culture of upland agriculture as well as wider environmental concerns. Seeing photography both moving and still as inherently powerful tools in the weaving of narratives, he plays with elements of both to present work in new and innovative ways through exhibition and publication. He sees collaboration as critical to his creative practice, being an active member of Wideyed and a founding member of Ink photography collectives.

He also draws on his previous career in nature conservation management when producing and delivering creative participatory projects adopting photography and film to interpret natural and cultural heritage.

Portrait of Lucy Saggers

Lucy Saggers

Lucy Saggers is a documentary photographer particularly drawn to stories of connection between people and their landscape. She is interested in the impressions we leave on each other, on the land, and in turn the marks that a place may leave on us. Lucy works to develop understanding and trust with her participants to allow a natural authenticity into the environmental portraits she makes. Remaining as unobtrusive as possible, Lucy uses a handheld camera and available light, applying techniques to reach into the shadows of the natural world or dark domestic and agricultural interiors. Her long-term project, Ford of the Sorrel, is about her home village of Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, and will be published by Bluecoat Press in Autumn 2021. From her home studio, Lucy produces limited edition prints on heavyweight, cotton fine art paper giving an honest immediacy and evocative quality.

Portrait of Kate Oakes

Kate Oakes

Kate Oakes is a disabled artist currently based in Manchester. She is a recent photography graduate who is developing her practice through the Salford University Graduate Scholarship programme. Through this scholarship year and during Covid she began to witness and analyse the micro-aggressive forms of ableism and the isolation of ‘the other’ which currently controls our present-day society.

In her work she explores how creativity can broaden our perspectives of life and the world we inhabit. Her work is research focussed including the current“You are what you eat,” which looks at the relationship between language, numbers, and type one diabetes. In other work she questions the notions of divide and conquer through a mixed media approach, she intwines her findings with her exploration of the many facets of language which heavily influence our relationship with the other, our environment and all its cohabitants.

Portrait of Ismail Khokon

Ismail Khokon

Ismail Khokon was born in Bangladesh, where political violence and social injustice are widespread. He came to England at a young age and has developed his practice in opposition to early experiences of oppression, centring on exploration of creative expression, social justice, and environmentalism. By using the medium best suited to a project, or line of enquiry, he works across photography, painting, sculpture, and installation to bring attention to the experiences of those who have been systematically marginalised. In 2020/21 Ismail began ‘Covid 19 and Creativity’, a photographic, text-based and socially-engaged project exploring how imagination can overcome restrictions, with a focus on individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds in Nottingham.

Ismail is an Associate Artist at New Art Exchange, Nottingham, where he develops and delivers their After School Art Clubs predominantly to young migrants. He supports participants to explore their cultural heritage or roots and their futures. In September 2021 he delivered ‘Healing Through Unity’, as part of Nottingham’s Mela festival.