Tessa Bunney



For over 25 years, Tessa Bunney (B. 1966) has photographed rural life, working closely with individuals and communities to investigate how the landscape is shaped by humans. From hill farmers near her home in North Yorkshire to Icelandic puffin hunters, from Finnish ice swimmers to Romanian nomadic shepherds her projects reveal the fascinating intricacies of the dependencies between people, work and the land.

In 2013 her work received two nominations for the Prix Pictet – the global award in photography and sustainability (theme: consumption) and was included in the book published by teNeues.

Her project Home Work was published by Dewi Lewis in 2010 and was exhibited and published nationally and internationally including the Land exhibition as part of the Noorderlicht Festival, 2010. Home Work explores the lives of female home workers in the suburbs and villages in and around Hanoi, Vietnam in the face of increasing urbanisation.

Between 2012 and 2016 Tessa was based in Laos where she was working on her long term project The Corridor of Opportunity which was supported by Arts Council England and undertaking editorial and NGO commissions throughout the Southeast Asia region. Her series The Women of UCT6 which documents an all-female UXO clearance team in Laos was published in the Financial Times Magazine (UK) and online.

She is currently working with flower farmers in Lincolnshire commissioned by North East Photography Network (NEPN) and Morecambe Bay fishermen.

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We are a nation of farmers, of gardeners, of flower lovers and our cut flower industry is worth 2.2 billion pounds a year. Flower farms were once a familiar feature of the British countryside and market gardeners grew flowers among their vegetables. In the 1800s, larger farms sprang up as transport links improved and daily trains carried violets from Dawlish, snowdrops from Lincolnshire and narcissi from Cornwall. Flower production has always necessarily been linked to transport, and with planes came a distance. Now we can have any flower at any time of year, flown in from the equator, or hothoused in vast Dutch greenhouses.

Recently a number of smaller British flower farms have sprung up, fuelled in part by the wider, resurgent interest in locally produced, seasonal, sustainably grown produce. They are contributing to a vibrant ‘artisan’ cut-flower industry in the UK. My project explores this new movement for ‘fair trade-in flowers’, a celebration of the domestic growers past and present.

“We love flowers because they represent something that was taken from us. Growing them was what the British did until the 1980s, but by embracing the global we lost the local. It’s no coincidence that just as we realise we’ve lost 90% of this country’s wildflower meadows, the flowers we’re asked for most are poppies, cornflowers and scabious.” Caroline Beck, Flower Grower and Garden Writer

I am working in collaboration with members of non-profit organisation Flowers from the Farm.


Somewhere in England

These images are Tessa's exploration in England.