In April I began a period of work shooting for the Wye Valley Meadery, a local brewing company originally founded in Chepstow and ran by brothers Kit and Matt Newell, who were about to complete an entire rebrand of their business – soon to be renamed the Hive Mind Mead & Brew Co. They had already enjoyed an admiralable level of success and exposure having been praised and endorsed by TV personality and local celebrity Kate Humble. The company has also appeared on an episode of popular BBC television show The Hairy Bikers.
As part of the rebrand, the guys were looking for an enitrely new suite of marketing imagery that captures and emphasised a bold new move to stand out from other companies in the brewing scene. They were particularly keen on a more down to earth, lifestyle approach that showed more emphasis on the bees and honey aspects of creating mead, as well as more emphasis on people enjoying the products in a social ‘real world’ setting.
Added to this, they’d been talking to several marketing agencies about the prospect of having a brand film made to showcase the evolution of Wye Valley Meadery into Hive Mind. After going down to pitch for the opportunity, I was thrilled that they loved my ideas and opted to use me and support a fellow local business through their journey.
The result was a series of shooting phases continuing through spring and summer to produce the final brand film, as well as a bank of fresh imagery showcasing the various products and processes. Additionally, I was also asked to shoot some merchandise shots and also travelled to both the Green Gathering festival and CampBestival Shropshire to capture the boys’ summer promotional activities to help push Hive Mind’s brand further away from home.
All in all, I got to climb into a bee keeper’s suit and get up close and personal with thousands of honey bees (only got stung twice…). I got to observe and capture the complete process of brewing beer. I got to go out around the beautiful Monmouthshire countryside on a summer’s day delivering crates of mead to various local suppliers. I got to meet some amazing, hardworking people working behind the scenes at festivals. I got to witness the wonder on children’s faces as they learned about the life cycle of a working bee. And most importantly, I got to bring my visions to life – from concept to fruition – and push myself to achieve shots and images I just wouldn’t have been able to achieve six months ago.
I’ve loved every minute of working with Kit and Matt – two of the nicest people you could hope to meet, with wonderful and supportive families – and it’s been great diving deeper into my journey of shooting and creating for local brands and businesses!
One last thing – I’d highly recommend the rhubarb or ginger sparkling mead!
At the start of the year I had the idea of ‘documenting’ Caldicot, the town where I live, with the mind to have a year of images printed into a book. I thought it would be cool to take shots of the every day sights and moment-in-time occurences around the area, the beautiful and the not so, to paint a picture for someone who may never have seen the place. It became a personal goal to have something to show by the end of 2021.
As the year went on and things became more hectic I struggled to find time to keep up with taking regular shots, but came to realise I was sitting on years of images that I’d taken under different contexts and scenarios. Enough to compile a small book.
I’m pleased to say I was able to put something together that still manages to fulfill my goal of sorts. While it wasn’t quite the project intended, I’m chuffed with the results and as any photographer will tell you – there’s nothing quite like seeing your images in print.