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We are hearing more and more about the importance of storytelling and the impact authentic stories are having on the attention businesses are receiving from our consumer. It’s quite a responsibility; we have to be totally engaged emotionally with regards to how the pictures need to make you feel. Images need to trigger an emotional engagement, we are now so far from the point where the role of the image was to simply fill a space on a website. Today’s photography is more about building businesses and selling product stories in a manner that generates consumer love and loyalty.

The story of a business needs to feel real, authentic and honest remembering that our consumer is no fool – quite the opposite, totally savvy and image alert. The consumer is devouring the visual daily via Instagram threads, they are responding and reacting to images they witness, they want to be inspired, given a visual feast.  Our appetite for cookery books and beautiful foodie programmes is a real indication that the consumer wants to be entertained and beautifully.

We all like to witness life through beauty googles, it makes us feel better. If you’re in business, whether that’s retailing flour or food you need to never lose sight of doing it beautifully and with a story alongside. Our consumer wants to buy into a story, your story.  In the case of Gilchester Organics, the story is equally about Andrew Wilkinson as it is his land and the heritage grains as well as their careful approach to farming and milling. In fact, we only shot half of the story, we are also planning to capture the harvest and much more.

When we start working with a client like Gilchester the main bulk of the work starts many days prior to the shoot, sometimes weeks. It’s all about the preparation and planning, it’s vital to both Jen and I that we get the story right, we continually consider the client – who they are, the impact of the business on the consumer, how the business fits into the broader marketplace, the true meaning and feel of the product and wow the list goes on.

Why is this important?
Its all about ensuring that the collection of images becomes collateral, a ‘treasure chest’ is a term I often use, as that treasure chest is designed to enhance, develop and nurture an attention seeking business through the images we have created for them. Gilchester felt like a real privilege. In fact, we nearly curtsied to the crop!

We were both totally blown away, not just by Andrew – who is incredible – A total ‘one-off’. My partner, Aidan from Lovingly Artisan, uses flour from Gilchester Organics and has done for many years, he is passionate about its sheer quality and the influence it has on artisan sourdough. However Andrew is a legend, I could have paused the clock of life and listened to his passion for milling and farming for a very long time. He has an infectious belief in his purpose as a miller, so capturing ” the man” behind this great business was a total joy.

The importance of who and what you photograph is so deep-rooted

  1. We have to invest in the understanding, the regard, respect and affection we both shared for this man and his product was cultivated from the understanding.
  2. The Authenticity of a business, it’s product and people will become a feeling, emotion and mood within the image collection. Jen and I often refer to this as the tone of the images
  3. Heritage this was even more significant with Gilchester as it’s all about the heritage, many businesses though have heritage, history and values, this is what makes all business unique
  4. Purpose Collections of images have to become a visual narrative, working together like a novel ensuring the story is told well.
  5. Usage The images have to attract attention – be ‘attention seeking’ as the consumer wants visual entertainment
  6. Invite engagement through the beauty and imagination of approach such as shooting the crop through the crop, Gilchester is no ordinary product, so it deserves a more extraordinary approach.

Both Jen and I felt quite emotional when we witnessed the collection as a whole as we often do. You tend to form a real emotional relationship with what you capture, it matters to us as much as it matters to those we shoot for. Our final hope is that you too enjoy the images as much as we do. They have brought Andrew and Billy some genuine smiles, we would like them to bring you a few smiles too!

Have a delightful foodie week!
Words by Catherine Connor

Images by Jenny Heyworth o

Our other inspirational contacts include;

Gilchesters organics


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