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The Cider Makers - Graham Trott, 2008

21 April 2010

In the photograph above, Frank and his friend Paul return from apple-picking, late afternoon, in the winter sunshine. It was shot from the hip, while walking backwards, with an aperture of f1.4, so I suppose it is also a bit of a lucky shot – few of the other frames worked as well. The shallow depth of field lends a certain 3D quality to the image, and the harsh shadows and deep blue sky serve to enhance the look.

The Cider Makers project came about through a chance meeting with two elderly brothers at a Somerset farm in 2002. When I asked if I could photograph them they told me they weren’t interested, but I returned the following autumn and began a personal project which is now nearing completion.

I photographed the brothers working on the farm and making cider, just as they had done since childhood. The farmhouse had no mod cons, with no bathroom and only an outside toilet. They had lived there all their lives and neither had married, devoting their whole lives to dairy farming and cider making. Electricity was finally installed in 2003, just before I started the project. Had I returned to the farm earlier, I might have witnessed the brothers spending their winter evenings next to the Aga, bathed in candlelight, but alas, unaware, I missed that photo op.

The eldest, Harold, died in 2005, aged 84, but his younger brother Frank, now 86, continues to work and produce cider, with help from a friend. It is thought that Frank may be the oldest cider maker in the world. Unfortunately for me, this has brought him some recent celebrity, and he has made a couple of television appearances, which I worry may dilute the exclusivity of the work. But that’s just normal photographer paranoia coming into play.

After more than six years of regular visits, I now have a broad archive of images which I hope to publish soon in my first ever book and exhibition, assuming I can find an interested publisher and the funds to mount the exhibition. About time too, having been in this game for some 36 years now, I’d like to feel that I have produced something important and worthwhile, something that captures a way of life that is fast disappearing in this high tech modern world.

Graham Trott has been a professional photographer since 1974, starting as a trainee on an evening paper in Devon. Since then he has worked extensively during the 1980s for the Daily Mail, and through the 1990s for the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times. Since the mid 1990s Graham has moved towards magazine and corporate markets and now works for Time, Business Week, Focus in Germany and various business magazines and corporate clients.

Photographer since 1974, EPUK member since 1999.

See more work by Graham Trott

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