Documentary Photography

Bee Yourself


I came across the Harrow Beekeepers’ Association (HBKA) when I was looking for a farming community to photograph. I am always been fascinated by people who go into farming as an escape from city life. They have decided to do something more meaningful with their lives. I love to capture the spirit of communication between people when they get close to nature.

Beekeepers look very self contained working on their own hives, but the reality is that they collaborate with each other by sharing their knowledge. For example, one beekeeper who originally kept bees in Iraq is often seen helping other beekeepers. HBKA reflects the diversity of Harrow. There are at least 16 different nationalities.

Beekeeping is important for the survival of bees and it seems to me that this sense of common purpose makes the beekeeping community stronger. I photographed the community during the winter, which was the quiet season for both bees and beekeepers. However, I believe that is why I could encounter the precious personal moments of the community has.

I would like to thank all the beekeepers in HBKA who always welcomed me at the apiary, my tutor Ben Edwards who gave me good advice and all my colleagues in my class in MA Documentary Photography and Photojournalism, University of Westminster.

(c) 2014 Aya Watanabe