Bournemouth University launches photography exhibition to explore rewilding

The UK’s first photography exhibition exploring the concept of rewilding is launched this month at Bournemouth University’s Atrium Gallery.

This exhibition by Dorset photographer and conservationist Dr Sam Rose aims to ‘unpack’ the concept and help people learn more; and encourage them to get involved themselves.

The gallery hosts a range of over 40 images, including the animals that are the “engineers of the ecosystem” and enable regeneration, the people who choose to regenerate, and the resulting landscapes.

It also includes drone photographs of some areas being rewilded, and a range of black and white fine art images that explore the ‘mess’ and uncertainty that surrounds rewilding.

The work has been undertaken over the past two years as part of a Masters in Photography at nearby Bournemouth University of the Arts.

Case studies have been undertaken as far afield as Glenfeshie in Scotland and the Lizard in Cornwall, although particular emphasis is placed on the Knepp Wildlands in West Sussex.

Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project and the first person Sam interviewed for this project said: “This exhibition is simply wonderful. Sam Rose has a very unusual gift, his camera becomes an extension of himself revealing landscapes , wildlife and people as if you are inside his head and, his head houses a wormhole of thousands of years of experience, rather than just a matter of framing, light and math.

“He has a painter’s eye and you feel like he reveals something more than is immediately apparent.”

Sam says, “I hope this exhibit inspires people to learn a bit more about rewilding, what it means and why it’s so important to all of us. It’s about letting go and letting nature take the lead in restoring damaged ecosystems, and the people who have the courage to do so.

“It’s amazing and beautiful to see what happens when nature is allowed to thrive, and my thanks go out to those who have shared their stories with me.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a website: whatifyoujustleaveit.info and a podcast also entitled “And if you let him? available on most podcast platforms.

It is supported in part by Heal Rewilding and the Fine Family Foundation, and created in collaboration with Bournemouth University of the Arts and Bournemouth University. It will be on display from 10 January to 31 March 2022 at Poole House, the main entrance to the university’s Talbot campus.

Tracey L. Sweeney