AKP Group sponsors mental health photography project

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19 October 2023
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Exhibition supports mental wellbeing in the farming industry.

ONE of the UK’s largest potato supply chain specialists, AKP Group, sponsored the Take One a Day’s photography exhibition last week, a project dedicated to finding positivity in your surroundings and discovering something beautiful everyday. 

 

Take One a Day was created by amateur photographer Paul Gutherson in November 2020, after he unexpectedly discovered a person who had died by suicide during a morning dog walk.

 

It was on a stretch of the River Lud in Louth that Paul knew very well and had loved since he was a boy. The spot was intrinsically linked to the surrounding landscape he had grown up in, which had shaped him and his relationship with the world.

 

Suicide rates have risen in rural areas since 2016. Lincolnshire has a large farming community, responsible for £2 billion of the UK’s agricultural output, but mental health support is spread thinly. The severity of the mental health crisis within the farming sector is highlighted by the alarming statistic that more lives are lost to suicide each year, than to fatal farm accidents.

According to the Office of National Statistics, there were 36 suicides recorded in England and Wales among those working in the farming and agricultural industry in 2021. Meanwhile, 22 farm workers lost their lives in fatal accidents in 2021/22, underlying the need for mental health resources and support.

With the help of counselling, Paul realised he needed to reclaim his natural environment from a place of trauma and shock and use creativity to restore his joy in life. 

 

That's when he began to take one a day; one photograph every day to help him rediscover the beauty of the Lincolnshire landscape. He searched for the positive in the huge skies above the expansive flat fields, on the beaches, along the dykes, and finally, back at the canal. He put these images out on social media every day, and began his healing journey.

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Paul says: “Sometimes the photograph itself is not that important. It is the purposeful act of seeking something beautiful. Shutting out negative self-talk through the discipline of looking, especially on difficult days, is what becomes important.

 

Supporting Paul’s landscapes will be work from award-winning photographic artist Richard Ansett. Richard, himself a Samaritans volunteer, was invited to Louth to explore the themes through portraiture of local mental health advocates and those suffering from some of the issues raised. A further collection of this work was unveiled in the zine Man Up, which was released at the exhibition.

 

Richard says: 'It is a genuine privilege to be invited to contribute to Paul’s exhibition. I have been so warmly welcomed by many people who it turns out I share a great deal with. In this exhibition, we have all tried to make sense of the terrible loss of life of an unknown woman. In her darkest moment, she has brought us together. I hope that this memorialisation reminds others in their moment of despair that people do care.'

 

AKP Group, one of the UK’s largest potato supply chain specialists, is supporting and sponsoring the event. Richard Arundel, Managing Director, commented:

 

“We’re driven by people, and as partners to farmers and growers across the country, we are no strangers to the prevalent mental health challenges within farming. It can be an isolating and lonely industry at times, and we are extremely proud to be supporting and championing this impactful exhibition and all that it stands for."

 

Take One a Day is curated by Jason Baron. Born and raised in Louth, Jason is Head of Photography at Comic Relief and former Creative Head of Photography at the BBC.