‘The Cider Makers’ is a long term project that started in 2003, after a chance meeting with the Naish brothers in West Pennard, Somerset. I had passed Harold on the road, as I returned from Glastonbury Festival. Struck by his appearance, I decided to stop and talk to him, with a view to taking a portrait. What developed from that first meeting, was a photographic journey, following the final ten years of the Naish brothers lives, through the death of Harold in 2005, until finally, the death of younger brother Frank, in 2013. As I got to know them, and their trust in me grew, I discovered their way of life was something that is rarely seen in the modern age. They shunned new technology, living without electricity until 2003, and had no bathroom in the house. It was as if time had frozen somewhere in the late 19th century, and the house was left untouched. Neither brother had married, instead devoting their lives to looking after their dairy cattle and producing artisan farm cider, (for which they were well known and respected in the area and far beyond). They were helped on the farm in the latter years by Paul Chant, who became their apprentice cider maker. Following Harold’s death, Frank was able to continue working on the farm with Paul’s help, remaining active until the final months of his life.
Over the course of my regular visits, I documented their way of life and also photographed details of the farmhouse and its contents, building up an archive of work which I hope will one day be published as a book. I also shot video, and am planning to combine footage and stills, along with recent interviews conducted with various acquaintances and local characters, to produce a full length documentary about these brothers who represented a bygone era.