Stephen Studd Photography

Travel Gardens Plants

20 Amazing Plants and Their Practical Uses by Rachel Corby

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Good Life Press have just published 20 Amazing Plants and Their Practical Uses by Rachel Corby. I was commissioned to photograph the illustrations showing the 20 plants in various forms, from food to furniture, clothing etc.

Really enjoyed this commission as it was a quite open brief. Had to find different craftspeople that worked on particular materials, from willow weavers to Monkey Puzzle wood turners to chair makers etc. I really enjoyed meeting people who are as passionate about their work as I am about my photography. Crafts in Britain are still alive with some amazing practicioners of their art. I was fortunate to meet only a handful of them as there are people all over the country who could also have had works included.

The book is a practical guide to 20 plants or trees that have a myriad number of uses for them whether it be as herbal medicine or canoe making! All the images were shot full colour on my trusty Canon 1ds Mark II.

A selection can be seen below.

This was an amazing sculpture by Guido Oakley who was exhibiting at Westonbirt Arboretum at the Festival of Wood.

Walnut wood sculpture by Guido Oakley

Below a studio shot of Quinoa illustrating its food use.

Quinoa with red peppers and parsley

Dave Jackson from Wildwood Coppice Crafts made the stool below. I had been photographing at Malvern Autumn Show and noticed a willow fence that had been made by Dave. On contacting him he kindly allowed me to spend the afternoon at his workspace where he had many fine crafted pieces from dibbers to chairs to a compost loo.

Hazel frame stool with woven willow seat made by Dave Jackson

A radiant sunflower in full bloom.


Alfalfa sprouts shot in my studio with Elinchrom lighting.

Alfalfa sprouts

Norah Kennedy a local willow weaver allowed me to photograph at some of the workshops she was teaching on. The shot below was taken on a very snowy morning the day was freezing cold but the sun was filtering through the clouds giving a nice warm winter glow. It was taken at the Organic Farmshop in Cirencester.

Willow baskets made by Norah Kennedy

I have started to read the book which is an interesting read. Pre plastics and oil we made things that had to last, in the case of furniture for generations. We live in such a disposable society nowadays. Where do we dispose? into the Earth, when in the past we had to create things that grew from the Earth! Around 1 in 7 people on the planet live in a home constructed from bamboo.

Thanks to Rachel Corby for the commission and to all the crafts people who gave their time and showed their amazing skills.


Author: Stephen Studd Photography

Stephen graduated from LCP in London in 1987 with a 2:1 BA Honours degree in photography. Since then he has travelled the world as a professional freelance travel & garden photographer. His photography has been published in many areas around the globe; from front cover of National Geographic magazine, to countless travel books, brochures and print media. His work has also been used in many advertising campaigns, with clients such as Fiat, Citigroup, Caribou Coffee, Expedia, BBC and countless others and his photography has picked up numerous international awards.. Stephen leads travel photography holidays and tours to Burma, Cambodia, Angkor Wat, Vietnam & the USA. He also leads Bluebell photography workshops in Gloucestershire and landscape photography workshops in the Gower, Wales. Stephen can be contacted for commissions via his photography website.

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