Hello, Jake, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. Can you start of by telling us about you and your work?

Hi Louise, I am a photographer working primarily with wildlife and street photography, combining the two under the umbrella of “Urban Wildlife Photography”. I have been doing this for around five years now. My love of photography started whilst I was travelling as I wrote a travel blog and wanted to include images to illustrate my blogs. It was when I stopped travelling that I started doing street photography and noticing animals in the place of people.

What medium do you work in and how would you describe the work you exhibited at Secret Severn this year?

I primarily work with digital photography. Mostly because film is so expensive these days! That said, I did kind of cheat on my images at the Secret Severn and made my digital photographs look like film photography by making them Sepia and adding grain to the images. All my images for the Secret Severn were inspired by the history around the Severn Gorge, with the heart of the portfolio being the Ironbridge taken from the water whilst out on my paddle board.

Is this your first time exhibiting with Secret Severn? If so, what inspired you to include your work and take part?

I had never exhibited my work anywhere before this years Secret Severn, so it was a huge step up for me in the art world. The reason I took part is one of my close friends has taken part every year since the Secret Severn started and they pushed me to join in and to get my work out there.
I decided to go for it as I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to get to know some of the other artists in the area and how the Shropshire hills inspires their works as well as my own.

I hear you had a successful show – how was the experience for you?

I am honestly surprised how well I did. The organisers told me that “in the seven years we have been doing it, we’ve only ever sold one photograph. Photography doesn’t sell.” I feel like I proved them wrong this year by selling my main piece before the exhibition had opened its doors to the public!
Overall, the experience was positive, though I will admit that I got way too stressed about choosing the right frames for my images!

Why are art shows such as Secret Severn so important, both for the individual artist and for the art scene regionally and nationally?

I feel that exhibitions for the Secret Severn are a great starting point for any budding artist to get their works out there. The low commission is a great incentive and allows the artists to make some money. Selling my main piece was a huge boost in my confidence in photography too.

Outside of Secret Severn, how can people discover more of your work?

I am on social media under J.bushellphotography and I have my own website where you can keep up with what I am doing. www.photosbyjbushell.com

What are you inspired by in your work? 

The inspiration for the collection ‘synergy’ focuses on showcasing the natural beauty of British hardwoods into a series of timeless pieces that capture the essence of British woodlands into minimal wearable forms. I am greatly inspired by the rural landscape that surrounds me in Ludlow, with many rich and diverse local woodlands on my doorstep, where I source sustainable timber from. 

Where will you be exhibiting during Secret Severn, and what can we expect when we visit?

A selection of my turned jewellery will be on display in the main exhibition in the footprint gallery, alongside a diverse selection of talented artists and makers. The collection I will be exhibiting highlights a unique contrast of grains, from the majestic oak in all its simplicity, to ebonized oak and spalted beech, whilst displaying a small collection of reclaimed purple heart. 

How long have you been involved in Secret Severn Art and why is being part of it important? 

I am delighted and honoured that this year will be my first exhibiting with Secret Severn Art, an event I have always admired and wished to be part of one day. The exhibition always showcases work from a broad range of creative mediums, of the highest quality in their field. As a maker it is a fantastic networking opportunity to explore the work of many new artists. Representing the collective exhibition whilst stewarding, alongside many professional creatives who I can learn from.

Why is an event like Secret Severn important to the regional art scene?

Quite honestly, an event not to be missed! The region hosts an extensive range of unique and highly talented individuals, creating high quality artwork that without fail will enhance the life of people from every walk of life. After what has been a very challenging time for many artists over the past few years, events such as Secret Severn Art offer a great opportunity to display and sell work directly to the public, many inspired by the beauty of the region itself.

For someone who is new to Secret Severn, what are your top tips for visiting?

Obviously calling by the Footprint gallery on your travels must be my top tip, to discover the incredible collection of work on display and take the opportunity to meet the makers and learn more about their creative medium. Also, a top tip I would have for anyone visiting the Secret Severn Arts trail would be to really explore the open studios. There is nothing more inspiring and insightful than being able to delve into the ‘behind the scenes’ of many artists’ work, having a rare glimpse into the life of a creative person from their perspective. It really does open your eyes into the creative process behind some of your much-loved artwork. 

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