• Food for thought

Food for thought

Photography has the ability to open the doors to a startlingly diverse range of people, places and possibilities. Of these opportunities, it's quite rare to be so fundamentally humbled by the work of a deeply committed collection of individuals, as I was on this occasion.

I was approached by the design studio at Lidl UK and asked if I'd like to shoot a documentary feature for a spread in their Lidl Moments magazine. It sounded like my perfect brief, shooting in a candid, reportage fashion whilst watching people carry out their work, but wow, what work it was!

The feature helps to bring Lidl's 'Feed it Back' scheme to people's attention. Every day, in stores throughout the UK, out of date and surplus fresh produce is set aside and collected by a range of different charitable organisations. I was given a fantastic insight into what two of them were doing to give back to their local communities.

The first was a trip to Brighton to see how The Real Junk Food Project collect, prepare and serve, en masse, a huge range of freshly assembled dishes to a widely mixed range of local people. With the production on the basement level, the food is served on the floor above, in an old disused church in what almost feels like a banquet hall when it's full. It has an amazing atmosphere in the space itself and through operating on a 'pay as you feel' basis, means everyone is both welcome and catered for at once.

The second stop was at LD Northeast, an organisation in Newcastle who give older people with learning difficulties somewhere to gather, socialise and in this instance learn through one of their cooking lessons.

The women in the class were guided through the processes of preparing and cooking their own meals, making enough food to take away with them, meaning they'd be able to feed themselves for more than this one meal.

It's jobs like these that make me truly thankful, not only for being a photographer, but also for witnessing the amazingly compassionate and giving actions of a set of people across the country, who give both their time and skills to help other people less fortunate than themselves. Thank you for allowing me access to these incredible stories.