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Photography of a young cow in shallow focus, shot in black and white.

What if you just leave it? AUB MA Graduate's rewilding work recognised by Association of Photographers

Photos by Dr Sam Rose

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MA Photography graduate Dr Sam Rose has been shortlisted as one of only eight photographers nationally in the Association of Photographers (AOP) Emerging Talent Awards.

The Annual AOP awards – the ‘Oscars’ of UK Photography – include a nationwide competition called Emerging Talent looking for professional photographers who have been working for three years or less. Sam, who comes from a background in nature conservation prior to his MA, submitted a series of work based on rewilding, and as a finalist, will see his work showcased in an AOP exhibition and book.

The very intimate and detailed black and white work shows the messiness and complexity of rewilding – a process of nature conservation in which nature takes the lead in its own recovery rather than people.


Sam’s project sees close-up photographs of free-roaming English Longhorn Cattle, a Tamworth Pig, fungi and ‘weeds’ - the plants such as Ragwort that many people try to destroy but are essential for the natural regeneration of our biodiversity. Sam uses this to show that rewilding is unexpected, messy, complex, but has amazing results for nature.

Speaking about his time at AUB, Sam said: “The excellent tutoring, support and facilities at AUB have enabled me to develop my photography to a point at which it can have wider public benefit, in this case to promote the value of rewilding.

“Popular media refers to it as in the reintroduction of wolves or wholesale land abandonment, but it is not this, it is more beautiful and complex at the same time. I am trying to ‘unwrap’ and explain the concept so that people are not afraid of it.”

Sam added: “I am overwhelmed to have been recognised by the AOP, and to see my work on this critically important subject being recognised at this level. I hope it will help raise support for rewilding and nature conservation more widely.”

Professor Paul Wenham-Clarke, Award Leader for MA Photography said: “Sam’s project is wonderful example of how photography can be used to explore important topics through a blend of science and art.

“His work seeks to educate the public on the subject of ‘rewilding’, a 21st century buzz word and his beautiful painterly images capture the essence of man’s relationship with nature. The work is thought provoking and educational, and it’s not surprising he is accumulating awards.”

Sam currently has an exhibition of related work at Yeovil Hospital and would like to thank the Knepp and Mapperton Estates for their support in the project. Sam’s website explores his work and ideas around rewilding, and his rewilding-themed podcast “What if you just leave it?” is available on all major platforms.

View Sam’s finalist work here

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