It’s no easy thing to photograph food and make it look both tasty and artistic at the same time. Herefordshire-based creative food and lifestyle photographers Photopia are amongst the best, which is why we love working with them here at Certainly Wood.
Trying to find Photopia’s studios requires nerves of steel and a reliable satnav as they’re bucolically based somewhere outside Pembridge, the mediaeval village described as the jewel in the crown of Herefordshire’s black-and-white trail.
However, the journey is well worth it as, on arrival, you’ll get a warm welcome from photographers Simon and Becca Wild together with a big grin from their young son Dylan and a wag of the tail from golden retriever Bella. On the day we visited, we were also treated to some homemade gingerbread men, too.
The studio boasts magnificent views of fields and woodland stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s hard to imagine a lovelier place to be based. However, Photopia is on the move as they need bigger studios to cope with all the work that’s coming in. So how did they get started?
Simon and Becca met when they were both studying contemporary photographic arts at Huddersfield University, although Becca was a couple of years below Simon.
On graduating, Simon headed off to get some professional experience and ended up working as an assistant to a wedding photographer in Mansfield. Once Becca graduated, he moved back up North and the pair of them worked for a range of commercial photographers, primarily within the food and fashion industries.
The studios they worked for were happy to give the couple any jobs that came in that were deemed too small for them to handle, including the cover shots for the Big Issue’s northern edition. Simon and Becca officially started their business in 2005, but in 2009 decided to take a leap of faith and travel the world, documenting their trip via hundreds of images. Having handed over their client roster to other photographers, they headed off on the trip of a lifetime.
Their journey took them through most of Europe including Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Finland and Hungary. Simon and Emma then travelled extensively throughout Africa (Namibia being their all-time favourite destination), Australia and New Zealand before heading across to South America.
Towards the end of 2009, they heard that Becca’s mother, Maureen, had been diagnosed with what was described as a very treatable form of lymphoma. However, in January they were advised to return to the UK as treatment hadn’t worked and Maureen didn’t have long to live.
Becca lost her mum in April 2010. Although she had been brought up in Buckinghamshire, her mum had moved to Herefordshire when Becca had gone to university. The pair knew next to nothing about the county, other than a few visits to see Maureen. However, Maureen’s cottage provided the perfect space to start a new studio and so they took their second leap of faith.
Amongst their first clients were Jo Hilditch’s British Cassis brand and Hereford’s Trumper’s Tea. Word soon got around that Photopia took great shots without charging silly money.
As well as our good selves, clients such as Chase Vodka came on board too.
Simon and Becca got married in 2012 and their son Dylan was born in 2013.
In the same year, they also produced their first cookbook entitled Made in Herefordshire, featuring scores of producers and retailers located in this foodie-renowned county. It proved so popular that they followed it up in 2015 with Made in Shropshire.
Never ones to sit still for long, Photopia has now expanded into the world of video production and, if they turn out to be as good at this as they are at photography, perhaps we’ll see an Oscar heading to Herefordshire in the not-too distant future.