Surging through me is that euphoric buzz which follows an intense session behind the camera. But I’m doing my best not to let it distract me from another delicious slice of hot doughy pizza freshly cooked in a wood-fired oven.

It’s about now when I get that sneaky feeling of guilty pride; that I get to do this as part of my job.

We’re on-location at Crosslanes Organic Farm in Barnard Castle for my first photo shoot with Ecology Building Society. And what is an exciting albeit dauntingly ambitious project (to photograph their members at seven disparate locations) is also proving to be a fascinating voyage of discovery.

The brief

Ecology Building Society want to tell stories of people with strong social conscience doing radical and exciting things with their money. And they’ll use my photographs to complement case studies and marketing material on their ethically-led and mission-driven savings and mortgages.

The challenge lies in how to capture snapshots of their members’ lives that illustrate intangible feelings like contentment and satisfaction on camera.

Reportage photography

Natural and informal photographs work best for this kind of brief. So my unobtrusive photojournalistic style was a good fit with Ecology Building Society’s honest and authentic culture.

In the sample photographs here you’ll see relaxed people engaged in activity or conversation which diverts their attention away from the camera. With a little gentle encouragement your subjects feel more comfortable in front of your camera lens and that means better photographs.

Man sat on straw bales in front of tomato plants

On-location at Crosslanes organic farm for Ecology building society

Ethical discoveries

Four shoots into the photography project, I’m increasingly intrigued by ecologically-sound homes which are sympathetic to the environment. Yet are ambitious and practical.

I’m impressed by the commitment of Ecology Building Society’s members too. They’re passionate and interesting folk who share virtuous common values, like sustainability and putting their principles first.

Now I want to build my own eco-home. Because I’ve realised that investment in responsible building projects align with my own desire for a healthy balance of realism and enlightened imagination.

Plus the experiences I’ve had so far reassure me that doing the right thing can be affordable as well as rewarding in rich new ways.

Man and woman smiling in front of an eco guest house

Bryn Elltyd eco guest house in Vale of Ffestiniog