Approved: 16.08.2006

Tessa Bunney

Artist, Lecturer / academic

Approved: 16.08.2006

Since graduating from West Surrey College of Art and Design in 1988, I have worked as a documentary photographer undertaking personal projects and editorial photography as well as a wide range of commissions and residencies nationally and internationally.

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Artist Statement

Since graduating from West Surrey College of Art and Design in 1988, I have worked as a documentary photographer undertaking personal projects and editorial photography as well as a wide range of commissions and residencies nationally and internationally.

As a photographer, I have a particular interest in different landscapes and the way they are shaped by human activity.  Working closely with communities and individuals, I love to explore the intricacies of rural life and in recent years have collaborated with North Yorkshire hill farmers, Icelandic puffin hunters, Finnish ice swimmers and Romanian nomadic shepherds. My works consists of elements of landscape, portraiture and documentary photography and aims to contribute to the ongoing debate about the changing nature of rural life.

My project Home Work was published by Dewi Lewis in 2010 and was exhibited and published nationally and internationally including the Land exhibition as part of the Noorderlicht Festival, 2010.

Previous projects include Hand to Mouth which explores the lives of villagers and nomadic shepherds in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains which was exhibited and published by Impressions Gallery, Bradford in 2007.  

In  2010, I undertook a commission for Hereford Photography Festival about the Hereford cow which was exhibited at the Festival that year and was artist in residence at Jyväskylä printmaking centre in Central Finland exploring the landscape of the frozen lake which I published as an artists book in 2012. Järvenjää/Lakeice was also published editorially and exhibited in the UK and in Finland and will be exhibited at Photofusion, London in January 2013 along with my photo film On the Board about London’s Serpentine Swimming Club.

I have recently returned from 4 years based in Lao PDR working on my project The Corridor of Opportunity which was funded by Arts Council England and undertaking editorial and NGO commissions throughout the SE Asia region. My series The Women of UCT6 which documents an all female UXO clearance team in Laos was published in the Financial Times Magazine (UK) and on-line.

My current project FarmerFlorist explores the vibrant local 'artisan' cut-flower farms which have recently sprung up in the UK and is a celebration of domestic growers past and present.

I am represented by the Klompching Gallery in New York.

CV & Education

Qualifications and training

  • Northern Lights Masterclass at Noorderlicht, The Netherlands (2011/12)
  • Hinterlands, 5 day multimedia 'photofilm' workshop run by Duckrabbit (2011)
  • MA Photography, De Montfort University, Leicester (2004)
  • BA Audio-Visual studies (photography), West Surrey College of Art and Design, Farnham (1988)


Selected solo exhibitions

  • Novice, La Maison de la Culture, Vientiane, Laos in collaboration with Mick Shippen (2016)
  • The Nam Ou - exhibited at a hydropower conference in partnership with IFC, Vientiane Laos (2016)
  • Khin Khao / Let's Eat, I:cat Gallery, Vientiane, Laos in collaboration with Mick Shippen (2015)
  • Open Water Swimming, Photofusion, London (2014)
  • The Women of UTC6T, Monument Books Gallery, Vientiane, Laos (2013)
  • The Hereford, Hereford Cathedral during Hereford Photography Festival (2010)
  • Home Work, Light House, Wolverhampton (2010)
  • Home Work, The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate (2009)
  • Hand to Mouth, Peninsula Arts, University of Plymouth (2009)
  • Hand to Mouth, Impressions Gallery, Bradford, UK (2007)
  • Green Fingers, Format 05, Derby (2005) 
  • Moor and Dale, Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate (2004)
  • Moor and Dale (as part of Hereford photography festival), Dennis Potter Gallery, Ross-on-Wye (2004)
  • Upshoots, Helmsley Arts Centre, Helmsley, York (2004)
  • Lamb, The Old Meeting House, Helmsley (2001)
  • Eat Better, Eat British, works in progress, Site Gallery Café, Sheffield (2000)
  • Living In A Lamp Post toured nationally (1992 - 1997)


Selected group exhibitions

  • Craft Explorers, Penang State Museum, George Town, Malaysia (2017)
  • Sea Swim, Peninsula Arts, University of Plymouth and touring (2016/7)
  • Jarvenjaa/Lakeice exhibited at the Carlisle Photo Festival (2013)
  • Innostaa/Inspire, Connections North, touring exhibition in UK and Finland (2012/13)
  • Serpentine Swimming Club series in Dive! The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate (2012)
  • Land, Klompching Gallery, New York, USA (2011)
  • Land, Country Life in the Urban Age, Noorderlicht Festival, The Netherlands (2010)
  • Twenty, Hereford Photography Festival (2010)
  • Home Work, Descubrimientos PHE, Photo España Festival, Madrid (2009)
  • Splash!, Klompching Gallery, New York (2009)
  • Terry O'Neill Award 08, The Independent Photographers Gallery, Battle (2008)
  • Hand to Mouth, Descubrimientos PHE, PHoto España Festival, Madrid (2006)
  • Focus on Farmers, Buckland Abbey, Yelverton, Devon (2004)
  • Lamb, as part of Brilliant, Impressions, York (2000)



  • Artist in residence, Project Space, Luang Prabang, Laos (2012)
  • Connections North, International Residency Exchange Project, Jyväskylä Printmaking Centre, Jyväskylä, Central Finland (2010)
  • Inspired by Heritage residency, Newby Hall, Ripon, UK (2009)
  • Artist in residence, Royal Show, Stoneleigh (2004)
  • Artist in residence, Artist Centre of Inari at Koppelo, Northern Finland (2003)
  • Focus on Farmers residency, Warren Farm, Exmoor, Aune Head Arts with Beaford Arts (2003)
  • Artist in residence, Gil Society studio-workshop, Akureyri, Iceland (2003)


Selected commissions

  • Currently working on Arts Council funded project 'Celebrating Age' in collaboration with Rural Arts and Thirsk Community Care (2017)
  • Commission from Sheffield NHS Trust to produce artwork for Weston Park Hospital Ward 3 (2017)
  • Commission from Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust to produce artwork for Acomb Garth hospital, York (2017)
  • Presentation of my work at the British Council conference Craft Reveals - new paths towards sustainability in Chiang Mai, Thailand (2016)
  • Commission from International Finance Corporation (IFC) to document hydropower consultation in Myanmar (2016)
  • Photography of artists taking part in North Yorkshire Open Studios commissioned by Chrysalis Arts (2016)
  • Media and climate change story gathering trip in the Mekong Region (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam) with Oxfam GB (2015)
  • Development and implementation of photographic training for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) (2014/5)
  • 3 commissions from Oxfam GB to work on documentation and fundraising campaigns in The Philippines post typhoon Haiyan (2014)
  • Commission from Rural Arts North Yorkshire to produce artwork for two North Yorkshire hospitals (2013/4)
  • Commission from the Mercer Art Gallery to produce a photofilm about The Serpentine Swimming Club for the exhibition 'Dive' (2012)
  • Commission from Yorkshire Artspace to produce work for Parson X multiples project (2011)
  • Commission from Hereford Photography Festival to photograph the Hereford cow for exhibition at the festival in October 2010


Competitions, prizes and awards

  • Travel Photographer of the Year Finalist (2017) TBA
  • Nominated for the Remote Photo Festival Prize, Donegal, Ireland (2015)
  • Winner of the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Award for my image of a Vietnamese noodle maker (2014)
  • 2 nominations for Prix Pictet - the global award in photography and sustainability (theme: consumption) (2013)
  • Field, Forest and Family, Grants for the Arts Award from Arts Council England (2012)
  • Travel Photographer of the Year, Finland series commended in Cultures and Traditions portfolio (2011)
  • Honorable mention in the Landscape catergory of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award (2011)
  • Field, Forest and Family, G4A research and development award from Arts Council England (2011)
  • Best photography portfolio, Format Festival International Portfolio Review, Derby (2011)
  • Extending Practice Award, Chrysalis Arts Development (2010)
  • Brilliant Book Awards, Ag magazine, 3rd prize for Yunnan (2010)
  • Honorable Mention in Portrait, People and Figure category of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award (2010)
  • Home Work, G4A grant from Arts Council England for publication (2010)
  • Project Assistance Award, British Journal of Photography/Nikon, (shortlisted) (2010) 
  • Home Work, Travel Photographer of the Year, second in Life portfolio (2008)
  • Joan Wakelin Bursary, The RPS and The Guardian, (finalist) 2008
  • Terry O'Neill Award 08, The Independent Photographers Gallery, Battle, (shortlisted) (2018)
  • Home Work, G4A grant from Arts Council England, to attend rhubarb-rhubarb (2007)
  • Northern Arts Prize, nominated by Pippa Oldfield, Impressions Gallery (2007)
  • Hand to Mouth, shortlisted for the Descubrimientos PHE 06 Award, Photo Espana (2006)
  • Roadside Stall, Rucar Pass, shortlisted, Observer 'Seeds of Change' Competition (2006)
  • Hand to Mouth, G4A Arts Council England , Production Award (2004)
  • Hand to Mouth, European Cultural Foundation, S.T.E.P. Beyond Award (2003)
  • Hand to Mouth, G4A Arts Council England , Research and Development Award (2003)
  • upshoots, Yorkshire Arts, Making and Showing Award (2002)
  • Eat Better, Eat British, honourable mention, Leica Oskar Barnack Award (2000)
  • Iceland, Yorkshire Arts, Training and Development Scheme International Award (2000)
  • Eat Better, Eat British, Yorkshire Arts, Photography Development Award (1999)
  • Living in a Lamp Post, Yorkshire Arts, Production Award (1991)



  • Jarvenjaa | Lakeice self published artists book with short story by Riikka Ala-Harja (2012)
  • Home Work published by Dewi Lewis Publishing (2010)
  • Hand to Mouth published by Impressions Gallery, Bradford (2007)
  • Focus on Farmers published by Aune Head Arts with Beaford Arts (2007)
  • Moor and Dale published by The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate (2004)
  • upshoots publlished by Rural Arts North Yorkshire (2003)
  • Peabody People published by The Peabody Housing Trust (2001)
  • Brilliant published by The Culture Company, Leeds (2000)


Selected bibliography

  • Hand to Mouth in Rakes Progress, 2017
  • Soaring Ahead - in Southeast Asia Globe, March 2017
  • The Bomb Squad in Professional Photography, Jan/Feb 2017
  • Green Fingers - a story about Hmong women and hemp in the Southeast Asia Globe, March 2016
  • Shoot stories interview in the Telegraph On-line about photographing the Bantayan fishing community after Typhoon Haiyan, 2014
  • Instagram takeover for @telegraphtelephoto, September 2014
  • The Women of UCT6, feature about an all-female UXO clearance team in Laos in FT Weekend Magazine, 6 April 2013
  • The Women of UCT6 in The Other Hundred, a book project 'telling the other side of the story', 2013
  • Mousehole tidal pool in National Geographic, June 2012
  • Cold Comforts - Finnish ice swimming feature in Lonely Planet Traveller, Dec 2012
  • Fire-cracker diary, 2012
  • A Drop of the Ocean, feature about tidal swimming pools in FT Weekend Magazine, 6 August 2011
  • Home Work book featured in Selvedge, Issue 39 March/April 2011
  • Home Work book review in The Global Journal 2011 #3 2011
  • Home Work featured on, an online platform for european women photographers
  • Home Work review on Joerg Colberg's blog Conscientous, 28 Jan 2011
  • Home Work, Private n.51 - Global Report 2, International Review of Photographs, 2010
  • The Dignity of Work, short book review of Home Work in Source, Issue 64, 2010
  • Home Work, Land, Country Life in the Urban Age, Noorderlicht Festival Catalogue, 2010
  • L'Insense Photo, No 8, British Photographers, 2010
  • Home Work, Geographical Magazine, February 2010
  • Hand to mouth, Daylight Magazine, Issue #7, Agriculture, 2008
  • Home Work, Portfolio, Contemporary Photography in Britain #48 2008
  • Home Work, Project Assistance Awards, British Journal of Photography, 2007
  • Hand to Mouth in HotShoe, pp10-17, October 2007
  • Review of Hand to Mouth exhibition, Source, pp 56-7, Winter 2007 Issue 53
  • Hand to Mouth in Frankfurter Rundschau Magazin, Germany, p8, issue no 44 2006
  • Moor and Dale featured in Photo Projects by Chris Dickie, pp85-88 2006
  • Moor and Dale in Zoom, Italy, pp 10-15, issue no 73 2006
  • Hand to Mouth, 8 photojournalism magazine, pp 60-55, issue no V4N1 2006
  • Lamb, Ag Darkroom Practice & Photography Vol 24 2001
  • Lamb, Photo Art International, Issue 23 2001
  • Lamb, Yorkshire Life, March issue 2001

Also on-line features and reviews on Fire-cracker, Photomonitor, Lens-Culture, 1000 words, Flak-photo, Verve, Photo-eye magazine, E-photoreview, Wayne Ford's posterous.