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Guardians of the Areng Valley

News blog

Guardians of the Areng Valley

Hazel Stone

Luke Duggleby launches unique outdoors exhibition of prize winning photography at Grizedale Forest

The Forestry Commission’s Grizedale Forest in Cumbria is now hosting an award-winning photography exhibition, where visitors will be able to walk amongst the trees to see “Guardians of the Areng Valley”, Luke Duggleby’s stunning photographs taken in the forests of Cambodia.

Duggleby is winner of the inaugural Forestry Commission England Exhibition Award, part of the annual Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2014 awards. The competition is an international showcase for the very best in environmental photography and film and the new Forestry Commission prize gave the winner the opportunity to present a solo exhibition in England’s pubic forests. GrizedaleForest’s long history of outdoor art makes it the perfect location to launch the tour and the perfect setting in which to reflect on the wider global issues and concerns relating to our environment.

Hayley Skipper, Curator of Arts Development, Forestry Commission England says,

"Forestry Commission England have created this new award to provide a unique opportunity to exhibit an exceptional body of work. ‘The Guardians of Areng Valley’ reveals the breadth and depth of one of the many stories from around the globe told by the photographs in the Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year

“We are absolutely delighted to be presenting the work of Luke Duggleby and the important story of the community and eco-warrior monks efforts to protect this remote area of the CardamomForest. Luke has created an exceptional body of work and we are thrilled to exhibit these images for the first time in this unique solo exhibition set amongst the trees at GrizedaleForest."

The exhibition sees the photographs reproduced in large scale and exhibited outdoors in a fully accessible part of Grizedale Forest. The forest setting is a unique way for visitors to experience and connect with an international story, a poignant reminder of the fragility of physical and cultural landscapes around the world.

The exhibition opened with a symposium as part ofLakes Culture, a new project to establish the Lake District as the UK’s leading rural cultural destination. Luke travelled from Bangkok to present the exhibition to guests including artists, photographers and stakeholders. Luke spoke vividly about his journey into the CardamomForest and how he captured some of the arresting images in the exhibition. He was joinedby guest speakers Dr Angus Nurse, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at MiddlesexUniversity and international consultant on arts and environment Dave Pritchard who both expanded upon many of the important issues raised by Luke’s photos and his portfolio of work.

Luke Duggleby says,

“I am very proud and honoured to be presenting my work in such an amazing setting. I grew up next to a forest very similar to Grizedale in North Yorkshire, so to be able to combine this with my other passion, photography, is a wonderful experience. And to be able show my documentary about a forest in peril, whilst in a forest that has been preserved and managed beautifully for years, will make the message behind the images even more powerful."

Luke Duggleby is an award winning British photographer from Yorkshire, now based in Bangkok, Thailand. This exhibition is the world premiere of a significant body of work by Dugglebythat brings to the public’s attention the plight of the CardamomForest in Southwest Cambodia. The photographs shown in the exhibition present Duggleby’s journey into the CardamomForest, somewhere he has returned many times as a photographer. They focus particular attention on a group of Buddhist monks pioneering a small but influential environmental movement aimed at reversing forest destruction to protect the indigenous peoples and endangered species of the remote Areng Valley.

Duggleby has been a professional photographer working in Asia since 2004. Using Bangkok as his base he regularly travels the continent and further afield shooting assignments for some of the worlds most respected publications and NGOs as well as undertaking personal projects. His images have featured in many respected photography competitions and have been published by clients ranging from The Sunday Times, National Geographic, The Guardian, Greenpeace, Monocle and The New York Times

The exhibition will be open daily from 15 November 2014 to 1 March 2015