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Student’s green photography tells the other side of the story

Photographer Charlotte Ball showcased her exclusive insight into the UK’s alternative green communities at Middlesex's Art & Design show from 6-9 June.

Charlotte Ball

Charlotte believes we all need to be more aware of the world in which we live - economically, socially and environmentally.

To highlight this need, Charlotte has chosen to focus her final year photography project - called Microtopia - on various prototype, environmentally friendly communities who live sustainably and aim to reduce their negative impact on the planet.

One initiative Charlotte photographed was the Transition Heathrow Community, a grassroots action group which has come together to oppose the construction of a third runway at Heathrow and to campaign on land rights more generally.

Another was a warehouse community in Manor House, London, which allowed members to share skills, space and creative resources.

And a third was Lammas Eco Village, a pioneering project in North Pembrokeshire, Wales. This well-organised, eco smallholding draws a very high percentage of its basic needs from the land. Community members have even built their own houses.

A lot of small, alternative communities like these live under the threat of eviction, because they do not adhere to conventional norms and are not generally well received by society.

For Charlotte, it's really important that her photography challenges these sorts of preconceptions and tells the 'other side of the story'.

She explained: "These sorts of sustainable communities don't get much positive exposure - so I wanted to get the message out there.  "I also wanted to show a side of them a lot of people don't see. For example, activist communities are often shown protesting, sometimes aggressively.

"My experience of these communities was quite different; I would rather show them living peacefully and going about their day-to-day activities. Fundamentally, it's about helping underexposed or misrepresented groups tell their stories."

Charlotte has put together a photo book of her sustainable communities photography. She feels this is one of the best ways to tell the whole narrative 'story' of the project.

Next, Charlotte hopes to explore the opposite end of the sustainability spectrum. She would like to photograph developments in cutting edge technology and construction techniques that encourage greener living.

Her work went on show at the Middlesex University Art and Design final year exhibition at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, east London, from 6-9 June 2014.

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