This is the story of my life with my two boys since moving to a special place where we all feel closer to nature than ever before. It’s a magical garden where we can fly. It’s a place where the boys can be free. Where they run, climb, wade through a giant pond and hide in a bamboo forest. Where we walk through long grass and beneath ancient trees to catch the school bus. It’s a place where they can watch ferns unfurl and tadpoles grow their legs. Where our day begins and ends with the resident song thrush singing his heart out and ends with the call of the Tawny owl interrupting our bedtime story.
And beyond the garden fence is a vast moorland to explore, where they can climb to the top of a huge tor and feel the strength of wind or the sound of silence. Where they can sit and watch wild ponies play and the sun going to bed. The images also show a bond between two brothers growing day by day. This reminds me of the importance of family and fills me with recognition and gratitude for all my parents and siblings gave me growing up and continue to give.
At a time when half the world’s population is becoming urban and knowing less and less about nature, and in a country where less than 10% of all children play in woodlands, countryside or heaths, I want to show with this work the importance of the natural world in children’s lives, for health on all levels, as well as cognitive development and creativity.
But most of all this is simply the story of two brothers, just living.
Juliette Mills (born London 1972) is a British photographer based in Dartmoor, South West of England and has been taking pictures since a child. She grew up in a private zoo, surrounded by endangered species, with parents fired by passions for conservation and music, and she developed a love of travel and wildlife via her gallivanting father mixed with an appreciation of home and family through her rock of a mother. She graduated from Kings College London with a degree in French & Spanish, where she specialised in South American cultural identity and spent time living and studying in Paris and Buenos Aires. She went on to study film and photography in the UK.
After working freelance for several years shooting wildlife & travel and writing for magazines, she had her first solo photographic exhibition in London in 2001 – a collection of wildlife portraits, and has exhibited since in local galleries in Devon. Having children and moving to the countryside provoked a change in direction towards documentary work, with subjects closer to home. And the experience of a workshop in Oaxaca alongside some special people, had a huge effect on her way of working, inspiring self-belief and a much freer, more immersed approach to her work.
She works freelance and has several long term projects in progress.