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Sarah Cheesbrough is is an innovator at her core. Growing up in London and Birmingham, she swam for England, read International Studies at university, modelled in London, Paris and Tokyo, and worked as an advertising executive at J. Walter Thompson before striking out on her own path as a self-taught freelance photographer. Her curiosity for the world and the ways in which people, wildlife and cultures interact has been nurtured by regular photographic commissions from airline magazines and tourist boards. In recent years Sarah has focused on projects that are close to her heart. Her 2012 book, In Buddha's Garden, featured her evocative photographs of the Buddhist monks of Luang Prabang. Following an exhibition in 2014 curated by Founder and ex-Director of Paris Photo, Rik Gadella, In Buddha's Garden was selected by the Lao National Commission to UNESCO as the gift to fellow delegates at the 34th International UNESCO Conference in Paris. In 2018, Sarah had two London exhibitions of urban bee photographs, including one for The Royal Parks. Wild Neighbours is the result of several years watching wildlife in London in a state of wonder. It has been a true homecoming for Sarah, to her city, to her heart and to the Nature that sustains her.
Taking us through the seasons, and covering eighty species, Sarah Cheesbrough’s Wild Neighbours is a lovingly-curated collection of photographs that lays bare London’s often overlooked wildlife wonders. As such, it will surely inspire city-dwellers to explore urban environments with fresh eyes. What’s more, alongside its inspirational exhibition of natural beauty, the book is driven by an ethos of conservation, and a belief that even in the most urban areas we can “be good neighbours” to wildlife. Having spent hundreds of hours in the field, and walked as many miles, Cheesbrough’s photographs attest the sense of well-being that can come from observing wildlife. In her words, “I’m regularly awestruck at the generosity of the natural world to offer up gifts of connection, sweetness, beauty, hope, non-judgement and peace. Here we encounter the majestic elegance of red deer as they bathe, graze and rest. Foraging hedgehogs hidden in spiky grass. Squirrels scampering and digging. Fleet-footed foxes, and dozens of insects, among them bees, butterflies, ladybirds and caterpillars. The avian images are stunning too, from the cheering tropical vibrance of ring-necked parakeets, and red-breasted robins dazzling against snowy backdrops, to piercing-eyed peregrine falcons, mallards, moorhens and everyday pigeons. The final photo is a dream of a shot that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the book, and the wondrous unpredictability of nature as we see a huge, stately deer springing from river to waterside behind an unsuspecting pair of city joggers. What a glorious pictorial pick-me-up this is - a reminder that wild magic is all around, if only we open our eyes to it.