Fine photographs are the focus of Kew’s nature festival

Start, the eco iniative launched by the Prince of Wales to promote sustainable living, has had an active summer so far, including an event in HRH’s own back garden at Clarence House and a pop-up organic restaurant in the neighbouring Lancaster House. One of the attractions, an exhibition of photographs by the Korean artist Ahae, proved a big hit here and is now to form part of Start@Kew Gardens from August 25 to 29 – a festival that will continue to spread the conservationist word with fun for all the family in the gorgeous setting of Kew.

It’s the perfect fit: Ahae is passionate about conservation, and his collection, Through My Window, consists of quiet yet beautiful images taken over many seasons through one window in South Korea. The result is a chronicle of nature that includes images of birdlife (including a Eurasian jay, common kingfisher and a black-capped kingfisher) and an ever-changing landscape. The aim of Ahae’s photographs is for the viewer “to contemplate the extent to which nature can thrive when left alone to flourish and heal itself. Yet throughout his ‘visual poetry’ a subtle voice rings clear – each can do his part within his ‘backyard’ domain to ensure the force of nature and preserve it for the future.”

For a truly special memento, The Ahae Collection is to order (for about $15,000). Only 150 are available (500 were made), and each includes more than 530 of Ahae’s photographs (including the one seen here), printed on fine-art photographic paper and presented in hand-crafted, artisan-made boxes. The exhibition itself will continue touring – to the Moscow Biennale on September 15, New York on October 11, and to Venice and Florence in spring 2012. See Ahae’s website for updates.

Start@Kew Gardens, August 25-29; free with a general ticket (adults £13.90; children free) to Kew Gardens ( Ahae, Start,

Vicki Reeve
How to Spend It August 24, 2011