Caught by the River

COMMON GROUND – A Portrait of Nature and Community

2nd March 2024

Annick Wolfers captures the power of community — and the enduring beauty of our shared natural environments — in photo and film.

The open space known as Wanstead Flats is nestled at the southern edge of Epping Forest in East London. The area is the subject of a documentary project by photographer and filmmaker Annick Wolfers that examines the abundant natural biodiversity found there and also the vibrant community that call The Flats home. The area has rich ecological significance but also a substantial historical legacy. Protests here in the past have been credited with launching the environmental and conservation movement in the UK and paved the way to establishing the ‘Right to Roam.’ Today, the open access to this precious space is testament to the long lasting impact of community activism in preserving natural spaces for all.

The project also represented a personal quest for the Luxembourg-born artist, as she sought a deeper connection with her surroundings. ‘In an age of ecological uncertainty, rekindling our bond with the natural world and fostering community ties are an essential step towards a sustainable coexistence with nature’ she notes.

‘I’ve learned so much about rare birds, spiders, and moths found here and had the privilege of meeting some amazing local people who actively contribute to their local ecosystem, whether by creating new aquatic habitats or simply litter picking as they walk the dog.’

Common Ground is a series of pictures and short films that celebrates the power of community and the enduring beauty of our shared natural environments. The photographs are currently displayed on billboards along Leytonstone High Road, E11 with the support of the Borough of Waltham Forest & Network Rail.

Find more info on the project and watch the accompanying films here.

Annick Wolfers is a photographer and filmmaker who lives & works in London. Her work explores the intricate relationships between people and their natural surroundings.