The Peter Adams Travel Photography
Bursary Award

Winner 2017t- Ruth Baldry

If you search ‘the 20 most environmentally-friendly countries’, Portugal will be up there with a ranking of seven which motivated me to pursue a photography project in this southern European country. I'd previously worked on a project in Bristol which focused on those on the fringes of mainstream society trying to lead as much of a sustainable life as possible and was keen to develop this line of visual inquiry. My previous project, which spanned over two years, hugely influenced my interest in leading a sustainable lifestyle.

The Peter Adams Travel Bursary offered the opportunity to expand my portfolio by shooting a new series of photographic images in Portugal and to further educate myself in self-sufficiency.

To begin with, my intention was to document those living and working at Tribodar – an eco-community/alternative learning space – situated in the northern region of Alentejo (

On arrival I was welcomed into Moabi Lopes' home, where I resided in a small caravan and was treated like a well-known friend. Over the period of a month, I captured many scenes with my camera lens at the same times as learning more about permaculture and this alternative lifestyle.

During this time, I met neighbours and locals and started to learn more about Portugal and its history more generally.

I learnt about the dictatorship (from which people are still recovering); I learnt about the dangerous forest fires which are becoming increasingly common and how they impact the lives of those affected; and I learnt more about social divides within the country.

Just as I had hoped, this project, which had started so loosely, began to take form and develop. I became intrigued by an apparent divide between the traditional, Catholic and conservative locals I met and the liberal, open-minded people living within the eco-community. To me, it seemed interesting that two such different groups of people could blossom in the same place. There wasn't animosity between the two but simply indifference and lack of understanding.

The final series of photographs (some of which can be seen here) comprise a collection documenting both the people at Tribodar and the people I spoke to in the nearby town of Nisa and I hope that the photographs illustrate something of the social divide between the two communities.

The Peter Adams Travel bursary came at just the right time and gave me the freedom to go to a beautiful country and work on my craft. Whilst in Portugal, I gained an insight into the challenging role of a photographer adapting to the demands of shooting on the hoof and attempting to take meaningful portraits of people in order to reflect different roles and contrasting ways of life.

The Peter Adams Travel Photography
Bursary Award

This is an annual award with entry available to graduating
UWE BA (Hons) Photography students.


© 2018 Ruth Baldry