From the BBC's Bee Part Of It to a Twitter campaign, the humble bee has never had more support, but a new exhibition by photographer Ed Swinden looks at those who know the insects best the beekeepers.
'Beekeeper: to Serve the Queen' has seen Manchester-based Ed travel around the country "meeting the men and women who if pessimistic voices are to be believed are our frontline troops in a desperate war against environmental collapse."
The results are striking portraits of the beekeepers in their protective outfits, which are being shown online and at an exhibition at Heaton Park Dower House, home of the Manchester Beekeepers.
Ed said that he "wanted there to be an implicit military feel to the pictures and a thoughtfulness, but other than that, I gave no guidance to the sitters."
What he wanted instead was for the "inner life of the beekeeper" to show through and seeing the photos, youd be hard pressed to disagree that he has achieved just that.
Each portrait also comes with the the beekeeper's response to the question 'what does the future hold?', which Ed said varied "from the pragmatic to the philosophical."
Steve Benbow from Shropshire answered that he "would like to be optimistic... sadly, as a commercial bee farmer, I see huge numbers of colonies struggling, which is incredibly grim."
Not everyone was as pessimistic though, as Andy Sutherland, a University Systems Manager in Lancashire, said that "being a positive person I like to think it is going to be good. Everything will work out fine!"
The exhibition also looks at the off duty lives of the beekeepers and Ed said that "the contrast between the two images can be striking."
Adding: "Stripped of their armour and sense of duty the beekeepers appear less powerful, but regain their individuality."
Ed described the exhibition as being "about the whole being more than the sum of its parts; the society is more powerful than the person."
'Beekeeper: to Serve the Queen' is online now and on show at Heaton Park Dower House from Saturday 17 to Sunday 25 July.
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