On location - The Lavender Harvest

Summer in the French countryside can be hard work if you are one of the many for whom the season is the busiest. Hot, back breaking work to cut the fresh lavender blooms will hopefully pay dividends when the plants are distilled into oil and in its production, the bi-product lavender water. 

Lavender is said to have a calming effect and helps people to sleep, my sister (lavender farmer) says that during cutting season she often feels a natural high out there in the purple fields under the hot Sun.

In the past, clothes were washed in lavender and laid to dry on lavender bushes. Lavender was used to scent drawers, perfume the air and ward off infection and heal wounds. It was also recognized in Roman times for its antiseptic and healing qualities. The Ancient Greeks used lavender to fight insomnia and back aches. It is still used for these reasons today.

Pure lavender essential oil is produced through steam distillation. This generates a greater amount of oil compared to other methods due to reduction of polar compound loss (bit technical!). Lavender flowers are compacted into a still. Fewer air pockets in the still result in greater oil yield. A boiler is then used to steam the bottom of the lavender flower filled still at a very low pressure. 

I took these images for my sister’s (and partner’s) new website for the lavender products they make from the distilling process. 

This work has inspired me to focus more on promoting lifestyle and product photography services. Coming soon x