The first issue of Bumble made quite a splash, and issue two of the bi-annual wildlife magazine matches the high standards set by the first. It successfully balances an in-depth focus on the biology and lives of plants and animals, and impassioned reports on the declining quality of their habitats.
One thing that this magazine has chosen to do really well is close-up photography. It’s not an easy thing to get right – yet here a tiny spiral shell sits on a fingertip (above), dune-like ridges of the skin so large you realise how tiny it really is. The photography in this particular piece, ‘Back from the Brink’, by Alex Hyde, features invertebrates – the creepy crawlies that don’t usually look pretty in publicity shots – to make the point that it’s not just the cute animals that need funding for protection.
The excellent creative direction doesn’t stop at a few well-chosen photos, however. A highlight for me is this piece focusing on Heidi Cohen’s wildlife photography. The text alongside each of the images is colour-matched throughout the feature (above), including the title page. It’s a subtle but very effective detail, and enhances not just the photography but the magazine as a whole.
That powerful message about the environment runs as an undercurrent through most of the magazine, however there are also several pieces about unseasonal weather conditions, climate change and the effect on Britain’s wildlife. ‘Wildfire’ by National Trust Ranger, Luke Barley, looks specifically at wildfires in the Peak District during the heatwave of summer 2018 (above). It’s not exactly slow journalism, as it’s a personal account, but nevertheless is a timely and in-depth look at what happens when heatwaves create the perfect conditions for deadly situations – to a multitude of species.
Illustration predates photography in the documentation of the natural sciences and I’m happy to see that it is incorporated in Bumble, albeit in a more modern sense. Whether it’s watercolour flowers or line drawings made to look like architectural blueprints, they enhance the point being made – for example with these architectural plants and animals in threat of extinction.
The magazine’s tag line, ‘Inspired by the beauty of nature’, and the gentle nature of its front cover, featuring a beautiful Tawny Owl, risks under-selling the powerful message that this magazine underpins itself with: that humans are having a devastating impact on the natural world. Nevertheless, it is indeed a thoughtful and visually-driven passion project into the beauty of nature.
Editor-in-chief: Rachael Nellist
Creative director: Josef Shaw