Archive | May, 2008

starbarista does Philly, NYC, and South Jersey

21 May

starbarista has just returned to London after a whirlwind caffeinated tour of the Mid-Atlantic coffee scene in the USA. I have gathered tons of audio for future episodes of the starbarista podcast series. These will be coming out over the next few months, so be sure to sign up via iTunes or using an RSS feed reader via the buttons to the right to make sure you don’t miss them.

I would like to say a big thank you to all the baristi, roasters, cuppers, suppliers, wholesalers, coffee shop owners, customers and the baker who were generous in giving their time, coffee and biscotti to me.

In the next episodes of the podcast we will hear from the following people and companies:

Jean-Phillipe Iberti and Todd Carmichael the owners of La Colombe Torrefaction in Philadelphia
Doug Wolf a veteran barista at the La Colombe cafe in Tribeca, Manhattan
Jenni Bryant a barista and manager of Gimme! Coffee at her cafe in NYC’s NoLiTa
Daniel Humphries and Daniel Mulu of Boot Coffee Consulting and Training who hosted a cupping of fine Ethiopeans at the Bodum showroom in Chelsea. (See picture above)
Gilda Doganeiro of Gilda’s Biscotti in Salem, NJ
Sharron and Ron Vacarello the owners of Crescent Moon Coffee and Tea in Mullica Hill, NJ

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Mpozi Mshale Tolbert – 1972 – 2006

15 May

One of the people who inspired me along my path of becoming a photographer died at the young age of 34.

While I was in the US last week I found out that my friend Mpozi Mshale Tolbert died two years ago after collapsing in the newsroom of the Indianapolis Star newspaper.

Before I met him I was already familiar with his work as he had a ‘photo of the week’ in the Philadelphia City Paper. The first thing I would do when I got my copy of the paper was look for his photo. Then one night I was having a drink at Dirty Frank’s bar and chatting to this enthusiastic young man with dreads who, after about an hour of conversation, introduced himself as Mpozi.

He was one of the first people I had met who made a living from photography; and he was only 20. I can only hope to be as successful and prolific as Mpozi was in his short life. At 16 he sold his first photo to a newspaper, during his early twenties he was an Associated Press staff photographer and at the age of 26 he secured a staff job at a major city daily newspaper, the Indianapolis Star. He was also a good friend of the members of the Philly hip hop band the Roots and documented their rise to prominence throughout the early 1990s.

I took the above black and white portrait of him back in the early 90s when I was taking a photo class at the University of the Arts in Philly. When I showed it to him he liked it so much that he offered to buy a copy from me. I declined payment as his appreciation of my work was worth more than money.

I took this photo the last time I ran into Mpozi in Manhattan on Union Square during the Republican National Convention in 2004. He was busy shooting a protest while fielding calls to photograph a delegate to the convention. Despite being very busy he greeted me with a big hug and lots of questions. Upon parting he said he would send me a mix of some of the Bossa Nova music he was spinning as a DJ.

I sorely miss his presence on this planet but am so glad to have known him.

I pledge to lead my life to its fullest – as I know Mpozi did. And if I don’t then it will be a waste.

Here are some photos of Mpozi from Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=mpozi+&m=text

Have a listen to this audio memorial to Mpozi that was broadcast on NPR shortly after his death.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5629480

Maggie loves Misha

5 May

Maggie and Misha just sent me a link to their wedding website. She’s Chinese and her fiance Misha is from the Ukraine. They met at the University of Texas at Austin while they were undergrads. They now live in New York and recently Maggie spent a semester here in London at the London Business School. She contacted me about doing an engagement session while Misha was visiting London from New York. We spent an awesome afternoon together taking taxis around London and taking photos.

Check out their wedding website here. (WARNING: turn down your volume as there is music on this page.)

Check out the rest of the images from our day together.