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The Barista/Photographer Guy

24 Sep


Just back from another whirlwind trip to the US. While I was in NYC I stopped in at La Colombe in Tribeca to visit Doug Wolfe – the barista we heard from in this podcast. He made me a delicious gibralter and then we talked about – you guessed it – coffee, as well as travel, and the various projects we are working on. Then Doug went into the back of the shop and brought out an advance copy of the book he did the photography for. The book is called il Viaggio di Vetri and Doug’s photos are on the same high level as the coffee he makes. I have neither read the book nor tried the recipes yet but the food, bathed in kind, natural light, looked absolutely delicious. Doug spent more than a year photographing on location in both Italy and the USA. The book itself is by chef Marc Vetri of the highly-acclaimed Vetri Ristorante in Philadelphia.

You might ask what this has to do with coffee or cafe culture – or even baristas for that matter. The very essence of a successful cafe is that it connects people over expertly-prepared drink and food in an environment that has a calculated aesthetic. Doug seems to accomplish all this whether it be coaxing espresso-based drinks from his beloved Faema e61, making photographs with his medium format camera, or just plain chillin’.

You can purchase the book directly from Ten Speed Press.

The above image of the book cover was taken from the Ten Speed Press web site.

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Bedouin Jerry Can Band

11 Sep

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This summer my photography work took me to the Larmer Tree Festival in Dorset, England where the Bedouin Jerry Can Band (BJB) were playing. Being interested in music from other cultures I had long known about this band but knew little about them or their connection to coffee. When I read the following in the festival programme I knew I had to check them out: The BJB are a collective of semi-nomadic musicians, poets, storytellers, and coffee grinders. There is also an olfactory dimension to their act as a coffee grinder brews and serves coffee for the audience . . . Even though their ‘coffee grinder’ really only went throught the motions, bringing out ready made filtered coffee from backstage, their performance was true to the grand tradition of the starbarista: engaging and entertaining an audience while making coffee. (If you are not seeing the photos click here for the full post.)

First he roasted the coffee . . .

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Then he ground the coffee . . .
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He then returned the ground coffee to the pan to either roast it again (surely not) or to brew the coffee . . .

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Then out came the coffee pot which promptly went back stage. . .

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Then seconds later out came a tray of BJB branded styrofoam cups (please guys have some paper ones printed up) full of what seemed like a very light roast filtered coffee . . .

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. . . which was enjoyed by all . . .

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After their performance I spotted them and asked if they wouldn’t mind posing for a group photo . . .

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Here a few close ups of band members . . .
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Larmer Tree Festival

3 Aug

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Click here to go to the full post including photos.
I love living in England. One of the reasons is the vibrant and diverse music scene here. For me part of that music scene is the Larmer Tree Festival that takes place every year in Dorset. This summer I was back again and had another amazing time seeing friends I made last year and hearing some great music from amazing bands and DJs from across the globe. Some of the acts that graced the festival’s three stages (and two nightclubs) this summer included the Bedouin Jerry Can Band from Egypt, Kora from New Zealand, Tinariwen from Mali, Orchestra Baobab from Senegal and DJ Derek from Bristol. Another great thing about this festival is that there’s something to do for everyone at this festival. There are all sorts of workshops and activities like salsa dancing, circus skills, and drumming. The photos you see above (click here if you don’t see them) are from fancy dress Saturday when many people get dressed up in costumes. Check out my Larmer Tree 2008 website to see the images I took this year.