"What would you do if you could do anything?"
I would photograph only things I want to photograph.
Well, it just so happens I have 57 free days in Italy to do whatever I want. So what do I want to do?
I thought about reading books. I thought about traveling and seeing all the coastal places I wanted. I thought about eating gelato everyday to see how fast I could gain 15 pounds... But then something struck me.
I remembered one early Spring day, my Sustainability in Food professor took us to an urban farm in Settignano, outside of Florence. We got off the bus and walked about a kilometer to a medium-sized vegetable farm. At the gate we were greeted by a scrawny mutt carrying a large bone and a hairy man wearing corduroys with an unlit-mostly-chewed cigar hanging out of his mouth. He fascinated me.
Through the course of the day, he showed us which tomatoes were at the end of their season, which black kale was for soup and which kale was for salads, and his new baby chicory just starting to push through the soil. This turned out to be one of the best and most educational days of my college years.
So, what would I do if I could do anything?
That: Farmers. Food. Dirt. Local urban farms. Little village restaurants.
I would go back to that farm, interview that man, and photograph him tending to his vegetables. I would go to my favorite little village restaurants with chefs who greet each table with flour-dusted hands and warm smiles to ask how the wine is, because if its good, he'll sit down with us to have a glass. I would memorize the pace and the recipes native to their regions just to know that I belonged there for that moment.
So here's my newest self-assigned photography assignment:
Slow Life: The cooking & eating habits of Chefs, Vitners, and Farmers in their daily lives.
I will be traveling through Italy photographing farms and chefs and the relationship between the two. I want to photograph what it means for a chef, farmer, or vitners to feed himself and his family from the land that surrounds him.
In America, this is something we are constantly trying to learn and to master.
To answer that, I am going to spend time photographing everyday cooks and chefs who do this out of necessity and out of normalcy; the verdict is yet to be known. The photos will end up in editorial features back in America... or...in a book? Get crazy.
How do we eat more sustainably? How do we use more local ingredients? Can we really "eat slow"?
There are no rules, there are no exceptions. Anything goes. Let's see what will happen.
To nominate a chef, vitner, experience provider, or farmer who might be interested in this project and the publicity that will follow, please email email@example.com.
Primary areas of interest:
Viterbo, Lazio, Maremma Laziale/Maremma Toscana, Toscana, Umbria, Emilia-Romagna.