At this year’s Salone del Mobile (#fuorisalone) in Milan, Google unveiled an installation called “A Space for Being”, in collaboration with Reddymade (architecture), Muuto (furniture) and John Hopkin’s Arts + Mind Lab (neuro-research).
A Space For Being is an interactive, multiroom installation that explored the field of neuroaesthetics and how different aesthetic experiences have the potential to impact our biology and well-being.
Landscape photos from a recent trip to Joshua Tree National Park, California.
I recently had a chance to visit various coffee farms in Colombia with Pagpropina, a social impact company that’s creating a pension fund for Colombian farmers and coffee pickers. Because of extremely low coffee prices on the international markets, many Colombian farmers are struggling to make a living. Compared to the large-scale mechanized farms in Brazil and Vietnam, most Colombian farms are small-scale and family owned. Additionally, most of Colombian coffee is hand-picked, which leads to its high-quality specialty status. We met many farmers that were trapped in a debt cycle as they relied on bank loans to keep their farms running. Savings are non-existent.
Pagpropina wanted to create images and a video to tell the story of these farmers to end-consumers of coffee in developed countries like the USA. The idea was to encourage people to leave a tip after watching the video (and viewing the images). The tip would then be aggregated into a pension fund for the coffee farmers and pickers, and eventually be disbursed through the public pension fund of Colombia, Colpensiones.
For this project, I shot on a combination of the Sony A7R III for video and digital photos, as well as the Pentax67 for some film portraits. For video, I mounted my Sony A7R III with a 24-70mm GM on a smallrig, with a Rode NTG4 (and a deadcat) and most footage was shot handheld. All footage was shot in S-Log 2. I would toggle from video to photo for digital photos if there was time for shots. On top of that, I had my Pentax67 (loaded with Portra 400) slung around my neck so that I could grab film photos whenever a good chance presented itself. Needless to say it was a lot of work but it ended up being a setup that worked!
The areas we ended up visiting were Pereira, Santa Rosa, Manizales, Chinchina, Neiva, San Agustin and Gigante. View the full set here.
Photography is really exciting because you never know what the final images are going to look like. You have to put yourself in the process and collaborate with the person you’re shooting with. Oftentimes it’s a matter of experimentation and play, without fully understanding why we make the creative choices that we do in a given moment. But I’ve learned to trust the process and let my intuition guide me. After each shoot, I tell myself that if I have just 10 good photos, I’ll be satisfied. During the selection and editing process, I sometimes chance upon gems that were created without my full awareness at the time of shooting. The editing process brings out a deeper understanding of why I made certain decisions and that knowledge allows me to refine my work as I build on each previous shoot. It’s fascinating to discover this amorphous notion of my personal creativity becoming more defined and concrete with each shoot. It makes me think that creativity is half conscious and half subconscious and that the magic of discovery lies on the latter half. As you can tell from this chunk of text, I’ve been ruminating on the notion of creativity and how it applies to my work. I want to write more about my understanding of creativity to guide my work even more.