Mark Youd is an artist based in Caerphilly, near Cardiff, South Wales. Before Mark gets to work on his paintings, he starts the day with coffee, which inspired this creative series of photography called “Caffeine Planets.” I asked Mark to describe the process:
It’s a simple, fun project based on the patterns that develop in the crema on my morning coffee…I use Nespresso from a Krups Pixie machine topped up with hot water, by varying the angle of the mug when the coffee is being pumped and/or the speed the hot water is poured, I can influence the pattern that is created in the crema. I take a photo (with nothing more special than an iPhone) very soon after pouring. I then crop the images in photoshop and apply very basic contrast and colour filters (and a healthy dose of imagination) to them while I drink the coffee. -Mark Youd
Over the years, La Marzocco has published several books covering various aspects of the coffee industry, coffee process and the heritage of their beautiful espresso machines. For their most recent release, Year Book 2011, La Marzocco teamed up with renown designer and illustrator Jon Contino, known for highlighting authentic heritage (and creating the feeling of it) with wonderful hand drawn illustrations and typography.
Contino, a New York native who co-founded the lifestyle brand CXXVI, which captures the spirit of rugged east coast Americana has lent his creative hand to the tradition of fine espresso. The book’s gorgeous photos by Sven Hoffman are complimented with the hand-crafted stylings of La Marzocco’s focus on “true artisans” and the “finest quality.”
William LeGoullon is an Arizona-based artist and photographer who also happens to be inspired by the bean. A recent project called “Coffee Roasting Phases” was prompted by his experience working as a barista at Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe, AZ. It’s a strikingly simple composition revealing the physical changes coffee beans go through in the roasting process and it’s currently on exhibit at the Eye Lounge Gallery in Phoenix.
It’s fascinating to look at the fine details of something we handle each day, but rarely stop to inspect the subtleties. These photos really capture a unique perspective of coffee at a scale uncommon in our daily coffee routine. I would love to see a large print of this on a light box in a café somewhere. It serves as a good reminder of the craft behind each bean. Hopefully your coffee doesn’t resemble anything close to that last one.
Despite what the recent Samsung commercial would have you think, baristas and so many others in the coffee industry tend to be a highly creative group of individuals. I’m not sure where the correlation stems from exactly, but DCILY was founded on the principle that coffee inspires creativity and each day I’m more convinced of that.
Eileen P. Kenny is one of the latest artist/barista (or is it barista/artist?) who I’ve discovered creating great coffee inspired art. She is a twenty-two year old photographer who’s been making coffee since she was sixteen. Part-way through getting a Masters in Advertising, she decided to leave school to pursue what she already knew she was passionate about and began working with Seven Seeds Coffee (and soon Market Lane).
The project, aptly titled “Birds of Unusual Vitality,” is a collection of portraits & essays about passionate and unique individuals in specialty coffee, beginning with Melbourne’s Angus Gibbs, Jason Scheltus, Talor Browne and Mark Free.
Specialty coffee is an industry filled with fascinating people from every corner of the world and every background you can imagine.
The aim of Birds of Unusual Vitality is to shine a light on these baristas, roasters, farmers, pickers, workers, and everyone involved the process of coffee production, from start to finish. I want the passion for great coffee and the pursuit of quality and sustainability to spread beyond those who work in coffee—I think that getting insight into the people who have that passion is a great place to start.
The project has no expected end date and Kenny’s growing list of desired subjects expands well beyond Melbourne to include such coffee notables as Susie Spindler, Ben Kaminsky and Brent Fortune. Kenny shared her project ambitions with DCILY:
In the long term, I’d also like to go to origin and interview farmers, tracing the coffee’s journey in reverse; essentially, starting at where I am now (making coffee and tasting it), all the way back to those who are harvesting and processing and basing their livelihoods on the quality of their next crop.
This is such a great project that can capture the true diversity of backgrounds within the industry. If there ever were a specialty coffee related project fit for Kickstarter (or IndieGoGo)—turning these photos and stories into a lovely book is one I think would garner a fair bit of support from around the world.
You can view select portraits and read their stories at Birds of Unusual Vitality. Below is an exclusive look at a few of the photos left on the dark room floor. Enjoy.
Jack Long, a photographer from Milwaukee, has spent over a year developing a unique technique for capturing these cool organic splashes elevated above coffee cups.
Unlike typical “splash photography” these photos aren’t made from dropping objects into the liquid (it’s a secret), but Long’s technique has created shapes as large as a half meter in diameter and as small as just 5cm. Coffee was chosen as his medium for its universal appeal to both coffee lovers and splash photography connoisseurs—yes they exist.
Photos taken with a Canon 1Ds MkII and Canon 28-70 f2.8 lens at 50mm
Almost a year ago, to the day, I visited Tim Wendelboe in Oslo for the first time. The Kenya, Mugaga I had on that trip is still one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had. While there was no Mugaga this time, there were two other kenyalicious coffees, Tekangu and Ndumberi, and lots of good company.
I finally met “the Tim” briefly as he was leaving for the Nordic Barista Cup and spent the following morning with “the other Tim” while he was roasting some fresh coffee. Chris Owens from Handsome Coffee was also in town, who I hadn’t seen since the USBC in Houston, so I caught up on Handsome progress while sampling the menu with him.
If you find yourself in Oslo, Tim Wendelboe should be number one on your list of coffee shops to visit. Until then, brew another cup and enjoy some more photos.
One thing I love about traveling is the opportunity to experience the tremendous variety of cafés & coffee bars around the world. It’s amazing how many different environments we’ve designed around one drink—modern, kitschy, rustic, industrial, and cozy (just to name a few). During a year spent living in the deep south, I was able to enjoy the warm Southern architecture that seems to transforms every space into someone’s living room.
Photographer Kathryn Barnard has done a fantastic job capturing this feeling at a coffee shop in Charleston, South Carolina called Hope and Union. I’ve never been to Charleston and though I wouldn’t have expected it to have any coffee shops worth writing home about, the cameo of Intelligentsia mugs in the photos may be enough evidence to prove me wrong. Next stop, Southbound & down!
I’ve seen a number of concepts for camera lens coffee mugs floating around the internet, but this spring Canon took the idea and made it a reality.
The Canon Limited Edition 70-200mm L-Series Coffee Cup was introduced at the XXI Winter Olympics in Vancouver this past March. When the mugs were handed out to photographers covering the event they became instant “must-have” items in the photography world. The few retailers offering them have already sold out of pre-orders and the mug’s popularity has spawned its own Facebook fan page. Rumor has it that Nikon isn’t far behind.