Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Scent of a Dream

On Saturday, June 20th, we visited a coffee exhibit in Venice. The exhibit is named “Scent of a dream. A journey in the world of coffee.” It displays 75 black and white photos taken by Sebastião Salgado that he feels truly capture the journey of coffee and the people who contribute to that journey. Salgado traveled to 10 countries to take these pictures, including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Columbia, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Tanzania.

Upon entrance to this exhibit, there is a board that displays a quote from Sebastião Salgado himself. He explains his story, his background with coffee, and how he has combined his love for coffee and his love for photography to create this unique exhibit. At the end, he says something that really put things into perspective for me. He says “It is my hope that the resulting images convey my pleasure in returning to the world of coffee, one that for the most part lives in silent isolation in remote mountain regions of developing countries. For the peasant farmers or day laborers, whom I sought out in ten countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia, coffee defines their livelihood. They are the men, women and children who grow, pick, clean, dry and select the coffee beans. For coffee drinkers in Venice and beyond, they may barely exist, yet we should never forget that the grains in every cup of coffee were once touched by human hands.”

I was extremely intrigued by his work, so I came home and did some more research. I read a short biography on Salgado and found that he has written several books and that his work goes far beyond coffee. I read a quick excerpt of a book he wrote called “Migrations.” The very beginning says this: “More than ever, I feel that the human race is one. There are differences of color, language, culture and opportunities, but people’s feelings and reactions are alike.” This made me realize that Salgado’s motivation to do what he does goes beyond just showing people where coffee started. It’s about bringing people together in a way; it’s about making people realize that your indulgence might be someone else’s hard work.

This experience definitely changed my views on coffee. Seeing Salgado’s highly expressive and emotive pictures caused me understand this subject on a much deeper level. It was much more effective than seeing this process on a collection of slides, while they helped in understanding what was taking place in each of the pictures. I hope to, like Salgado says, never forget that the grains in every cup of coffee were once touched by human hands!


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