A sense of kinship between photographer and subject permeates Francesco Mastalia's work. He makes photographs as photographers did 150 years ago, just like the farmers pictured in his latest book, Organic, grow vegetables and raise cattle in the tradition of their forebears. Like food produced with pride for flavour and texture, these are photographs to slowly savour

Organic is a feast to the senses. Much more than just a photography book about farmers and chefs of New York’s Hudson Valley, it is a message about integrity. The individuals  – and they are individuals! – encountered in this collection are less concerned about USDA organic certifications and government issued labels and more into creating healthy food, grown and prepared in traditional ways – food that is wholesome, sustainable and chemical-free.

Francesco Mastalia made the critical choice to photograph 136 organic farmers and chefs (103 appear in the book) with a reproduction of a large antique plate camera and original lens Dallmeyer 3B from the 1870s. No camera tilts or swings here. The camera is back to basics. It is modeled on a camera manufactured by E. & H.T. Anthony, the company that supplied Mathew Brady and his team of Civil War photographers with their cameras and chemicals.

In order to turn a piece of glass into a photographic negative or a positive (an ‘ambrotype’), it is necessary for the itinerant photographer (i.e. Mastalia) to travel with a lot of ‘stuff’: chemicals, trays, a specially designed box to transport the fragile glass, a ‘darkroom’ of his own design to sensitize and develop the photographs and, of course, a camera and tripod. The skill it takes to make a photograph is enormous, the dedication to craft extremely rare in the age of digital cameras. Every plate Mastalia makes is different, just like every meal prepared by a master chef.

Read the complete article and see the photo gallery: http://sublimemagazine.com/book-reviews/organic-new-york

All rights reserved. For more information about social and environmental sustainability contact Damian, info@sublimemagazine.com and follow us on Twitter:  @SublimeMagazine

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