marin & wine country Issue Two Fall 2009
Celebrating the harvest of Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties, season by season
Photography of Douglas Gayeton • Bill & Nicolette Niman • Ted Hall’s Composition California’s Other Golden Elixir • Thanksgiving Wine Pairings Member of Edible Communities
Tuscany and Marin County:
a Picture Perfect Pair
n his new book, SLOW: Life in a Tuscan Town (Welcome Books), Petaluma-based b y d o u g l a s g ay e t o n photographer Douglas Gayeton takes an e unprecedented personal journey into the heart of hidden Tuscany, a region steeped in culinary traditions. Gayeton’s images celebrate the principles that define the Slow Food movement and pay tribute to the region’s kaleidoscope of vibrant characters, whose shared culture revolves around the everyday pleasure of growing, preparing, and eating food. It is a riveting story told in a riveting way: each image is comprised of multiple photographs taken over a period of time that can range anywhere from ten minutes to several hours, and is layered with Gayeton’s handwritten notes, recipes, facts, and sayings.
life in a tuscan town
life in a tuscan town photo grAphs And text by
d o u g l A s g Ay e t o n
A l Ic e wAt e r s cArlo petrInI
IntroductIon by prefAce by
xploring the narrative boundaries of still photography propelled artist Douglas Gayeton on a remarkable journey of discovery into the heart of hidden Tuscany. His magical portraits of rural Italians celebrate the rich cultural traditions associated with the simple everyday pleasures of growing, selling, preparing, and eating food. Gayeton provides an absorbing first person account of his transformative immersion in this rarely glimpsed world, offering an intimacy that carries us deeper into the images. With an anecdotal charm reminiscent of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence, and the visual vitality of Peter Beard’s collage journals, Slow’s interplay of pictures and words conveys a thrilling sense of narrative that transcends the page and transports you halfway around the globe. Gayeton’s imaginative and interactive photographs are layered with handwritten notes, anecdotes, recipes, quotes, historical facts and sayings that cleverly bring context and color to the subject of each sepia toned image and draw us deeper into this romantic and rustic world. You will fall in love with the region’s kaleidoscope of charming local characters: the mushroom hunters and sheep farmers, the winemakers and fisherman, the bakers and butchers whose lives are profoundly bound to the rhythms of nature and inherently exemplify the popular principles that define Slow Food, an international movement dedicated to preserving local food traditions and honoring local farmers and producers.
aphs are rich and undeniably authentic, and could only have omeone with the deep sensitivity and understanding that goes ndaries of nations and languages, and represents the principles he Slow Food movement.” —C arlo P etrini , Founder of the Slow Food movement
A l Ic e wAt e r s
Each photograph is titled with a traditional Italian saying and its English translation (e.g. Meglio Spendere Soldi Dal Macellaio Che Dal Farmacista: “Better to spend money at the butcher than the pharmacist”). The rich use of language intertwines the literal with the figurative, resulting in a photographic approach critics have dubbed the “flat film.” It is a riveting story told in a riveting way: each image is actually comprised of multiple photographs taken over a period of time, ranging anywhere from ten minutes to several hours. With this process, Gayeton has managed to introduce the concept of time, both compressed and exploded, into his photographs. The result is exhilarating, and marvelously complemented by Gayeton’s compelling personal tale.
On the cover of this issue of Edible Marin & Wine Country and on the following pages, Gayeton also presents us with subjects a little closer to home, offering a sneak peak at “workin-progress” portraits of local Marin food producers, paired with their Tuscan counterparts. Despite the cultural differences between the people Gayeton has captured in his photographs, his images reveal a shared ideology and love of the land and sea that knows no borders. SLOW: Life in a Tuscan Town will be available September 22, 2009. www.rumplefarm.com
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The following is an excerpt from an interview of Gayeton conducted by Paige Phinney, Membership Communications Program Manager of Marin Organic. The full interview is available at www.ediblemarinandwinecountry.com. Phinney: What inspired this book and how did you choose Italy and this form of art to express yourself? Gayeton: Well, I lived in Italy for ten years. While I was there PBS asked me to do a project about the Slow Food movement. I am a filmmaker, so the obvious thing was to shoot a documentary, but I became attracted to the idea of somehow mixing narratives with photographs. Ultimately these became â€œflat films.â€? The book represents many years of trying to figure out what that might look like. Phinney: What are the differences and similarities between Tuscan and Marin food producers? And why? Gayeton: On a fundamental level, Tuscan and Marin producers arrive at the same point from different directions. Tuscans have always maintained a tradition of being attentive to what they grow and eat, so they have the weight of history behind 22 | edible marin & wine country
them. Here in America, and certainly in Marin, producers are motivated by an intense reaction to how our culture treats food and the cultural practices associated with it. Marin producers have rejected a philosophy put forth primarily by agribusinesses and factory farmers... these faceless purveyors of corn-fed beef, partially hydrogenated fats and high fructose corn syrup. Along the way local food producers are rediscovering the traditions of their ancestors. So, both end in the same place, but begin from opposite ends of the spectrum. Phinney: What are some typical responses farmers and producers had to your photographing them and the resulting art pieces? Gayeton: I think more than anything, the people I photograph are generous. They all have an eagerness to share their knowledge, their experiences. I guess you would say their passion is what they share most. And that sort of energy is infectious. On one level my photography is selfish. I want to learn. I want to have my life changed... and I keep looking for people who have that impact on me.
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