I had the pleasure of attending the "True Cost of American Food" organized by The Sustainable Food Trust back in April in San Francisco. I use the word "attending" lightly because while I was there, I really did not see much of the conference. You see, I was there to take portraits of the speakers for the Culinaria project as the speakers scheduled for the conference included many leading thinkers and voices of the food world.
The level of brain power in the Herbst Pavilion for the two days of the conference was astounding! Economists, policy makers, journalists, activists, a couple of MacArthur fellows. Even a bona fide rock star! (I mean, what was Jerry Harrison from Talking Heads doing there? I'm dying to know!) As often happens in these kinds of situations, it was fun to see the speakers interact with each other "in the hallways". Most of them are friends. And if they don't know each other, know and respect their work from afar. It's this informal interaction that strengthens old connections and creates new networks that grow into things down the line that the organizers of the event can't foresee.
it was great to hear the excitement in the voice of the subjects as they'd enter the studio to be photographed. "Man, she's a firecracker!" Someone said about Saru Jayaraman's presentation. "Joel Salatin really got the crowd going" I heard from another. These people came to present, but they were equally eager to listen.
I knew going in that I would not be able to get all the speakers scheduled (I don't know if it was logistically possible due to sheer number of them). But I did manage to get, I think, roughly half of the scheduled speakers. It was also a pleasure to see friends and familiar faces from the food world as well meeting new people working in this field.
Here are the portraits from the two days of the conference presented in the order they were taken. I hope you enjoy!
[Special thanks to Adele Jones, Ellie Athanasis and the rest of the Sustainable Food Trust Staff for graciously allowing me to photograph during their conference. Deep gratitude and appreciation to Sarah Mosbacher for helping to make this shoot happen! And thank you to all who took time out of their busy day to sit in front of my camera.]