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August 24, 2014

Lane Coder x Larry Letters

A Fine Art-Inspired Trip to the Californian Outback

“I think there’s an inherent narrative that happens when taking pictures in Big Sur,” says American photographer Lane Coder of his recent collaboration with fellow image-maker, Larry Letters, in the remote Californian outback. “It’s a place stuck in time a little bit, you can still feel the presence of hippies past and present.” The pair, who found an affinity between their work while studying at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, escaped the confines of the studio for the great outdoors in between commissions for Vogue Japan and The New Yorker. “I find beauty in the details as well as giving the ‘whole’ picture; I think it helps tell a more complete story,” says Coder, who snapped the two aerial shots from the plane during his return journey back to New York. While they managed to fit in an impromptu fashion shoot using the rugged landscape and giant redwoods as a backdrop, the trip was not without a touch of danger, says Letters: “Killer seagulls, a bit of debauchery, a couple of trips to the hospital, fine wine in Wine Country, alien-like jellyfish, and California’s gorgeous, chameleon-esque light.”

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Spotlight

Hamilton Island Race Week

The Resort-Side Action at the Southern Hemisphere’s Most Glamorous Yachting Regatta

Free-flowing Moët and motor cruisers replete with Jacuzzis fuel the salt-water sailing at this year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in photographer Sean Fennessy’s series. On Australia’s Queensland coast, just off the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands played host to a fleet of 163 yachts jostling to win one of the scheduled 28 races. A fleet of electric-powered golf carts transported the audience of actors, TV personalities and gold-medal-winning Olympians who had come to witness the sailing prowess on show around the island's luxury Qualia resort, while acclaimed Australian chef Shannon Bennett of Melbourne-based sustainable restaurant Vue de Monde provided gastronomic delicacies. “My aim was to capture these events from the inside and glimpse into a world of excess and privilege,” says the Tasmanian-born Fennessy. Onshore, Greg Prescott, skipper of the 2 Unlimited sailboat, took home the week’s most coveted prize––an A1 compact car worth around $22,000––as winner of the Audi Final Drive Challenge, which involved racing the aggressively powered Audi R8 supercar around the island’s airport runway.

RACE WEEK STATS

Camera
Canon 5d Mk III.

Boats in the fleet
163.

Races
28.

Biggest boat
The 30-meter supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI 

Fastest time achieved
17-knot average speed by the trimaran Team Australia in the 60-nautical-mile long-distance race.

Optimum weather conditions
16-knot south-easterly trade wind and sunny skies.

Best boat name
Ucan’ttakeitwithyou.

Nautical miles sailed
Approximately 250 over the week.

Largest sail
930 square meters on Wild Oats XI––the equivalent of over four tennis courts. 

Closest call
Team Australia ran aground after making a sudden course change to avoid a humpback whale.

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Spotlight

Carlos Couturier: Designer Fruits

The Hôtel Americano Founder Opens Up His Gulf Coast Citrus Farms and Tropical Estate

Fresh limes ripe for the picking, family meals in the garden and laconic afternoons on the veranda feature in photographer Retts Wood’s series shot across hotelier Carlos Couturier’s verdant country home and citrus farm empire in San Rafael, Mexico. Situated on the humid tropical coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Couturier’s 15 farms spread across the former French colonial state of Veracruz harvest up to 60,000 tons of citrus per year which are distributed to leading restaurants, hotels and supermarket chains across the world. Couturier’s French immigrant grandfather settled in the 1890s to farm vanilla, switching to citrus when demand dropped due to the advent of artificial flavoring. Co-founding Grupo Habita with Moisés Micha, Couturier has launched twelve luxury design hotels including Endémico in Baja California and New York’s Chelsea boutique Hôtel Americano featuring Kengo Kuma-style, almost-on-the-ground platform beds, black vinyl Zanotta bean bag chairs, and iPads loaded with music and the hotel’s own city guide. “By traveling constantly through the citrus business I became an expert in hotels,” explains the entrepreneur, who was spending up to 200 days a year traveling. “I hated the big chain hotels, I always wanted to find small hotels with character and personality.” Currently developing new fruit varieties at the farms, expanding into avocado production and building a residence for emerging artists specializing in land art, here Couturier reveals his favorite citrus concoction and the essential summer cocktail.

What do you always pack in your suitcase?
My Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Just Kids by Patti Smith.

What's a typical meal at home in San Rafael?

A bowl of fresh mango and scramble eggs with black beans and a slice of avocado.

What have you discovered on your travels?
I enjoy things that I didn't have as a kid. Contemporary art, for example. I'm a big fan. I collect it. Everyone here thinks I'm crazy. They say, "Why would you pay that much money for that? I could do that now! I could repeat it in a second." They don't get how an artist can capture the essence of a time or a thing. Contemporary art to them is like putting money down the drain.

How does San Rafael compare with staying at your hotels?
I work here but at the same time it feels like I'm always on holiday—I can drive into the fields and be close to nature all the time. Think of yourself going to Patagonia on a trip, or going to Africa on a safari—I can do that but I'm working. It's beautiful.

What's your favorite thing to make using your citrus at home?
A morning smoothie with fresh orange and cactus leave.

What's the ultimate citrus summer cocktail?
A michelada. Fresh lime juice, ice, Corona beer and salt. Very refreshing!

(Read More)

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