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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

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)

Spotlight

Return of the Sun

Filmmakers Glen Milner and Ben Hilton Witness the Greenland's First Dawn of the Year

Set against the expansively beautiful and iridescent landscape of Northern Greenland, Glen Milner and Ben Hilton's subtle and touching short visits the annual sun-welcoming ritual of the country’s Inuit population, which celebrates the dawn after more than 40 days of complete winter darkness. Following the daily routine of an Inuit ice fisherman and his son, Return of the Sun examines the affects of the changing climate on their livelihood and community, and pays tribute to the locals’ innate adaptability. “While we were there our fisherman lost hundreds of pounds of fish due to ice breaking away and lines being lost, rare for this time of year,” explains Milner. “The fishermen were already thinking of new ways to hunt and the Inuit attitude in such a harsh environment proved inspiring.” Although the pair had previously worked together on diverse projects including Rwandan genocide prisoners and a short on experimental rock band Rolo Tomassi, filming in Greenland’s harsh environment offered unique new challenges. “Filming in such low temperatures with high winds is grueling. Keeping the camera out of the battering snow, keeping it warm and getting sound away from the winds was really tough, and it's so dark,” says Hilton. “But emotionally, you see nature at its most inspiring and its most intense.”  

STATS FROM ON SET

Location
Ilulissat, Greenland. 

Longitude and Latitude
69° 13 min N; 51° 6 min W.

Average daily temperature
-17°C.

Average daily wind speed
5.6–11 km/h (Force 2, Beaufort Scale).

Affect of changing climate
Ice depleting by up to 15 meters (49 feet) per year in Ilulissat, meaning 20 billion tons of iceberg break off and pass out of the Ilulissat fjord annually.

Hours of darkness per day while filming 
21.

Days of total darkness per year 
43.

Average sunlight per year 
On balance, 1,878 sunshine hours––approximately 5.1 sunlight hours per day.

Traditional first annual sunrise
January 13 (13 minutes before 13:00).

Sunrise in 2011
January 11.

Number of inhabitants 
4,000.

Transport
1 x 4x4, 6 x planes, 1 x small fishing boat, dog sleds.

Number of dogs per sled 
30.

Camera 
Sony F3 with Zeiss ZF lenses.

Length of shoot 
Two days traveling to location, six days filming, two days traveling back.

Clothes worn while filming 
North Face everything.

Average number of layers of clothing 
Six.

Skin care 
Arctic skincare packs and lots of ChapStick.

Food during filming
Equal mix of fine dining and Pot Noodle.

Safety equipment 
Not enough.

(Read More)

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