PROVISION - our farms, producers & wineries
Sometime in early January of this year I received an email from a complete stranger—Joanna Joslyn –praising my work and asking if I’d be interested in a project for The Local Restaurant in the Belmont section of Charlottesville. The basic concept was both simple and ingenious—photograph the Local’s provisioners and their operations then put together an exhibit where patrons could look at the wall and see where the arugula on their plates or the wine in their glasses came from.
On January 18th I made my first trip—to Dick Proutt ‘s Down Branch Farm just south of Charlottesville. On that day I found myself driving slowly through sunny woods on a road better suited to a Land-Rover than a 98 Toyota—past faded Tibetan prayer flags hanging silently from winter branches—and looking for “Penny Lane.”
The road and the farm were right where Dick had said they would be and Dick Proutt was the first of ten providers I visited; all of whom impressed me as intelligent, talented entrepreneurs and producers of the highest quality restaurant fare. Each trip was a unique adventure and a unique learning experience.
No two producers, operations or locations were alike. Over the next four months I found myself shooting alongside a photographer from the New York Times, climbing 30 feet into the rafters of an enormous barn, watching goats being born, and talking to a daffodil farmer at the end of a dirt road on a lonely mountainside. I learned how mushrooms are grown, how wine, cheese and hard cider are made, photographed the childhood home of Lady Astor and spent a lot of time in the glowing warmth of plastic-covered “hoop buildings.”
In the course of this project I often felt compelled to photograph beautiful scenes and subjects I encountered that were (at best) only peripherally germane to that day’s assignment. Some of these randomly encountered images have been included in this exhibit not because they were specific to that day’s “provisioner” but because of the statement that they make about the unique beauty of this region of the United States—this locality.
On May 1st, with my trip to the magnificent Barboursville Winery, this series of shoots was concluded. Under the direction of Joanna Joslyn of Joslyn Creative, selections were made from the over 2000 frames shot and the current exhibit was developed. The management of The Local Restaurant hopes you enjoy the exhibit and that it enables you to better appreciate the extraordinary agricultural skill and artisanship of the people who produce the food and drink that servers bring to your table.