Organic: Farmers and Chefs of the Hudson ValleyBy Francesco Mastalia (powerHouse Books, 2014) Buy It Now
Mastalia’s luminous photographs cross-pollinate with words in this stirring and beautiful book. Actor-activist Ruffalo recalls his immigrant great-grandfather’s cherished garden, Buckland and Gussow offer invaluable insights on “Time. Nature. Photography,” and more than a hundred Hudson Valley farmers and chefs reflect on their lives and work. But Mastalia’s photographs star. Ambrotypes produced with 19th-century tools—a replica wet-plate camera and an 1870s lens—they give work-worn faces the textured patina of Civil War portraiture. Aesthetics and subject meld perfectly: These are 21st-century women and men reembracing the beauty of old ways, growing and preparing food that enriches us all. Buckland writes, “Sunlight and patience with a dash of love. What is true for the farmer is true for the photographer.” And a pure joy to witness.