Bonni Alexandra Pacheco is currently living in Thailand but we were able to connect re: digital nomad life. I also visited her home town in Durango Colorado.
First things first: I visited the Nibble snack shop. If you missed the Kendall Square location you should encourage Joyce Lee to pop-up near you. Keep an eye out for Branchfood’s latest food collaboration at Render Cafe in our building as well.
Photo by Bonni Pacheco
Three Question Interview with Bonni Pacheco:
1.) Do you ever find it hard to be nomadic and do Digital things? (Monitors, lenses, powerful computers...)
Yes! There can be major hiccups. I did expect for things to go smoother and received quite a few wake up calls. I like to think about this adventure to SE Asia as the testing testing 1-2-3. To list some of the challenges… It was difficult to find wifi with a fast enough upload rate in order to back up files. I found out at the end of my travels that there are many communal coworking spaces for professionals that need to do digital things. As far as gear, I would have invested in better backpacking gear and tested everything out more before traveling. I plan to have a ceremony soon, in which I burn the backpack I carried for almost 2 months. Good riddance. I also got to put my insurance to the test after a fall in Bali at the beautiful, and the very slippery, botanical gardens. When traveling with that favorite camera lens of yours, I recommend that that fall not be more painful than it needs to be.
2.) What is a tip that you could give a beginner food photographer - even if it is just one word.
Play with the light. This is an ongoing discovery. Play with the natural light, how it changes throughout the day, what moods different natural light creates. Also, look closely at story lines...What kind of story are you trying to communicate? I also recommend putting your work out there for people to see. See what it inspires in others.
3.) When we first met you were particularly interested in photographing food up close - did we call it food porn? - what has been a fun outlet for creativity now?
It's true, when we first met, I was very focused on photographing radical foods and veggies up close. As time passed, I zoomed way out as well, in order to tell a more evocative story. Indeed, folks like to call sexy hunger-inspiring food photography, food porn. It can just be SO naughty! Food styling is a great outlet for creativity, it is a muscle I have been building for a while. It is also an innate sensitivity that I am more in tuned with now, and such an important part of storytelling. Also, probably the best outlet for creativity for me is to slow down, really taste and savor food. When traveling, pulling up a chair in a foreign kitchen, immersing hands in the preparation of an exotic dish...Yummy.
And with that she wished me "bonniappetit!" and I indulged myself by reading edible Southwest Colorado.
Flying into Durango, Colorado - Bonni's Hometown
It was just coincidence that Bonni and I connected right as I was visiting her home town. Sitting in the dry heat of Durango, I sipped some coconut water and thought about Bonni scraping the fresh meat of coconuts in Thailand.
After reading the stories I was forced to reflect on my relationship with meat and eating local. When I lived in San Francisco, I was vegan. Since coming back to New England, I find myself buying a lot of animal products from local farms. It is so hard for me to not think about the lives of the animals. It isn’t all that healthy to eat tons of dairy and meat — but it makes me physically feel better to put milk in my coffee or eat a hamburger.
The two foods that I miss the most after living in California are coconuts and avocados. I bought fresh ones all the time in SF but they are hard to afford/find on the East coast. Do I eat more meat now because there are no vegetable based fatty acids growing in our New England climate?
Suddenly the Local Food Movement that I had been vehemently championing seemed less...appealing.
What is the future of local food tech innovation? Better transport for international food delicacies? Supporting local food entrepreneurs who care about the sourcing of their ingredients?
Perhaps startups like Mark Thomann’s (now defunct) FarmedHere, London's Growing Underground, or the local Freight Farms will scale even bigger? Can you picture a grove of coconut trees growing in an abandoned warehouse in Walpole? That would be inefficient — but awesome. Similar to one of those ski resorts in Dubai.
I have always reveled in the abundance of New England produce but I have also developed a craving for all of the dynamic plant biodiversity that the world has to offer. For now, I am going to keep on driving to Hollis Hills farm to stock my freezer with winter Meat Pies and experiment with packaged imports. I’ll let you know if I get around to trying squirrel.
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