There’s not long left to drink up Walthamstow Village’s photography exhibition: A New Era, An Ancient Brew. Photographer Jake Green shares the story behind it…
Mark my words; the independent coffee scene in Waltham Forest is thriving. This is an excellent thing, not just for coffee-drinking residents like me, but for the planet in general. Let me explain why.
I’m a photographer and in 2010, I started documenting coffee in London. I produced a portrait series called ‘Dialling In’, which celebrated the coffee baristas and café owners. The focus was on the cutting edge of coffee in London and at the time that meant leaving Waltham Forest and venturing into Hackney and beyond.
10 years later and some of the cream of crop now reside in Waltham Forest. Not just serving coffee – but roasting and posting coffee, too.
OK, so now you know that coffee is big business in Waltham Forest – perhaps you already knew – but how is that useful for the planet? If you roast coffee locally, deliver locally, ride a bike to your local coffee shop – staying local often equals a lower carbon footprint.
The next bit is where it gets really interesting. Local speciality coffee makers, cutting edge roasters and cafés are doing their bit for the global economy, too. Quite simply, the more we pay for high quality independent coffee in the UK, the more those companies pay importers and farms and often workers.
At the end of last year, I put together a plan with Alex Stevens of the Frank Ison Space in Walthamstow Village for my exhibition: A New Era, An Ancient Brew.
We wanted to uplift and inspire the local residents of Waltham Forest at a time when everyone is usually feeling pretty cold and uninspired. The resulting photographic exhibition kickstarted the New Year with a message of positive sustainability.
I selected three large format prints from my series Kunywa Jasho Langu: Coffee Kenya to display. They were chosen from an ongoing project of mine called Drink My Sweat, which connects the people that drink coffee with those that produce it.
The show was designed to hang in the windows of the gallery space in a completely lockdown-friendly way, with a QR code on the window that enables you to order the exhibition catalogue online for free. There’s also an audio guide.
If you’re quick, you might catch it hanging in all its majestic beauty,. If not, keep an eye for another exhibition in the neighbourhood soon!
A New Era, An Ancient Brew is at Frank Ison Space, Walthamstow until Sunday, 7th February 2021