Giacomo Bruno’s “Raw Gold” Adventures Take Us to a Mexican Coffee Farm

All images by Giacomo Bruno. Used with Creative Commons permission.

It’s been a while since we last followed Giacomo Bruno around on his adventures across the globe. We’ve previously seen the Milan-based documentary photographers’ snaps from his trips to Sri Lanka, where he captured the “raw golds” of the country: Ceylon tea and cinnamon. He’s been to South America since, and as usual, got busy documenting the precious agricultural goods of the region. Today, let’s take a look at one of the raw golds of Mexico: coffee.

If you’re passionate about coffee, particularly single-origin coffee, you’ll know that South America is one of the top producers of coffee in the world. As Giacomo pointed out, Mexico ranks 8th in the list, with production mainly concentrated to the southern regions of the country. The main produce is arabica beans, which is grown in the Chiapas region, near the border of Guatemala.

For his series titled The Raw Gold of México: Coffee, Giacomo photographed a family of coffee farmers in Sitala, a village in the mountains of Chiapas. The series may be short (coffee lovers like me would definitely want to see more), but it gives us an interesting glimpse into what coffee farming is like. Most of the plantations, according to Giacomo, are owned by local indigenous families that take care of planting, harvesting, and drying the coffee beans — all done in the traditional way.

The series is done in the same intimate yet documentary style and spot-on narrative approach that we’ve seen in Giacomo’s previous works. I particularly like how the portraits are slightly stylized but still have a candid feel to it. This set, however, feels like a summary; it would be great to see more of the region’s coffee growing community, as well as more insights on their daily life.

I’m sure all you coffee lovers will also enjoy learning about coffee growing in Ethiopia, as documented by Emily Garthwaite.

Don’t forget to visit Giacomo Bruno’s website and Behance portfolio to see more of his documentary projects.