Joey L Gets Intimate with Harmless Harvest in Thailand
For most of us, picking up a snack at the corner store is little more than just that. We don’t put too much thought into how we’re choosing products from the shelves, but the information is out there to make better and informed decisions. Coconut water brand Harmless Harvest is one of the responsible choices, preferring to work directly with coconut farmers in free trade agreements who use analog techniques to create a drink that is free of additives and harmful processes. It means the bottles are more expensive, that’s true, but the brand knows you’ll pay for the superior product. Harmless Harvest isn’t engaged in a race to the bottom of your budget but to the top of your ethics and they invited Joey L to help them spread the message. Joey headed to Thailand’s Ratchaburi province to meet the farmers and get their stories.
“The people we chose to celebrate in the images are hardworking and proud stewards of nature,” Joey says on his blog. “Within the vast irrigation canals of the coconut fields is an ecosystem of mixed agriculture: rare herbs on top to prevent soil erosion, medicinal grasses grown on the sides, and schools of fish within the water itself. Instead of using pesticides, a variety of beneficial insects are released into the fields to battle pests.”
A great many of the farmers in the area have updated their crops to better flow with more industrial techniques, but the farmers Joey photographed in Thailand, and that work with Harmless Harvest, continue the time-tested techniques of the past. These techniques are just as effective today as they’ve ever been and that’s why Joey shot the images in black and white.
“The goal of the black and white treatment was not to appear ‘vintage,’ but rather to emanate a classic, timeless look which reflects the natural ingredients in the product, and the honest and traditional agricultural techniques used by farmers,” Joey says.
Joey was able to engender intimacy with his subjects as they invited him into their lives, their business, and their livelihoods. You can see it in the smiles on their faces, the pride in their work.
“As someone who spends his time shooting 50% commissioned advertising projects and the other 50% traveling and shooting personal work, I always enjoy when a project bridges the gap and involves the merits of both disciplines of photography,” Joey says. “I fell in love with the place, the people, and I shot enough to make an entire series.”