Lydia Whitmore Discovers the Origin of Coffee with Nespresso
In Nespresso’s latest campaign, The Origin of Coffee, created with photographer Lydia Whitmore, they strike a fascinating aesthetic balance between photography and illustration. The imagery creates an almost alternate reality that exists in the space between the two mediums. For Lydia to achieve this her team crafted paper sets for the coffee and then she balanced the images with the propping so together they would sell the aesthetic chameleon. “The challenge in this project was working on such a small scale and making sure that the coffee sat naturally within the set,” she explains. To make that happen she surrounded herself with a great team.
“Luckily, I was working with an amazing paper artist, Lydia Shirreff, who understands finding the right weight and texture of paper, and transformed the original illustrations into a carefully designed and intricate set.” Bringing coffee plants, flowers, and huts apart from the background offered a whole new dimension not only for image placement but also to let Lydia play with shadows and depth.
While all their hard work appears in the final photographs, there’s even more we don’t see.
“The other indispensable team member was Lesley Sendall who is a really talented food stylist,” Lydia explains. “She had a table of Nespresso machines all going to achieve the perfect coffee with the exact proportion of crema. What I didn’t realize at the start of the day was that the coffee she prepares is only perfect for around 3-5 seconds, after that it settles, and a new batch has to be made.” With the flora and fauna popping off the page, fresh coffees zooming in and out of the frame, it’s a wonder that Lydia was able to capture a stillness and calm that comes with the morning’s first cup of coffee.
Of course, after a full day of pulling shots, Lydia’s whole crew had their fill of coffee. But Lydia stayed focused and chill by abstaining while the world hummed around her. “I don’t drink coffee so I missed out on all the free drinks the rest of the crew were taking advantage of - I think they were all buzzing by the end of the day!”