Monday, September 19, 2011


Here are some portraits I took while post planting this summer mostly having to do with festivals.

Claire in the line up out of Buring Man.

Annah in the line out of Burning Man.

Dom with her traveling suitcase filled with random junk, Sierra Hot Springs.

Annah looked like a super hero for most of Burning Man.

Claire at Burning Man.

Colette at sunset on the way to Burning Man.

Stevie looking his finest at Shambhala.

Jacq on a Canadian backdrop.

Me, taken by Garrett Jones.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cherry Slave

After tree planting and getting $400 cash jacked practically right out of my bare hands with every other piece of plastic I owned, I found myself in Creston BC with $10 in my pocket and an irreparably, non-functioning bank card. I did go with the purpose of cherry picking but I by no means intended on getting sucked into hard core, no fun cherry picking- night picking happened entirely by mistake. The first Quebecois skid I saw when my hitch hiking ride dropped me off at the 7-11 ushered me hurriedly into his car with claims of work. That left me not sleeping in the park that night so I went apparently to work all night instead. Cherry picking is supposed to be a bunch of lazy hippies and skids barely working and taking most of the day to drink wine by the river. Night picking completely ruins all this. Cherry slave hours are midnight till 10am or often noon. The rest of the day, if you are normal, is spent eating, maybe doing something in town, and then getting some sleep in there before you have to wake up at the most unnatural hour. Graveyard shifts should really stick to jobs like nursing where lives are at stake, cuz I really don't think it's worth it otherwise. I, on the other hand, not giving a shit and refusing to give up my paid vacation, would work all night and then still play all day like I was a regular day picker. I'd only sleep 2-4 hours most days. Lucky for me I slept through my alarm one night and there was a day off due to rain another day (that's right, day off due to rain) or else I never would have made it. But the fact that I could keep up with most average pickers on that little sleep is testament to how easy this job is for a tree planter. I actually surprised myself and made decent money due to the inhumane number of working hours. As a disclaimer, there were some really hard core cherry pickers on this orchard who were not fucking around, and they were actually making quite a killing. The high baller made $570 one night.
I ran around the orchard a couple of nights taking pictures instead of working to capture this weird job. I decided to only use the natural light of the headlamps and the moon to exemplify the true atmosphere. I'm not particularly proud of most of these pictures because they were technically really hard to take without a tripod and so little light. But here you can get a feel for the life of a night picker:

Before work meeting. This is the boss' house. She looks like a big, tough no-bull shit lady at first but she's actually very nice, and rides around in that golf cart.
My row for the night.
The full moon through the cherry branches.

Jerome picking away with my flash light on him.

I put this one in for the bucket.

Katia picking illumination only by her headlamp.

Serg. A Quebecer living the life the rest of the year in Mexico.
Jerome's full bin (300-350 lbs of cherries).

Dana, my favorite swamper. He's 16 years old, from Creston, has a motorcyle, doesn't do drugs, and is going to be a helicopter pilot when he grows up. Swampers move cherry bins down the rows with a tractor, move pickers when they are done their row, pick out the rotten cherries from bins etc.

Coffee break at 5am.
Then the sun comes up and you keep picking but now you can actually see.

Hands look like this after a night of picking. I hear it's just from the ladders but it looks fucked up.
Katia was the only person on the orchard actually protecting herself with gloves and a mask against the many sprays they use for all sorts of fucked up shit. Cherries it turns out are the most delicate fruit and are showered with an assortment of chemicals so that you end up with those big, shiny, red, round things in the grocery store. The most important spray seems to be a ripening retardant. It allows the cherries to stay longer in the trees without further ripening and rotting. They must be harvested 7 days after spraying in order to still be marketable. The farmer has to time the spraying according to the size and speed of his picking crew to maximize his harvestable crop. A big problem with cherries is that they split easily when overheated - which is why they are picked at cooler temperatures - and when wet due to rain. Farmers lose their shit when it rains. A calcium spray gives them a sort of waxy protective coating so rain beads off them and they split less and helicopter is hired sometimes to dry the cherries. Then there are fungicides to prevent all sorts of rotting, herbicides are sprayed on the ground, insecticides for things like ants, fruit flies and earwigs (earwigs love cherries).

Apparently this residue is just calcium. Cherries are pretty damn white most of the time when picking which is slightly disconcerting.
This is the spray booth. The farmer caught me taking pictures and got really nervous. He started telling me that the cherries are taken to a lab and tested to make sure they meet the maximum allowed toxicity levels for consummation on the market. He assured me that his cherries meet BC standards...
but what is comes down to is that it's pretty fucked up when words like toxicity are used in conjunction with food.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

So Soft

And here comes the entourage of planting/summer photography cuz that's all I've got to show for myself art-wise in 4 months. These are some home made soft box photos taken primarily by the hand of Garrett Jones and assisted by myself truly with the occasional guest shot. We just captured everyone in the moment around the fire on one of the last nights off in Bun Shack Shit Camp. Note the special presence of our 13 year old ms. assistant cooks.







Sam Savage


Ms. Assistant Cook #1
Ms. Assistant Cook #2