Milan, 20 September 2016 – In Indonesia, the magical waters of Lake Tanjung seem to be mirrored in the lips of a coffee grower. Instead, in Sri Lanka, the valuable kitul palm loses itself in the features of a molasses harvester. And in India, thousands of Kotagiri bees almost seem to be interwoven with the marks and wrinkles of an elderly hunter of multi floral forest honey. The magic of the “geography of faces” plays a key role in the 2017 Lavazza Calendar, “We Are What We Live”, which, created in collaboration with Slow Food, exalts the symbiotic relationship between humans and their environment, between the Earth Defenders and nature, plants and crops.
From India to Laos and Vietnam, from Sri Lanka to Indonesia: the 2017 Lavazza Calendar, under the creative direction of Armando Testa, stops in Southeast Asia for the third chapter of the photography project of The Earth Defenders. After Steve McCurry’s pictures in Africa (2015) and those of Joey L. in Central and South America (2016), the French photographer Denis Rouvre explored the faces of the Asian Earth Defenders, just as he probed the depths of the environment in which they live and that they defend daily with love and energy. Their sacrifices and dedication make it possible to improve the living conditions of the local communities and fight against the new threats of climate change.
Part humankind and part environment: the Lavazza “We Are What We Live” Calendar is composed of 12 sets of photos displayed side by side. On one side is the face of a man or woman laid bare, portrayed in their essence and naturalness. On the other is a place, a landscape, that represents the environment in which they live and the nature they work. In Rouvre’s pictures it is as if the two halves — humans and the environment — were overlaid and shaped each other: each portrait is also a landscape and each landscape ends up being a portrait.
“We are what we live. At the centre of the 2017 Lavazza Calendar there is the physical bond, the symbiosis, between humans and their environment. One cannot prosper without the other,” comments Francesca Lavazza, Lavazza Board Member, “and the two are tied so profoundly that they share satisfactions, suffering, bad weather, sweat. In this third chapter of The Earth Defenders project, along with Slow Food and photographer Denis Rouvre, we went to Asia. Here nature explodes in all its exuberance, and what clearly emerges is the mutual relationship of defence and safeguard linking farmers, breeders and the environment around them. It is a great lesson for all of us, but above all an invitation to respect and take care of the land, to ‘live’ it and learn to love it.”
The Lavazza “We Are What We Live” Calendar will be featured during the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2016 (Turin, 22–26 September), the eleventh year of this bi-annual international wine and food event, which marks the twentieth anniversary of the collaboration between Lavazza and Slow Food. The Calendar will be sold in a limited edition to support Terra Madre and it will be possible to visit the exhibition devoted to the three years of The Earth Defenders project free of charge (“Lavazza Space” of Turin’s former Stock Exchange at Via San Francesco da Paola 28). This is a photographic journey that, through Lavazza projects and the Slow Food Presidia, celebrates the modern heroes of the earth of three continents, people committed to nourishing the planet in a fair and sustainable way.
“There is a difference between residing in a territory and actually inhabiting it. Inhabiting has a deeper meaning that involves not only our material relationship with a place, but also — and above all — an intimate social, cultural and spiritual bond between humans and their environment,” explains Carlo Petrini, Slow Food President and Founder. “Inhabiting means having a small world at heart, it means worrying about maintaining the balance so it remains beautiful, clean, harmonious and welcoming. With The Earth Defenders project, we are serving as spokespeople, along with Lavazza, for many excellent products that humanity and the local communities cannot afford to lose. Talking about coffee cultivations in Indonesia, and sea salt or multi floral forest honey in India means talking about people’s lives, about the life of the planet.”
The author of the 2017 Lavazza Calendar is the French photographer Denis Rouvre, winner of numerous international awards (including World Press Photo 2010, 2012 and 2013), and known to the general public for his work among the survivors of the tsunami in Japan. Rouvre comments, “During the trip to Southeast Asia, I clearly felt that the environment there directly forges the lives of these men and women who work and protect their land every day. The environment forges their character and models their faces. It is this symbiotic relationship between people and nature that I wanted to explore in the 2017 Lavazza Calendar, through the formal juxtaposition of two images: on one hand, the person’s portrait, without any frills or artifices of any kind, and on the other the environment in which they live and work. I am proud that I had the chance to explore the stories and lives of these Earth Defenders and bear witness — through the technique of the ‘geography of face’ — to the way the future of the Earth goes through respect and the daily work of those who cultivate the land.”
Michele Mariani, Executive Creative Director of Armando Testa, comments, “The theme we thought about for the 2017 Calendar, ‘We Are What We Live’, is a profound reflection on the relationship between people and the places they live in, on the love and respect for their land. It is a further development of the project dedicated to our Earth Defenders. After the intensity of Steve McCurry and the freshness of Joey L., we turned to Denis Rouvre because we were impressed and inspired by his way of working by subtraction, of distilling emotions, eliminating the superfluous and putting us before these people in a strong and direct way.”
Lavazza and Slow Food invite all citizens to become Earth Defenders, visit the Calendar2017.lavazza.com site and support the Earth Defenders through social media with the hashtag #EarthDefenders.