La Roya, or leaf rust, is spreading like wildfire through Central America, badly attacking coffee plants and therby affecting the livelihoods of individuals from all walks of life. This color photo essay focuses on the very hard work the coffee culture provides in and around San Pedro de la Laguna, Guatemala. Each and every one of these workers, and the economy as a whole, will take a severe beating unless a solution is soon found to this terrible airborne fungus.
I had published some of these before, in monochrome and in instalments. This is a set i put together to apply for a grant. The reportage was of a geographic/editorial character when i shot it – aiming to describe the various phases of labor intensive operations behind our daily cups of coffee. The call for entries to apply for the grant, however, explicitly asked for a report concerning a social issue. Any social issue, taken in any date, on any topic. To be told in no more than twenty pictures, carefully arranged in a meaningful sequence.
I only had two photos on the roya proper, and many on coffee production, but i’m hoping strategic placement – as the opening and closing images to the set – will help convert this into a “social” photo essay. What do you think – is this too gimmicky or might it just pull it off?
How effective was the ploy? I don’t know yet, but if i pull it off, you’ll be among the very first to know…