Pushcart is a Lower East Side community coffee shop that is part of a living journal, focused on the people. This model began with the owners -Jamie and Lisa- focusing on the people they hired behind the counter, many of which weren’t trained baristas at all. This human focus is the link that binds them all.
In collaboration with Pushcart, smdlr proposed the idea to virtually “touch” Pushcart’s customers, its community and the coffee community beyond by creating a visual editorial showing its baristas as people with personality and passion “behind and beyond the counter.”
Prior to each post, I’ve spent leisure time with each person, engaged in impromptu conversation with the intent to converse, commune, and to become a coffeetographer of their interests, just like I do through smdlr.com. After extracting details that move me about their personal stories, I’m imposing a visual representation of them through two photos – one occurring in the coffee shop and one outside. Thus the title of this series, “behind and beyond the counter” will capture the duality of their persona with a creative perspective.
As a coffeetographer my aim is simple – to show and tell you, a piece of their story, as its told to me, as I feel it and as I humbly hope you’ll experience it. Additionally, Pushcart’s writing peddler, Emily Strasser, who oversees the Pushcart Journal, will be writing a response to these same photos, but, from the Pushcart perspective and I’ll include a link to her weekly posts with mine. Pushcart’s commitment and commission of this work gives me the opportunity to capture these baristas as people in what we hope is a compelling summer series.
Therefore, throughout the summer, each Wednesday, I invite you to visit smdlr, scroll over the today tab, click the drop down “behind and beyond the counter” and become a little intimate with coffee culture’s own. This is our community, our people, our culture. Now, its smdlr’s pleasure to introduce to you, Chris Tyler.