Erica Knecht

Family Photography | Shanghai, China

In The Field

Travel Photography, Indonesia, DevelopmentErica KnechtComment

A while and a half ago, I had the privilege of going on an amazing trip into rural West Java to make some photographs for Java Mountain Coffee.

The kids and I traveled to Garut, which is a couple hours part Bandung, to visit some coffee fields and get to know the women who harvest the cherries that are turned into our morning cups of coffee.

It was an incredible experience, for a number of reasons. I mean, how lucky is it that I can travel on a work trip and take my kids along with me? How fortunate that I get to see so many corners of this beautiful country and share with my children the experience of escaping to the lush green countryside, away from branded handbags, shopping malls, and incessant traffic? 

How amazing that I get to see vistas so beautiful that they almost break my heart? 

Meeting the women who harvest coffee cherries for a living was also totally eye-opening. These women (and here it's always women who harvest while men stand to the side, oversee the work, and collecting the profits) they work in the fields from just after dawn until about noon. They pick kilo after kilo of ripe red cherries, broken gloves offering a modicum of protection to their hands against stings and insects. They carry heavy loads on their backs using batik slings to balance the weight. They climb into trees and harvest cherries. They work and work and  work and are paid about three dollars per day. The harvest is seasonal and when it's done, so is the work and the money.

Anyway, it was incredible this trip. What a privilege to work with companies committed to trading fairly and helping hardworking women to make a fair wage.

Here are some pictures if you'd like to see. 

I'm always, ALWASY up for interesting projects in rural Indonesia. If you or anyone you know is working on a development project and want to make some pictures of your work, get in touch. I'd love to collaborate. 

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