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Interview with Rich Gilligan, photographer and director of short film 'Kairima to Brooklyn'

Our aim as roasters is not only to source exceptional coffees, but also to shed light on the nuanced supply chain behind each cup you drink. Throughout our travels, photographer Rich Gilligan has been quietly at our side, helping document the subtle moments that complete the story. 

You traveled with us previously, to Colombia, to take photos for our first volume of Parchment. How did this trip to Kenya compare for you? 

Much like my trip to Colombia for Parlor, this was my first time visiting Africa, which for me was an incredible cultural experience. Trying to absorb it all and respond to the energy and warmth of the people while taking in the landscape was so powerful. 

Did you approach this trip any differently as a photographer? 

To be completely honest, I didn’t have time to really consider a different approach. It was a fast-moving adventure from the moment I stepped off the plane in Nairobi. I guess in the back of my mind I always have certain ideas of how I’ll try to tell a story visually, but a huge part of how I work is reactive: I need to stay flexible to respond to unexpected moments as they appear. It's almost like trying to tune into a frequency where you’re super focused and aware of the texture and atmosphere of everything around you. I feel like I completely experience a kind of flow state when working like this. Time disappears and I’m so present and engaged in my surroundings. 

Has your relationship to drinking coffee changed since you started working at coffee origins?

Absolutely. I’ve learned a lot about the whole process in general, and just how nuanced and different each bean is. It’s amazing seeing how committed Dillon and the team are to discovering the best blends and connecting with good people while doing that. I genuinely had no idea of the amount of work that goes into each cup. 

What did you enjoy most while making this film?

Personally I enjoyed just pushing myself out of my comfort zone by not just focusing on the still image. Working with moving images is relatively new to me, but it feels like such a natural progression. Getting to work with a great team of talented folks on the post-production side was also a beautiful experience. I love the collaborative nature of this work. From the editing to the sound design and final grade, it’s a really satisfying process.

Thanks, Rich!

Additional thanks to:
Edit: @ronan_a_fox & @tinyark
Grade: @thisiscolm
Music: Mmoths - Heart
Sound Design: M-U Studio
Additional thanks to: @alexdelap @j__colleran @goldteethandco