Photographer Sydney

The Coffee Sack Project

The Coffee Sack Project

In my on-going obsession with refuse and cast-offs, I came across a pile of discarded coffee bean sacks at my son’s school fete whilst manning the flea market stall. The sacks had been put aside for the dumpster and I thought that they were far too interesting to be thrown out. I love coffee and not only did I find the screen-printed artwork on them compelling, I loved seeing the country of origin of the coffee beans printed on the sack.

After sitting in my storage shed for some time, I hauled these out during one of Sydney’s lockdowns and decided to create a series of moody images that pay homage to the humble coffee sack and to the origins of our lattés and flat whites. Like many of us, I have a morning ritual of making coffee and it is so easy to take this for granted. Just think for one moment that most of the beans that make up our beloved coffee are grown in far off places like Rwanda and Indonesia, picked and processed by third world workers, then transported to us in these hessian sacks to be roasted and made into our morning espresso.

To some these bags are just a by-product of coffee, at best to be destined for lining a worm farm or possibly made into a cushion for a pet bed. For me however they are a fascinating and romantic reminder of the far-off exotic places that our coffee comes from. I hope that these images in some way honour the humble burlap sack and the people who work on the plantations to give us our daily brew.

Photographed on a Phase One IQ260 medium format camera system.