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The authors of The Birth of Coffee appear in West Palm Beach
By John Ferri

The authors of The Birth of Coffee will be appearing at

Barnes & Noble Booksellers (CityPlace, 700 Rosemary Ave.,561-514-0811) November 29, at 7 p.m. for a signing and November 30 at 6:30 p.m. for a  signing and exhibition at Armory Art Center (1703 S. Lake Ave., 561-832-1776.) Both events are  free.

The gourmet-coffee craze may conjure images of dot-com execs sipping overpriced espresso, but our nation's java jones has had an ironic side effect: The agrarian way of life that brought coffee to the world in the first place is  slowly disappearing.

Painstaking handpicking of beans may one day give way to mechanization, but a  South Florida couple has preserved a record of current coffee-growing cultures in The Birth of Coffee . This handsome coffee-table book features more than 100 striking black-and-white photographs of life on coffee farms  throughout the world, each shot accompanied by explanatory text.

Photographer Daniel Lorenzetti and his wife, author Linda Rice Lorenzetti, collaborated on the book as part of the couple's larger Image  Expedition project, which they began in 1990. The idea was to create what Daniel calls "visual artifacts, images of people doing things that are ceasing in our  culture: a man selling crickets at the bird market in Beijing; people herding ducks in Burma." Daniel's photographs of such scenes hang in prestigious international museums.

During one photography trip about three years ago to the island of Java, he and Linda visited a coffee farm. "We were blown away by how labor-intensive it  was," she recalls. "It captured Daniel's imagination because it was visually  stunning."

The duo gathered material for the book and accompanying photo exhibition on  subsequent trips to eight countries. A small-scale show will be on view in West  Palm Beach during book-signings next week, but a full exhibit won't be mounted  until 2002. Until then the book is available, and a portion of proceeds goes to  Habitat For Humanity in an effort to better the lives of people in coffee-producing countries.

"We try to be as conscious as possible of the fact that, when you create a project like this, you are taking something," offers Daniel. "And we wanted to  give something back."

Originally published by New Times Broward-Palm Beach November 23, 2000
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