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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vision to Visuals: Building An Aesthetic

As part of a project for the Greenmarket Tavern in New York, photographer Larry Letters created a collection of images to tell the story of wine

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Larry Letters' work at the Greenmarket Tavern in New York shows the unseen side of winemaking.

There’s nothing like an economic downturn to spark the creative wheels of entrepreneurs in a city like New York. Every down cycle in this city ends with a burst of entrepreneurial innovation that leads to the new up cycle. Greenmarket Tavern, the brand-new restaurant in the Photography District, is one such explosion of culinary creativity that brings together art, environmentalism and delicious food in one plate, raising the bar for a new culinary culture in the city.

The brainchild of restaurateurs Leon Bell and Larry McIntyre and Chef John Marsh, the Greenmarket Tavern is located a stone’s throw away from our headquarters in the Photography District, also known as the Flatiron District. Bell and McIntyre are committed to creating a restaurant where Greenmarket ingredients and a Tavern atmosphere come together in an unpretentious and delicious way—a breath of fresh air in a time when the decadence and conspicuous consumption of the last decade are screaming to be replaced with artistic elegance and simplicity. The Greenmarket’s motto “eat local, drink global” sets the tone of the restaurant, which features locally grown ingredients, supports local farmers and dramatically reduces the environmental footprint of each plate of food. Carefully selected wines from around the world serve as every gourmand’s best friends at the Tavern. In addition to the unique culinary design of the restaurant, the founders have made photography and visual storytelling an integral part of the dining experience, which makes this Tavern the first fine-dining establishment in the city to connect with the spirit of the neighborhood in which it’s located.

In a nod to the Photography District of New York, Greenmarket Tavern’s brand strategists FnK Partners decided to push the “local flavor” concept of the restaurant to embrace the physical locale the restaurant lies within as well. Conceptualizing the tavern as a place of food, spirits and photography, their concept for the Tavern was to invite 20 chefs to create 20 different dishes and 20 photographers to present 20 of their images to create the aesthetic power of the restaurant.

For Duggal, to be involved in a project that celebrates the very district that we’re responsible for creating more than 40 years ago is very exciting. When I opened our first photo lab in the Flatiron District in the early ’60s, little did I know that we were laying the foundation for building the identity of an entire neighborhood that would come to be known as the Photography District. When our operations became the hub for artists, models, photographers and agencies, many photo studios and photo labs followed, and soon we had transformed the Flatiron District into the thriving Photography District of New York.

Larry Letters, the versatile photographer and musician whose work debuted at the opening of the restaurant in late January, is based in California. Choosing our Digital-C prints for printing his beautiful photographs, Letters largely has been working with our printing team from his base in the West Coast. He was chosen by FnK Partners to tell the story of wine through his unique photographs of wine country in California: “Photography is a lot like cooking. Humble ingredients become transcendent through the skill of the artist. The moment Erica Cassano showed us Larry Letters’ personal project, we had that ping! of recognition that said, Wow, this is perfect for us. Who knew grapes were harvested at night…and who knew how astonishing those images could be? Larry brings us—and our customers—a side of winemaking not often seen. It’s that kind of glimpse behind the curtain that we love to share with our customers.”


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