Monday, August 10, 2009
Andy Katz: Oenophilia
With his deep-rooted connection to wine country and the vineyard lifestyle, Andy Katz has staked out a successful niche capturing all aspects of these romanticized and idyllic locales
Idyllic settings abound in wine country, like this quaint scenic at the Mumm Napa Winery in Rutherford, Calif.
Katz spent two years at the Art Center College of Design in California before dropping out. “It was just the same teachers going over the same material,” says Katz. Confident he could acquire the needed skills in the real world, Katz moved to Colorado, shooting “absolutely anything that came my way—skis, black boxes, executives at their desks. The only jobs I didn’t take were weddings and bar mitzvahs.”
In 1978, he took a series of photographs for UNICEF documenting children around the world. “I really thought that was going to be my first book,” he admits. It was not. Despite shopping it around to numerous publishers, Katz couldn’t find any takers. “When that failed, I was crushed. It was really frustrating. I was young and rejected.”
South America has been a popular source for excellent vintages. Here, a woman gathers flowers for the market in Cuenca, Ecuador
Yet it was a job for a Colorado restaurateur who was relocating from Boulder to Vale that took Katz to Napa Valley and Sonoma, and propelled him into the world of wine. “When I brought him back my shots, he flipped out,” recalls Katz. “He was very connected in the wine industry and he urged me to contact vineyards for work.”
As jobs go, you could do much worse than wine country. “I love vineyards; I think they’re absolutely gorgeous,” says Katz. While he certainly captures the essence of wine country—the vines, the grapes, the production—Katz says he likes to keep the definition as expansive as possible. “If I see something interesting, even if it’s not strictly in the vineyard or directly related to wine but in wine country, I’ll shoot it. It’s valid. There’s a lot of interesting architecture around vineyards, some of it very old.
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