Chris Crisman Photography

Wired UK: MIT CityFarm

chris crisman wired uk MIT City Farm Caleb Harper urban farming

It’s hard not to get excited when the editors at Wired UK reach out for us to shoot a story. Whether we’re subjecting photo assistants to spins in a centrifuge, photographing Sir Richard Branson, or working with cutting-edge brain scientists, we always walk away from every assignment with awesome images as well as a much deeper understanding of what we were assigned to shoot.

Our latest shoot for Wired brought us back the the veritable Boston brain-trust know worldwide as the MIT Media Lab. Specifically, we were headed up to Boston to meet and photograph Caleb Harper, the founder lead researcher of the MIT CityFarm. We spent a few days with Caleb and his team, making crazy images, keep reading for more…

crisman_wired_uk_MIT_city_farm_010

Really, it’s all about the plants – fruits and vegetables to be specific. Now it’s not every day that we shoot still-life for an assignment, but when the subjects are grown with hydroponic and aquaponic technology so groundbreaking, it is hard for the result of all that tech not to take center stage.

chris crisman wired uk MIT City Farm Caleb Harper urban farming

The role that LED’s play is so huge that you can actually see the entire  CityFarm lab glowing from the MIT Media Lab all throughout the night. Nevermind how we managed to get access for this killer shot, despite a few locked doors and construction sites. Let’s just say that when the bright minds at MIT put their brains to a problem, they almost always solve it. And in this case allow for some killer photos.

chris crisman wired uk MIT City Farm Caleb Harper urban farmingchris crisman wired uk MIT City Farm Caleb Harper urban farming

We also made use of the LED technology used to grow the plants in order to shoot some crazy portraits of Caleb Harper, the founder of CityFarm. Just to throw a pretty geeky tech fact out there – that quality degradation you’re seeing in the two shots above isn’t from jpeg compression, it’s from the entirety of the light waves coming from the red and blue channels with no green to balance it out – our cameras sensors couldn’t totally handle the wavelengths of light. Geeky? Yes. Pretty cool also? You bet.

chris crisman wired uk MIT City Farm Caleb Harper urban farming

And it’s always great to have subjects who are up for anything. When we asked Caleb if he’d pose with one of his plants for a portrait, we didn’t expect to get the shot above – sometimes it you just need to throw a plant onto your subject’s face to make a good portrait. The best part about this shot? It ran full page as the TOC in Wired.

chris crisman wired uk MIT City Farm Caleb Harper urban farming

chris crisman wired uk MIT City Farm Caleb Harper urban farming

As always, we owe a big thanks to the accommodating folks at the MIT Media Lab as well as Caleb and his team of researchers at MIT CityFarm. Sometime in the very near future you may just be eating a fruit or vegetable that the CityFarm is partly responsible for…

Questions? Comments? Let us know below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!