WARNING! If you proceed any further you will be entering ‘The Dark Side’ and www.stuartpigott.de / Stuart Pigott Riesling Global accepts no responsibility for the consequences. Don’t forget that alcohol is a drug and Riesling contains alcohol. You have now been officially warned!
Although the great majority of the photographs on this blog are my own I do sometimes work with professional photographers when I know that what I’m after demands skills far beyond my own. The most important of these is Bettina Keller in Berlin who took the portrait photographs of me on the ‘I am Riesling’ and ‘Riesling Global’ pages. She also took the black & white images featured here on ‘The Dark Side’.
As soon as light comes from a particular direction (for example when the sun shines), then every object throws some kind of shadow. Then everything has a light side and a dark side in the literal sense, but on other levels too everything has a dark side. Ever since I learned of the death of Peter Klann of the Soluna Bakery in Berlin early Friday morning (see below) I have been in some kind of dark side. It feels as if it has long been there, and all that happened was that I slipped into it. Where is the light?
These strange and spooky images were the result of a long process. Between 2000 and 2009 I wrote a trilogy of books about wine and globalization which sadly only appeared in German. During the research, which took me to places as diverse as Norway, Thailand and Toronto. I collected strange objects, or rather I picked up objects which seemed to find me. The first object pictured is from the Finger Lakes of Upstate New York (thank you Frederick Frank of the Dr. Konstantin Frank estate) and the Ambootia tea garden (thank you Sanjay Bansal and your team) and both were collected in 2005. Several years later as my overly ambitious project was nearing its end I asked Bettina Keller to photograph the objects and immediately she saw them she was buzzing ideas of how to light them. The results far exceeded my expectations and made me realize how small I am as a photographer.
Who is this? Well, it is a person, a particular person that is. However, it would be unfair to Ernst Loosen of the Dr. Loosen estate in Bernkastel/Mosel to reveal who he made this voodoo doll of from a Comte Lafon cork, a piece of cloth ripped from his billfold and some tooth picks at the dinner table of a burgundian restaurant back in 2004. The interesting thing in this case is that the portrayed individual also incites other people to extreme reactions. Quite possibly there are people out there making voodoo dolls of me too though, which is a good reason to be cautious with my words more frequently than I am. Of course, that is simple everyday advice like not trying to carry controlled substances across borders.
The stuff in this bag is not a controlled substance, although it might look very much like it is. It’s actually tannin powder, which winemakers in many countries are throwing into wine to “improve” it. A small amount added to a fermenting red wine can help bind the color (technical term: anthocyanins), but this was the beginning of a slippery slope which lead to bottles of fancy red wine (i.e. red wines with fancy names and prices) containing large amounts of added tannin. The problem is that this is not declared on the label. The wine industry hates me for it but I’m in favor of ingredient declaration on all wine labels. Or is there a fundamental difference between wine and yoghurt? I don’t think there is at the sharp end of things, and that is where the consumer is because they ingest the stuff!
In ‘The Dark Side’ plenty of spooky things are lying around waiting to be picked up and you can’t hang around there for long without finding that you’ve picked up some of them. Clearly these are some very sharp teeth, but what kind of teeth are they exactly? Back in the spring of 2004 Martin Tesch of the Tesch estate in Langenlonsheim/Nahe, my “Winzer des Jahres” of 2012 in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (See Berlin Riesling Diary: Day 1), dug them up in a forest clearing close to his vineyards. They’re fossilized shark teeth and 35 million years old. Maybe ‘The Dark Side’ is even older?
See also: http://www.bettina-keller.com/