Portland Drink Photographer- Mimi Casteel

Meet Mimi Casteel. Imbibe’s Wine person of the YEAR! I am always thrilled to be a part of Imbibe’s publication, as you all know, it’s my favorite magazine. (And no, I’m not just saying that… I freaking love all things liquid.) And yes, I enjoy photographing cocktails, they are beautiful and make people happy. But- what’s even better is photographing people that are making a difference in the drinking culture and the world as we know it.

I say this all the time, but I am not a writer. ( I wish!) So I cannot do justice to what Mimi Casteel is doing in the wine industry with my words… hopefully, I brought to light what she is doing through my images… because that’s my job. I LOVE listening to the people I photograph, even if I’m asking naive questions. And yes, I am EASILY distracted… ooh, look at that pretty light. (Visual people, am I right?) I cannot repeat all the wonderful things Mimi taught me or explained to me while on our shoot…but I can sum it up… she’s a badass. She is a “vocal proponent of regenerative agriculture- a holistic farming practice that advocates no tilling, no irrigation, and the preservation of wildlife- Casteel believes that farming methods have the potential to help us confront looming ecological crises.” Badass. Mimi believes that if farmers managed the privately owned land in a different way that they (we) could change everything.

I didn’t understand completely everything Mimi explained to me. And that’s okay. I didn’t need to comprehend every word to understand what she is doing, and what she is trying to get others to do is fantastic and will help our future state and world. Definitely pick-up the Jan-Feb issue of Imbibe, a.k.a “The Imibie 75” to see what Mimi and others like her are doing for our beloved drinking culture.

On a photographer’s note… This is rare, but the image that ran in Imbibe was literally the first image I took of Mimi. Some photographers would sit and ruminate over the idea that all that time I spent with Mimi was a waste. I could’ve taken that one shot and been done. But I would’ve missed out on listening to Mimi’s story… I would not have met her pigs nor would I have heard Mimi talk so fervently about her compost pile… and then witnessed her climb into the pile and scoop our a huge handful of soon to be dirt. I also would not have met the Michaels, her alpacas. And yes, the plural is correct- all her alpacas are named Michael. All to say- every once in awhile you nail it on the first shot. But never give up there… even if it’s purely for your own education. I hope you enjoy ALL the other images I shot while on assignment.

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How light is pursued and captured is a photographer's constant challenge and perpetual joy.