There was no passion in pizza for Jake Matilsky. So he left Portland, Ore., in 2002 to pursue his longtime love: photography. Scrounging together the money he had saved while delivering tomato pies, Matilsky, then 19, backpacked around Ireland.
He met an art teacher there who had a darkroom. The two made an arrangement: In exchange for four hours of work on the teacher’s organic farm, Matilsky could live and eat with the family for free, and use the darkroom to develop his photos.
“I was traveling as cheaply as I could, and it sounded like a great setup,” said Matilsky, now a 24-year-old undergraduate at Columbia University.
Matilsky was quickly transformed from a landscape photographer into a soil-tilling, manure-transporting farmhand, and he spent a week helping to reforest County Claire. But after five days of planting trees, Matilsky’s hosts abruptly asked him to leave. He had eaten a loaf of their organic bread without first asking permission, he says. The bread came all the way from Galway. Read more…