The Story of Cochineal, photographed with Rebecca Stumpf for Knit Wit

This spring, I teamed up with my friend, fellow photographer Rebecca Stumpf and we traveled to the Canary Islands in search of cochineal. Cochineal is an insect, grown only on cacti and harvested to create hues of reds and pinks. Discovered nearly 200 years ago in the Canary Islands, the islands quickly controlled 90% of the production, generating much of the economic energy throughout the Spanish colonies.

“Cochineal is very important in the Canary Islands. It is our most traditional crop and is in danger of extinction.” Farmer Lorenzo Perez Jr. told us. “Most cochineal farmers are in their seventies or older, the young generation isn’t working in cochineal or as artisans or small producers.” Their company, called Canaturex, is the only cochineal farm certified by the EU. They supply to textile companies and independent artists primarily, but cochineal is also used to color meats, yogurt, ice cream, artificial crab, chewing gum, sweets and beauty products.

Many told us that cochineal was a part of the islands. So, photographers enamored with color and landscapes, we set out to learn more. Rebecca and I met with cochineal farmers, a natural dyer, artist, and activists to learn about cochineal's past and present. The story is now in the latest issue (the last print issue!) of Knit Wit. 

All images © Greta Rybus for Knit Wit

Julie O'Rourke photographed for Cup of Jo

Cup of Jo, a beloved blog with substance run by Joanna Goddard, has an ongoing column about women and their everyday style. They recently featured Julie O'Rourke, designer and founder at Rudy Jude, and I was thrilled to take some images in the tradition of street style. Julie shared some of her own designs and favorite pieces, and how she wears them into her pregnancy with her second child.

Images © Greta Rybus for Cup of Jo

Abdi Nor Iftin photographed for Boston Globe Sunday Magazine

I was first introduced to Abdi Nor Iftin’s story through “This American Life.” The episode, called “Abdi and the Golden Ticket,” chronicled his experience fleeing war and violence in Somalia, only to end up ending up in one of Kenya’s poorest slums. Abdi’s greatest dream was to become an American, and after years of trying, he beat all odds and was given a U.S. visa through a lottery system. The episode ended when Abdi landed in America, here in Maine. He’s since wrote a book, named “Call Me American” which will be released in June. To accompany an excerpt from his book in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, I photographed Abdi at his home here in Maine.

Read the excerpt here

All images © Greta Rybus for the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine

India Part One: Kerala, from Varkala to Kochi

I've dreamt of exploring India for years. When I got the opportunity to explore Southern India for Lodestars Anthology, I started to envision a big trip: up North to Rajasthan, perhaps even making my way to Sri Lanka. As I learned more and began my planning, it quickly sank in how enormous and diverse India is. It was impossible to see it all. So, I shifted my thinking. I began to see this trip as the first of many, and decided to focus my time solely on Southern India. First, I explored Karnataka for my assignment (I'll share those images soon!), then flew to Kerala for a week or so of surfing (correction: learning to surf), exploring, and photographing. 

All images © Greta Rybus


Fresh images for Drifter's Wife and Maine and Loire's new space

One of the reasons I love living in Portland, Maine is that it's become a city where people can create new, concept-based spaces and grow. Drifter's Wife and Maine and Loire, run by Orenda and Peter Hale, are a restaurant and wine shop based on natural, simple, and beautiful processes and ingredients. When they expanded into the (much larger) location next door, they created a space with a new, cozy feel. New images of, and for, Drifter's Wife. 

Images © Greta Rybus

Mya Henry photographed for Apiece Apart Woman

"I woke up one day and sensed I was not on the right path. I require a level of spontaneity in my life — I needed a sense of excitement, adventure, and quality that I wasn’t experiencing anymore after 13 years of city life. I’m a strong-minded individual and not afraid of taking a risk. That’s why the notion of picking up, moving to a foreign place, and starting from the beginning would seem crazy to most...yet these are the moments when I feel most alive and empowered." - Mya Henry

Mya Henry and her husband moved from her home in New York City to open their restaurant, Hartwood, in Tulum, Mexico. The restaurant sources all of its ingredients from farms, fishermen, and other producers in the Mayan Riveria. 

Photographed for Apiece Apart Woman, interviewed by Leigh Patterson. Read the full interview here. 

© Greta Rybus for Apiece Apart 

Julie O'Rourke photographed for Apiece Apart Woman

"I grew up on a rocky Downeast beach, some of my earliest memories are of getting my feet stuck in beach clay, or the feeling of accidentally scraping my toenails on the pavement while walking home barefoot. I can easily recall the way light moves through tall spruce trees, or what it feels like to step on a fresh moss sponge, I can smell lobster boats without thinking. I can actually conjure up the smell memory of every boat I’ve ever been on if I think a little harder. Maine is magic in this way; it sits with you, it stews in you. I 100% wear my love of Maine on my can see it in everything I make. Every item of clothing I create, color, or shape is directly connected to a memory, a smell, or a color of something right outside my door. " 
- Julie O'Rourke the creative mind behind Rudy Jude, photographed for Apiece Apart Woman, interviewed by Leigh Patterson. 
Styling by Brooke Beaney of Judith Maine
Read the full interview here

All images © Greta Rybus

Exploring Japan with Chef Kaia Harper and Foreign Familiar

Chef Kaia Sisu Harper has dedicated much of her work to understanding, teaching, and innovating plant-based food. Through her new company, Foreign Familiar, she's creating travel experiences centered around exploring a place through food and food systems, with an extra focus on vegan cuisine. I was able to document her first trip, which explored the Kyoto and Nara area's farms, restaurants, natural landscape, and the regions iconic or obscure cultural sites. 

Amm images  © Greta Rybus for Foreign Familiar

Camp Etna with writer Mira Ptacin for the Wing's brand new No Man's Land magazine

In Central Maine, a group of spirit mediums and healers– mostly women – live in a spiritualist community called Camp Etna. For an upcoming book, writer Mira Ptacin has been collecting the stories of the 135-year-old camp and the women who call it home. An excerpt of her project was just released today (along with some of my photos of the camp) in the inaugural issue of No Man's Land, a publication created by the women at The Wing, a feminist social club in New York City.

More about writer Mira Ptacin:
More about the Wing: and on Instagram:
More about No Man's Land:

All images © Greta Rybus for the Wing

Fall Adventure for REI

Earlier this year, I got to work with the dream team at REI to create imagery for their Fall 2017 Adventure campaign, now live on their website, social media, and marketing. We had a blast scrambling around the trails and plateaus of the Southwest, and I was so impressed by REI's dedication to getting people outdoors. All models were REI members or employees who all shared a love for the wilderness. 

All images © Greta Rybus for REI