Blue Agave growing in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico.

Blue Agave growing in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico.

I wasn’t always an obnoxious tequila snob. Nope. In my earlier days, I was a beer-drinking, hot-dog-eating, 8-track-tape-owning “guy behind the camera” photojournalist. I worked as a staff photographer for newspapers in Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, New York, and Minnesota.

Back in those days, the only “refined taste” I had was the ability to talk for hours about some of the hot topics of the day. Nikon versus Canon. Macintosh versus Windows. Prime versus zoom. D-76 versus FG7 and sodium sulfite. Tri-X versus T-MAX. Negatives versus slides.

Pretty exciting stuff, I know. We would actually talk about this stuff for hours, and never get tired of it. I didn’t really have any in-depth knowledge beyond photography. No wonder why all my friends were photographers. (Actually, most still are!)

But today, I rarely touch the camera. I’m usually working with photographers, helping with their marketing, their business “strategies”, and their websites. Sometimes I actually miss shooting pictures for a living, and going to places I wouldn’t normally be able to go, meeting people I wouldn’t normally meet.

Many of my friends are super talented photographers, and I am frequently blown away with what they are able to produce. In comparison, my photographic skills are fair. I’d say that they are a bottle of Herradura Seleccion Surprema, and I’m a dependable bottle of Cazadores Reposado. :-)

Blue agave pinas being steamed inside of the old-style Cascahuin Distillery in Tequila, Mexico.

Blue agave piƱas being steamed inside of the old-style Cascahuin Distillery in Tequila, Mexico.

The ever-curious part of me went to sleep when I put down the camera in 1993. I became the “guy behind the guy behind the camera.”

My first trip to Tequila in 2008 was a wake-up for that curious part. I recognized it like an old friend you haven’t seen in 15 years, yet it felt like no time had lapsed at all. I had my camera, and loved using it. It felt good when old shooting habits would come back to me. I shot so many images on that trip that it took days to edit, eventually producing a 5-minute video with mostly still images.

That trip is the start of my tequila image archive, and I’ll be dipping into it regularly here on the blog.

I’ve included two of my favorite images here from that first trip. There are many more to come, as I plan to use my camera to continuously document my ever-deepening tequila snobbery.

— Grover