I was going to run this for my new Outtakes column on Diner’s Journal but I was a little late. Glad to be able to share it here.
With a subject as simple and somewhat monochromatic as this Turnip Slaw by Melissa Clark , published earlier this month, it helped to take an all or nothing approach. White on white on white may seem like it has little to offer on the surface but when you begin to see the subtle variations in color, light quality and tone it can make for a beautiful study. The image that ran with the story is a more traditional approach to food photography where this effort is more of an indulgence. I am inspired by the cover paintings of Cook’s Illustrated and seek to make my own art in that vein whenever possible.
By adding the bold architecture of the bottle and grinder and to the image and by keeping the depth of field very shallow the image took on an ethereal quality that I found very appealing. Also, the fold in the napkin gives the overall composition a lived in look, less fussy and formal. The distance from the viewer is intentional, meant to give the illusion of having to stand back and look at the spaces around the shapes. It did not surprise me that this was not the image that ran with the story because this is more about form and shape rather than food but making pictures like this is an exercise in being versatile and following your influences as an artist.