Creating a memorable burger shot is one of the more challenging in food photography simply because it’s like trying to improve upon what has already been perfected. The burger shot is the iconic food image that everyone is familiar with and in a lot of ways emotionally connected to. Last week, I had the chance to shoot these two as part of the latest Recipe for Health images. I always joke that I am chasing the Holy Grail of food photography and I’m anxious waiting for my chance to put my spin on that iconic burger picture. I feel like I am getting a little closer with these two shots. Closer to that burger ideal.
Tag Archives: food photography
The lovely Elyse Inamine over at First We Feast graciously asked me to be part of their “Show us you Food Porn” series and I was happy to oblige. Go check it out.
At IFBC Portland this past weekend my great friend Chef John (@foodwishes) and I gave a photography/cooking demo workshop. Hilarity ensued. Add a video camera to the mix among stolen/missing props, blenders we could not operate and the bantering of two bald smart alecs and the three hour program was a laugh a minute. The amazingly enthusiastic audience dubbed the cooking show they would like to see us do some day…”The Chef’s Jacket and the Plaid Shirt”. We also were given the monikers of “The Baldest Act at IFBC” as well as the “Oldest Boy Band” on record. Good names all. Oddly enough some video has surfaced to add some fuel to that fire. The nice folks at JennAir shot this for their website. IFBC Portland 2012
You can also check out Paola Thomas’ (@mirrormirrorxx) funny account of the weekend here.
Thanks to everyone who attended…new friends and old…and the terrific organizers from Foodista, Barnaby and Sheri.
See you in Seattle in 2013.
Photo Credit: Robin E. H. Ove (@what_about_food)
Yesterday, as I traveled back from the wedding of my friend and assistant Olga Massov, I saw a sign for a moving sale. Never being one to pass up an opportunity to find some new props I followed the signs to a back street in Marblehead, MA. Food photography offers me the opportunity to feed my addiction to beautiful objects and when you spend as much time as I do searching for such you know when you have hit a great spot. Yesterday was one of those days.
This particular sale was a melancholy moment for the family holding the sale. They had been forced to move their father, an artist and craftsman, from the home and into a facility. He had just gotten too weak to care for himself. It was a particularly hard Father’s Day for them and it showed. It was obvious that they were deeply attached to the memories that came with their dad’s stuff. He had obviously taken great care to collect these things and they were feeling a bit traitorous about selling them off.
Sometimes people ask me what I intend to do with the eclectic mix of things I buy, sometimes they don’t. Mr. Winant’s children did not ask me but instead were telling me the stories attached to each item I was interested in. Their emotions were palpable as they described the art their parents were so passionate about and how it had led them all into artist’s lives. The poet, the painter and the sculptor. I thought at that moment it might be helpful to explain who I was, what I did and what I intended to use the forks and plates, knives, linens and bottles I was offering to buy. What happened next was an extraordinary experience for me.
The family invited me inside to see their parent’s studio and their archive of works. Their mother was an accomplished water colorist, their father an oil painter. They made models and mobiles, mixed-media pieces and their own greeting cards (something their father continues to do at his nursing facility). We saw pictures of them at work together, as a family and their collections of art throughout the house. On the easel in the studio was an unfinished piece that their father had abandoned when his wife passed a few years back. It was a portrait she painted of him that he was superimposing imagery that represented meaningful moments in his life. It was an achingly sad memorial.
We stood and spoke with the family before leaving, hearing more about their father and his passions and his love of the things that kept him grounded in the familiar. It may seem odd that strangers were so willing to share such intimate details of their father but it did not feel that way. Artists are of the same tribe and I sensed that of all the people who came to that sale, this Father’s Day, the family felt that sharing their objects and their memories with us, fellow tribesmen, felt safe. I felt honored that they took us inside, not just into their home but into their confidence. I left feeling an obligation to share the experience and breathe life into their memories and use the objects they sold to me in my art. And I will. Art is a continuum and this is why I choose to use old things, things with history and soul in my work. Mr. Winant and his family are now part of my continuum and their passion and love for their art will live a little longer in mine. Sometimes a spoon is just a spoon…but sometimes it means a whole lot more.
As a father and a son I understand the emotions that they were feeling and I appreciated the love they have for their dad. As an artist it is my wish that on a Father’s Day (hopefully a long time from now) my family will pass my things along to people who will appreciate them and be inspired by them and use them to a purpose. This way for all of the Mr. Winant’s represented in my collection of things, for the love of the art and the artist, the chain remains unbroken and the soul in our creations lives on beyond us all.
I have so many reasons to want to visit San Francisco. I have been visiting there since I was 12. My uncle and mentor, George, was one of the originals of the Haight Ashbury crowd back in the late 60′s and has never left. I have wonderful friends there including Foodwishes.com’s Chef John and his wonderful wife, SFQ’s Michele and my buddy Alexis from Fearless Critic. Even my pal, former SF denizen, Pichet Ong makes his influence felt when he’s not around paving the way for great restaurant reservations and recommendations via constant texts and emails. It truly feels like a home away from home.
This visit was obviously business related and the workshops I was teaching at the terrific Contigo Restaurant went superbly. We were blessed by the weather gods and it was almost too sunny and warm to use the beautiful outdoor atrium at our venue. But all this being said, it was the reaction of the participants that was the most gratifying part of my trip.
Both our Saturday and Sunday groups were engaged, energetic and worked hard physically and creatively to make great pictures.
Both groups embraced the difficulties of shooting ugly foods, absorbed the information I was sharing about the business of photography and stood tall during the critiques of their work at our conclusion. This last part may have been the hardest and most daring. Consider handing over your card of unedited, unprocessed images to be critiqued by a teacher and group of other photographers. The thought of it even makes me sweat. I applaud their willingness to grow and learn and put ego and self consciousness aside for the sake of their art. Bravo!
One of our participants, Paola Thomas, wrote a terrific breakdown of what we did on Sunday and included her shots and how they were related to what we were learning.
Some of our other shooters were:
Stephen from Kitchen Beard
Natasha from Non-Reactive Pan
Irvin from Eat The Love
Annelies from La Vie En Plat
Anonymous SF Food Blogger Tummy Morsels
Kimberley from Edible San Francisco
Johanna from Low Sodium Blog
Marjorie from This Is My Dinner
Stay tuned for our next event scheduled for late June in Seattle and my debut workshop in my newly refurbished NY studio in July. And…don’t forget IFBC in Portland in August.
PHOTO CREDIT: Paola Thomas
On the road again…just can’t wait to get on the road again. No, I have not traded my camera for a cowboy hat and gee-tar…although I do have both…I will be in the City by the Bay May 19th and 20th to teach a pair of food photography workshops. I am really excited about these classes. They will be held at Contigo Restaurant, a fantastic venue in Noe Valley. Spaces are limited so please sign up soon if you are interested.
Please email or message me if you have any questions and visit Foodista for all of the details and sign up information.
You can also sign up by clicking on the Brown Paper Tickets button to the right.
See you in SF.
I will be teaching a Food Photography Workshop in Downtown Seattle beginning one week from today. I am being hosted by none other than the Seattle Bon Vivant herself, Myra Kohn. I will be teaching for 2 days, each class being 4 hours long (9am-1pm) and covering the outline listed below. You can sign up simply by going to PayPal.com and making a payment of $150 to firstname.lastname@example.org. I can send you the address upon registration. You can sign up for June 7th or 8th. We are capped at 15 spots per day. Some sign-ups have already happened on Twitter and Facebook but spots are available. Please email me if you have any questions.
I Discussion (1 Hour)
- AV Presentation
- Equipment, technique and approach to daylight food photography
- Styling tips and prop selection
II Practical (5 groups of 3 working together on practical shooting scenarios) 2 Hours
Food Porn Approach
Taking Table Setting Shots in Small Spaces
Graphic Depiction Approach (aka The Ugly Food Dilemma)
Difficult Lighting Solutions
III Review and Q&A (1 Hour)
Discuss Editing and Processing
The goal of these 4 hour workshops is to give people of any skill level the basic knowledge and confidence to improve their food photography. With a need for not much beyond a camera, some basic light manipulation tools and a better understanding of what makes food pictures evocative and beautiful, participants will hopefully come away with the skills to make better food pictures.
Light discs, scrims and small and large black and white cards (if possible)
Tripod (if you own one)
Any personal props you would like to style with”