Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cannellini Bean Salad with Olives and Ricotta

Cannellini Bean Salad with Olives and Ricotta (0094) by Meeta K. Wolff

I love buying glossy food, travel and lifestyle magazines. Usually heading straight to the section where they are neatly stacked, magazine upon magazine in rows after rows, I like to take some time to browse through my favorites, setting aside two or three that will make it home with me. 

Once at home I like to study each page, every image carefully, a steaming cup of tea and a few cookies my companions, I tend to mumble to myself as I fold up the corners of those that inspire me. Color schemes, landscapes, props, angles – there is something that always catches my eye. When traveling I do the same. Tom who has been a part of my life for 13 years now knows the drill. Early getting to the airport means enough time to browse the newsstands at the duty free shops. Most ladies leave the stores with bags heavy with perfume and make-up, mine usually will contain an assortment for food and travel magazines. He knows it could be worse.

What I like about getting this international variety is that one can see the many styles, pick up on the distinct approaches the photographers took and in some cases feel the moods the images emit. Some photographers stay true to their style and one can often easily guess which photographer is behind the image, others are like chameleons and are capable of changing colors, moods and atmospheres from image to image. However, all of my favorite photographers have one thing in common: their distinct signature flows throughout each of their pictures.

Cannellini Bean Salad with Olives and Ricotta (0092) by Meeta K. Wolff

It is hard to describe photographic style as it is usually a particular aspect that a photographer uses in a way they have developed for themselves. Either a particular way light is manipulated or a specific angle, composition or setting – they will use each aspect and work on it to define and express their style. Photographic style in my opinion is also a personal thing, where the photographer puts his or her own individuality into an image to make it that extra piece of special. It is learning the valuable skills needed to create specific moods and emotions for the pictures they take. That is what makes a good photographer.

So, lately while browsing several food blogs I am beginning to wonder where that extra piece of special has gone to. Instead of seeing individuality I see Xerox copies from blog to blog, post to post. Similar props, backgrounds, angles and compositions, and the same over-exposed images. Replication and reproduction of other people’s style and regurgitating it as their own, has created a trend that suggests that this type of photography is “gorgeous photography”. It is far from it.

At the same time it is refreshing to see young budding bloggers and food photographers work hard on their own creativity and push themselves to find their own style. It is not easy to swim against the tide and finding your own style beyond the current "trends." But when you do - no one can take it away from you.

Cannellini Bean Salad with Olives and Ricotta (0098a) by Meeta K. Wolff
When Simone of Junglefrog Cooking announced a food photography challenge I was rather skeptical at first. The aim of the challenge was to take a recipe from the magnificent Donna Hay magazines, re-create the recipe and then style and photograph the dish similarly to the way it originally appeared in the respective publication.

I am sure I am not alone when I say that some of my favorite food and lifestyle photographers regularly work for Donna Hay publications. Chris Court is probably my most favorite of them all. Instantly it is easy to see why. He plays with light, color and texture creating spectacular moods, tempting one right into the image. His work has been inspirational for me throughout the past several years as I traveled my own journey through food photography. Inspirational in finding my own style not replicating his.

Simone had chosen a Chris Court image for us to interpret in our own style.

In terms of angles – the overhead angle is not my favorite. I prefer deeper images, which allows me to build the shot creating different heights and depths, making the image, in my opinion more interesting. I do like basic styling and this shot does not get any more basic in terms of props. From the looks of the original image the main source of light seems to be coming from the right between 2 and 3 o’clock and the custom white balance gives the image a bluish tinge.

I tackled this in pretty much the same way I usually begin my process. Although I analyzed the image by Chris Court, I took a step back and thought about how I would present this dish. My initial idea was styling the salad in the Weck glasses. The salad would be perfect for picnics and BBQs, serving them in jars like this are not only easy to transport but make pretty unique individual servings.

Cannellini Bean Salad with Olives and Ricotta (0090) by Meeta K. Wolff

I then moved on to the props from the original image and once again wanted to interpret it the way I would normally do. The first picture in this post uses a different angle, with a few additional props and using white balance for bright whites to make the colors in the salad pop. Finally I tackled the overhead angle. My adaptation to the image: my light is a very soft, diffused backlight and instead of creating a blueish cast I adjusted the white balance to give it a grey-blue tinge as it makes the reds and greens in the salad look wonderfully vibrant.

Cannellini Bean Salad with Olives and Ricotta (0098) by Meeta K. Wolff
The recipe itself – well yes – I made minor changes to it too. I added a pinch of cumin powder and a drizzling of pumpkin seed oil to give it an additional taste level.  

Recipe: Cannellini Bean Salad with Olives and Ricotta
Adapted from a recipe by Donna Hay

Printable version of recipe here

 Cannellini Bean Salad with Olives and Ricotta by Meeta K. Wolff

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 400g cannellini beans
  • 1 red onion, halved and then sliced
  • 30g black olives, pitted and halved
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 red chili, de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • 125g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • 100g fresh ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Method:

  1. Place the beans, onion, olives, parsley, chili, tomatoes, ground cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss gently to combine.

  2. Divide between serving plates and top with fresh ricotta.

  3. Combine both oils and vinegar then spoon over the salad to serve.

This salad tastes spectacular with a herby marinated lamb or some poached salmon.


Verdict

Cannellini Bean Salad with Olives and Ricotta (0096) by Meeta K. Wolff

The salad includes many of the flavors I love in a salad. Legumes, flat leaf parsley, red onions and to spice it up some red chili. The creaminess of the ricotta creates a sublime texture. I thought a sprinkling of cumin powder would work well against the chili and the pumpkin seed oil added a beautiful rustic taste rounding it perfectly. 

This was truly a scintillating salad and perfect for this session of Monthly Mingle. Divya is my current hostess and her theme is Scintillating Salads.

One of the most laborious task of planning the From Plate to Page workshops is contacting and convincing sponsors to collaborate with us. The process takes quite a while and at times can be very frustrating. However, reaping the positive laurels of this is seeing those who are putting their faith in our abilities as instructors and creators of this workshop and sponsoring food and kitchen items along with other kind of aid. We are forever thankful to these people and I would just like to take the opportunity to share a few of the names we have revealed this week. On our website our Tuscany Sponsor page is looking good and participants will be going home with some exceptionally heavy goodie bags.

Thank you to ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS, Sunchowder’s Emporia, Taste of Home, Gourmelli, Smaromi Spices and are proud to have OXO on board with us again. Still loving that peeler!

Earlier this week we also surprised the people waiting on our exorbitant waiting list and opened the registrations to them. On a first come-first-serve basis we were stumped that the two places we offered were blocked within a matter of minutes! I did not even get a chance to put it up on our Facebook page. Now we are a total of twelve participants and look forward to welcoming them all to Tuscany in just about a month. 

You might like these scintillating salad ideas from WFLH:

 
Warm Lentil Salad with Dried Cherries, Feta and a Herb Marinated Lamb Fillet Garlicky Marinated Halloumi Cheese with a Roasted Tomato Quinoa Salad Smoked Salmon and a Potato Beet and Cherry Salad


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2011 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

38 comments :

  1. And yes, I'm one of those lucky two people :)

    I adore Donna Hay magazine (and her books), but I truly understand your point about remaining special and unique. I think you did a wonderful job with this salad, it's really inspiring!

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  2. I love this post for more reasons than one. I adore Donna! I bought her first issue and have every single issue and cookbook. I also had the good fortune of meeting her and having a chat with her a few years ago in Sydney. She is lovely. Very recently I went on a pilgrimage to her gorgeous General Store and wiped out my bank budget. I do love the photography in her magazines, it is very inspiring. Having said that, I am quite fond of my own style which I am discovering tends to be moody, dark and quite busy as opposed to Donna's clean, crisp and blue style. I love looking at styling in food magazines but have still not been tempted to copy or recreate. I am a "gypsy" photography enthusiast, a little bit wild and pushing general norms. I go with whatever I feel when I see the food in front of me. I let those momentary emotions evoke the styling that follows. I have yet to draw a diagram and plan a shoot.

    I love the depth in your photos Meeta and the unique style. I totally agree with you when you talk about lack of originality on blogs but there are many out there that shine through the glare of overly bright processed images. Finding a blog like that always happens to be the high point in my day :-)

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  3. Hi Meeta. Thanks for writing this insightful and inspiring message.

    I agree with you on a variety of levels regarding the carbon copying of photographic content (it's everywhere - Pinterest, Tumblr, blogs, websites, etc), and how it can be frustrating and perplexing at times.

    I would say I'm a seasoned travel photographer, but honestly when it comes to food photography I've had to start from scratch, learning styling, lighting, and composition from a completely different vantage point.

    When I first started my blog 7-8 months ago (I'm one of those "budding" bloggers you mention), I felt somewhat demoralized since it seemed there were only a handful of styles I could emulate to be "seen" by others. I've since decided to remind myself that I'm still learning this new art of food photography, and if I just do what feels right for me and gain confidence along the way, I'll nurture my own style.

    All that said, I agree with Sneh above - luckily there are some beauties out there that shine through the repetition.

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  4. This is a light an refreshing salad to hold on desperately to these summer months. The weather is cooperating too.

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  5. Great discussion, Meeta, and one we discuss at Plate to Page for both writing and styling. I think when someone copies a style of writing it ends up being so glaringly fake, sounding forced and uncomfortable. When someone copies another's photo style it is just boring. I agree that there has come about an "accepted" or popular way of styling and shooting for blogs and too many people have jumped on the bandwagon. Is it because they are afraid to assert their own self and personality? Or because they have no style of their own? Is it just easier? Or do they think that it is the way they, too, will become a famous food photographer!? All I know is that when I see the same old style I yawn and leave the blog. There are many bloggers who have dared to create their own style and it shows! And most are fabulous! Copying another photographer's style is a great learning tool, but adapting their style as their own is a cop out! Thanks for this great post!

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  6. Love the post Meeta and yes, I think I cannot be repeating myself too often to say that this challenge is NOT about learning how to copy someone but is meant to understand what light does to your photograph and how styling can enhance it (or not) I truly believe that copying someone elses style is definitely a no no.. Not something I advocate on any level, but I do think that it is a great learning too to be able to 'read' an image and try and recreate the feel of a photograph. In which you ofcourse did a brilliant job Meeta!
    I love this recipe too as it's great and versatile and I love your version in the glass!

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  7. I love your approach to this Meeta and all the other shots you made for it! A very different interpretation of the challenge than I took (but then I really need the learning experience about manipulating light!), and it's great. Wonderful attitude :)

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  8. A great look at photographic styles and my feeling has always been that if an image makes you want to eat the food, than it's done it's job. It doesn't necessarily have to be bright and vibrant to do it... but the composition of the food, the plating of it... it all needs to be enticing.

    Beautiful dish here, Meeta! You can bet your butt that I'm going to be giving this a go!!!

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  9. hello Meeta! would you believe that the professor and i were having this very conversation this past weekend as we were working with a dish . . . you are correct when you say that many photos begin to look the same and uninspired. i think what happens is that when we are in the learning process of photography, we DO look at what others are putting out there and try to duplicate that . . . in order to learn . . . but therein lies the rub . . . some do not move from that place of 'learning' and out into 'growing' or 'honing your own craft' . . . we stick w/the familiar, never venturing into the unknown

    i'm not sure i've figured out yet what 'my style' of photography is, but i like to play with both light and dark images and how to create that feeling . . . although i tend to like shooting from the 12 o'clock position in terms of light but i'm still trying to find my own rhythm

    i wasn't aware of the photo challenges Simone was offering - i may have to head over and see what all of that is about - would be terrific practice!

    and finally, i too, would much rather have magazines to peruse than perfume any day!! xo

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  10. A great post. I am a regular on your blog but skip commenting. My bad. But today I had to comment because the post was so interesting. I enjoy your photography, the recipes and not to mention your writing style.

    I would like to concur with you on the thought that all blogs look the exact replica of each other and only some stand out. But you also have to understand that most of the bloggers are to find their style. They look up to professional bloggers, like yourself for inspiration. I do. Only when I learn from your images and try and recreate them in my space will I be able to understand the nuances over time. Photography cannot be learnt in a day or two or by just reading up on tutorials. It comes from practice, patience and keen observation. You would know that better. So if you see many images that look like each other, you might want to give them that benefit of doubt that they may just be trying to find their place in the food blogging world. Over time maybe they will do find that fabulous capacity to stand out from the crowd. Just like you.

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  11. Thank you for this Meeta. Your interpretation of the salad is beautiful, and I appreciate your words about how important it is to find your own photographic style. It makes me sad that currently there's a lot of copycat-ing going on...I've always tried to do my own thing and figure out my own style out instead of jumping on that bandwagon.

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  12. Like you, I rarely buy anything else than food (or food-related items) and food magazines when I go somewhere...

    I totally agree with you! It is sad to see the same style over and over. No matter how pretty the pictures are, Xerox copies tend to be boring and not refreshing.

    A great challenge and lovely pictures!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  13. Oh I am the same way when I travel, I raid the magazine stand of every food magazine I can get my hands on, there is so much inspiration there. I'm a big fan of Chris Court's work and it's wonderful to see everyone's interpretation of his image.

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  14. Interesting post. I agree with your feelings about food photography on such blogs. I also noticed an increasing amount of "style copying" right after Plate to Pixel came out. Suddenly everyone bought a worn out crate, painted it and has ingredients strategically scattered around the dish. While this is one technique that the author has had much success with, I think that many bloggers failed to make their own interpretations of her example and merely copied. She is surely not the first food photographer to use those techniques, but I do wish that bloggers would bring more of their own personality to their photography. Instead of making Tartelette replicas.

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  15. Meeta, fun post, This is my kind of salad. Love what you guys are doing with the photo challenge. A great idea & a wonderful way to practice skills.

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  16. Meetha this is very nice post. I still consider myself a newbie and I still don't know my style. I like colors and since I cannot use a colorful plate i try to add in the background! Like I told you, I like dark background but as a newbie I want my photos to be accepted by those photo site and they like only overexposed photos. It's sad ! As for your story or airport .. i am the same.. I have to check out the book stores and big at least one book or a magazine even if i have one already in my bag :) This is a lovely salad and very nice presentation!
    As for your

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  17. What a lovely read Meeta...
    I adore your website, it is so inspirational..
    I totally agree with all you said here, since I started blogging food magazine has taken a very important part in my life, it's all I buy and subscribe...
    This salad looks wonderful, lovely pictures

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  18. Very interesting points you raise here Meeta. You most definitely have a signature style which you have developed over quite a long time. I'm still on a journey to find mine but enjoying that journey immensely. I too am dismayed by the copy cat approach that is permeating the food arena and, in my opinion, stifling creativity. The aggregate food sites encourage this approach I'm sure by their formulaic approvals. The Well Seasoned Cook has started a black and white event which is bringing something new to the table and it'll be really interesting to see what Jungle Frog's round up brings. Everyone needs mentors and heroes as inspiration and I've learned a lot from my own (thanks for the white balance tips in this post btw) but let's hope this trend for blind plagiarism starts to wane soon. Oops - did this turn into a rant? Hope not! Enjoying your lovely blog as ever.

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  19. Great post! I completely agree with you! As a new blogger it only took me a month to realise that there are a couple of MAIN styles of food photography and msot blgos just follow them! I think one of the main reason for this are also website like Tastespotting and Foodgawker. Whatever gets accepted by them becomes the styple people choose!
    I am perticularly crazy about photos which are rustic, real and not too stylized. I love photos which looks like they are taken while cooking, in real settings and real lighting. It's not easy at all but I hope I can develop my own style someday!!
    Thank you so much for such a thoguht provoking post :)

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  20. First of all I want to thank you all for your honest and open comments on this post. I know it is a controversial topic to discuss and I appreciate everyone taking the time to write their thoughts.

    I understand that some bloggers / food photographers starting out are keen to develop their style and look towards the more popular or celebrity bloggers or professional photographers for ideas and inspiration. There is a difference between the two however. Celebrity bloggers are not always the norm and many of them have a style that is perfected only for their blogs. Only when these actually begin to work more professionally will their style evolve. Having said that there is a big grey area and as bloggers take a leap into professional photography the food photography scene as it used to be is also changing. In many cases this is good as in fuses a variety of styles together and there is a lot more room to play around now. However, coming back to the bloggers (and seriously it is not only “newbie bloggers”) who try to copy the styles, it is fine if what they are doing is in the process of learning but often I see that style never evolving.

    Sites like Foodgawker and Tastespotting are not the benchmark sites that set the standard of good or bad photography. Bloggers who adjust their style to fit into that standard are doing it for traffic. I submit to both sites and have also had my photos rejected. On two occasions - to prove a point and to test - did I go back to the 250 px pictures and upped the exposure in LR to a point where in my opinion it was highly blown. Those pictures both got accepted! Otherwise I do not bother with re-submission. Which I have to say really frustrated me! One of those two occasions was with the macarons in my previous post. In the post itself I left the original shot. It frustrates me because it is suggesting that such a style is the only way to shoot.

    Regardless of these sites it is important to stand up to ones own creativity and stay true to the style you want to create.

    The journey is longer and sometimes more frustrating but having taken the same route I know it is more satisfying because I have had the exceptional experience of learning the ins and outs and the techniques that have helped me develop this style I posses today. And that is something I really would like all those who have a genuine interest in experiencing too.

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  21. I agree that a lot of food photography is starting to look a little similar - but there are a refreshing number of people doing things differently. So I don't think we need to despair just yet!

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  22. Gorgeous salad and interesting photography tips .. thank you !

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  23. I just finished reading every single comment (something I don't usually do). It seems like you hit on a hot topic. I see myself in many of those words. As someone who is just foraging into food styling on my blog (I got tired of my food not showing off my great recipes), I do find myself experimenting by looking at sites like yours, reading books (including Plate to Pixel) and trying to capture that same feeling. The intent is never to copy a "style" but when someone hasn't developed a style yet, there is probably some unintentional mimicking (it is the biggest compliment).

    I do agree about Foodgawker and Tastespotting, they seem to prefer overexposed photos. I continue to submit my photos regardless, as it is the only place that I get feedback on my photos. I use their feedback as an improvement tool (while understanding their preferences).

    I appreciate your well thought out post, as always I absorb what you have to share and take it to heart as I try to take myself up to another level.

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  24. Great post Meeta! I LOVE Donna!! Her's is the only magazine I subscribe to and I still have every issue...lovelovelove! The photography and styling are definitely inspiration for me, as well as the recipes themselves :)

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  25. Sounds like a spectacular salad and your photos are beautiful as always!

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  26. Hi Meeta,

    This is my first time commenting on your beautiful blog, even though I've been a stalker for a while.

    I am hoping that its OK for me to comment on this issue. I am very much an amateur, both in terms of photography and food blogging. I enjoy the creative process of cooking, and writing up the recipe along with a few (amusing, I hope) anecdotes to go with it. Recently, I have begun to realise that photography plays a very important role in directing traffic to my blog, and so I have been trying to improve my picture taking skills. I feel like I've come a long way, even though I am still armed with a point and shoot.

    However, I do believe that sites like Tastespotting and FoodGawker have 'defined' a style of photography that is now assumed to be the standard. Its not my style, and I use the word loosely, but as a foodblogger I almost feel forced into using it as a template for the pictures I take for my blog. And of course, this leads to frustration, as I look at those pictures and wonder why the heck mine don't turn out like that? I mean, I know I am limited in my use of a P&S, but at the same time, the pressure to keep up to those standards, in my opinion, can put off many an aspiring blogger.

    I believe that there is a place for photography in food blogging, but at the same time, I believe that we may seem to be losing the 'food' element of it. Not all of us can afford to buy lots of props, for example, even if they are thrift shop finds. We may also be limited in terms of lighting... for example, I do get beautiful natural light in our short summer, but in the winter I have to make do with whatever I can salvage during the extremely short days. And of course, that all important element 'time'. With kids and a family all clamouring to eat, its a wonder I manage to have any food left over to shoot.

    These are obviously all teething problems, in a way, but at the same time, I find that without the pressure of 'food porn' sites, a lot of bloggers may be able to find their own style much quicker. After all, we're not making food to photograph, we make it to eat. I'd love to be able to rediscover great recipes and writing along with beautiful photography.

    I hope that I have not been too forward with my comments, and your post really resonated a lot with the way I've been thinking and feeling recently. So thank you for this!

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  27. Now, this is what I call an intelligent discussion.

    I am with Meeta's view on this. I think one can find inspirations from other photographers. but copy cat is something I would advise against.

    I remember on flickr group there is one called "Still life with". Occasionally, they would have a challenge where participants can create a certain look or feel INSPIRED from a common photo/picture/painting. I see that an excellent approach, where we can do a serious study on the subject photo, draw some conclusions and see if it works for us through practice.

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  28. Combination of flavors sounds great. I don't have pumpkin seed oil but will try it with sunflower oil instead. The photos styling looks great too!

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  29. I'm so glad you wrote this post, Meeta. Because yours is one of the first blogs I ever read (even before I had mine) and one of my favorites, even though I don't comment as much (you, as a blogger, is on my top 10 favorite blog people. Seriously).
    I have the same feeling you described when I look at several blogs nowadays - the photos seem too alike. It makes me sad, but I can understand why people do it.
    I get my photos rejected all the time by Tastespotting and the reason is pretty much always "composition" (whatever that means). But I would not want to change my style just to get accepted.
    What a great post (and delicious salad - I love DH).
    xx

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  30. @Patricia, how interesting. I submitted a couple photos to Tastespotting too, just to see if I could get some feedback... got rejected and the reason was 'composition' for all of them. Not much in the way of feedback. I've just given up now, I go my own way :-)

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  31. dear meeta

    i am commenting for the first time on your blog. i have visited your blog a few times and have been a silent visitor.

    i am in agreement to what you say. i think for food bloggers, it matters a lot if their photos are accepted in tastespotting and foodgawker, as it means many page hits and also a psychological acceptance in a way.

    i have had many of my pics not accepted. initially i would think that my pics were not accepted since i have a point and shoot camera.

    lately, i have also had many of my pics not being accepted in foodgawker and the primary reason would be underexposed/low lighting. and i would be like... hey whats it with you dude? can't you see the beauty in the photos?

    i love dark backgrounds and shadows in food photography. it makes my food pics appear real. inspite of all these, i decided to stick to my own creativity and allow my food pics to get rejected. i still have a long way to go and am evolving & nurturing the tiny spark of creativity in me.

    when i sometimes glance through the pics on both the sites, they all look same to me. i also would wonder where the creativity is gone. everybody using more or less the same props, the same angles.. same.. same :-(

    i feel one should explore one's own creative genius rather than copy or imitate someone else's work. but i also understand the reasons for things being the way they are.

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  32. I am absolutely impressed by the stunning photos! By the way, the recipe is absolutely the kind of salad I enjoy a lot.

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  33. Can't say I do "the over-exposed image stylee" - I've tried and it just doesnt work for me. INstead I've gone for a 'gastro-pub look' (well thats the intention) so I hope I'm getting a little individuality in my images.

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  34. Oh and I should perhaps add that this style of mine does not go down well at all at Tastespotting and foodgawker; and frankly this is a sign that they really don't have a clue...

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  35. OK, I am going to try commenting one more time... after Blogger swallowed to loooooong comment I left after Jamie's last week :(( So - here goes, and I am going to duck down to avoid flying missiles!!

    I think that we need to remember people's natural talent for mimicry. This is, after all, how our brains are hardwired to learn, how children learn to speak etc etc: we copy other people. I think to say that you should look at loads of pics and then magically come up with your own style is a trifle unrealistic for those of us who are not hugely visually gifted. Almost all of us started out in food photography doing something a little bit like somebody else and then maybe tried something that looked a little bit like somebody else and eventually figured out from there what works for us personally. Also, most food bloggers starting out with their little point and shoots but having read nothing about photography, light and colour theory can spend hours looking at beautiful professional photos and still be left none the wiser about how to achieve the effects. The only way to see how an effect is achieved is to try and copy it and see what works and what doesn't. So I don't think that initially copying another's style is a bad thing as such. I STILL sometimes look at a photo and say "hahaha - I look like I am channeling Ilva/Andrew/Meeta/Keiko today" - I am not consciously setting out to imitate, but they have all influenced me and it is understandable that this will sometimes show in pictures.

    However, that said... I think what we SHOULD be taking issue with is the idea propagated by some that there is a defined standard of what successful food photography SHOULD look like. There is most certainly a fashion at the moment - vintage props, fairly busy compositions (with strewn props and ingredients, artfully crumpled cloths, etc etc), and overxposed (or desaturated) photos. And as people have mentioned, sites like Foodgawker and Tastespotting with their very particular criteria create the impression especially with newbies that their way is The Right way and any other way is wrong. Of course, there are such things as good and bad photos - nothing can fix an out of focus or hopelessly underexposed image. But within the range of "good photos" there is such a vast scope for individuality and creativity which people need to explore more. I think people DO try to comply with the aggregator sites' criteria in order to get more traffic; and they do copy the style of successful bloggers in an attempt to capture some of their success. And that is simply the nature of blogging (and humanity!).

    Like all fashions, the current fashion for twee, overtly feminine, overexposed images won't last for ever (think of oversaturated 70s food photography - not much of that around any more!!). So although I do not have a problem with SOME imitation on people's journey to an individual style, rather than trying to only imitate the look that happens to be popular at the moment, people need to equip themselves with the skills to be more than just one-trick ponies.

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  36. Thanks so much for all your feedback. I love this very open and honest thread and found your thoughts very interesting to read. I also understand that those starting out look towards other more seasoned photographers for guidance and inspiration, which I totally respect and also think is a good way to learn. It is just important to realize the difference between being inspired and then creating it in your own way and simply sticking to a copied style. That crushes any talent one might have.

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  37. Yumm! This looks fabulous. I'm going to make this tomorrow for lunch with a slow-roasted lamb leg.
    If it is even half as tasty as your biryani recipe that I made last week, I will LOVE it!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Victoria Allman
    author of: SEAsoned: A Chef's Journey with Her Captain

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  38. Hi Victoria, Lovely to hear from you and so glad my biryani went down well :o) I love hearing feedback or critique about the recipes. Hope you enjoy this salad - it really is a great, easy and great tasting one from Donna Hay.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta