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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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