Authors: gratinee blog
In my efforts to learn food photography, I have been poring over foodie magazines and websites, studying all the elements that go into creating a beautiful image. I have very clear ideas about what I like and have been working on developing my style to reflect my aesthetic. This means attempting to create images that are rustic yet elegant. A bit imperfect and deconstructed, portraying food in an honest way. I love crumbs, smears, a variety of textures. I love dark and moody scenes as well as light and pretty ones jolted through with colour. Recently, I realized that most of the photographers and stylists that I really admire hail from Australia. I have never been Down Under, but from what I understand, there is a thriving food scene in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. If the Aussie food magazines such as Gourmet Traveller, Donna Hay, and Delicious are anything to go by, I’d say this is certainly true. Despite the price, I occasionally pick an issue at the local Gourmet Warehouse because the photography is stunning. I think that it’s important when you starting out as an artist that you have models of inspiration, influences that you not try to copy, but perhaps on some level emulate in order to find your own voice. When I started writing fiction I read every Modern Classic I could get my hands on. My stories are nothing like Hemingway’s, but I certainly learned a thing or two about sentences by studying him..
So I thought I’d share some images and websites of the Aussie food photographers and stylists that inspire me the most. Some of these photographers may need no introduction to the blogosphere (ie Katie Quinn Davies, author of the highly acclaimed blog What Katie Ate) yet all of them are renowned food photographers doing incredible work in the industry. I had to include the food and prop stylists in this post as well, as the relationship between a stylist and photographer is a symbiotic one; you can’t have one without the other.
When I first saw Sharyn’s work, I almost fell off my chair. I think it’s absolutely stunning and I love the interplay of colour, texture, light and shadow. I stare at her images on an almost daily basis, trying to figure out how she has lit a shot. She has a unique style that I often recognize immediately. Sharyn is based in Melbourne but travels often, as travel photography is also a niche of hers. In addition to incredible food photography, she also shoots interiors and still lives, which are equally amazing. If I grow up, I want to be Sharyn Cairns.
I don’t know much about Chris Court, except that he regularly shoots the most amazing images for Donna Hay. He takes the simplest of foods–like the humble mushroom–and creates a work of art. Head over to his website for some outtakes and you’ll see what I mean. I think this guy is a genius with the camera. At least, I think Chris is a he.
* The opening image to this post belongs to Chris Court. Somehow WordPress didn’t want to include the caption.
Katie Quinn Davies
I discovered Katie Quinn Davies by clicking on the blogroll at 101 Cookbooks. Where had I been? I had been trolling the blogosphere for years, unaware of the gem that is What Katie Ate, which is hands down if my all time favourite food blog. A lot of people share my taste, as this is one of the most popular food blogs out there. Katie is a graphic designer turned professional photographer based in Sydney, who does a lot of her own styling and has just come out with her first cookbook. I’m still waiting for my delivery from Amazon, and I can’t wait to get my hands on her scrumptious images in print form. In addition to her regular commercial work, a monthly feature in Delicious magazine, Katie developed the recipes, styled and shot the images, and designed her book single-handedly. This woman is a machine. I think she must not sleep, like, ever.
Another Sydney-based shooter, Anson’s work appears regularly in Donna Hay magazine–Australia’s Martha Stewart–as well as every top lifestyle magazine you can think of. A former pilot, Smart trained for photography in San Francisco before returning to Australia where he shoots for some of the world’s best chefs and gets to now travel the world on advertising and editorial assignments
I recently discovered Andy Lewis while looking for some inspiration for a cake shoot I’ll be doing soon. Andy hails originally from England but has been based out of Sydney since 2008, where he has established a reputation as a food and beverage photographer par excellance. Another shooter whom I think does incredible work. Am I starting to sound effusive?
Another Donna Hay favourite (he shot Fresh, Fast, Simple–one of my fave cookbooks by her), William gives new definition the the expression “food porn”. The lighting is always beautiful, the representation of his subjects graphic and tactile yet simply rendered. The simple part is deceptive. I once tried–for hours–to shoot Caesar salad a la Willaim Meppem. Epic fail.
Deb is highly respected food stylist in Australia. If you Google her name, you will see her images have been featured in all the top Aussie foodie magazines and her stamp all over the work of the country’s top photographers. Deb doesn’t seem to have a website, but I guess it’s ’cuz in her world, she needs little to no introduction.
David is from England but now based in Sydney. He started off as a pastry chef but is now highly regarded in the food industry as a stylist. His work appears regularly in Donna Hay, Gourmet Traveller, and Delicious. He makes food look rustic yet elegant, and utterly edible. My first question when approaching a food photo is always, “Do I want to eat that?”. When David styles, it’s a resounding yes!
Glen is a highly sought out Melbourne-based prop stylist who runs The Establisment Studio with his business partner Rachael Heart. He often works with Sharyn Cairns, whose work I adore (see above). His blog can be found here. Also, check out his various projects on this page of his website.