January 28, 2010
Bruno Debas of the PhotoInstitute, a photo education site, recently did a 30-minute podcast interview with me. I found myself talking about my philosophy and approach to food photography, as well as my beginnings. I hope some of you find it interesting. Here’s an extract:
The success of a picture is when it makes you hungry. To make you say, Wow, I really want to eat that! But beyond that if you could take one step back, you could admire the photograph from an aesthetic point of view, and you could say, that’s as beautiful as a painting — that would be a secondary success. When you think about a food photograph, and how do you make it cause a visceral reaction in the other person, what you’re really saying is, I have a two-dimensional piece of paper (the photograph) and how am I going to make those things happen in the viewer? Smell and taste are not possible, and motion is not possible. So what it really comes down to, the things the food photographer needs to bring out in the subject in order to make this food tantalizing, and something you would crave, those things are an intimacy, which means getting in close, like you’re right there. Those things are seeing moistness, a little bit of glisten. Seeing texture, which is why we almost always use some form of back-lighting. And occasionally you get the sense of motion that’s not really happening, but it’s almost happening, like a drip of something that’s about to drip off. And then color. So if you do an exercise with yourself, and ask what can I do on this little piece of paper that will make people look at it and get hungry, it really comes down to just those few things, what we just talked about. If you think about all those things, I think you will get a good picture.
To listen to the whole interview, go to the Podcast. Can you tell I had a cold that day? 🙂