in pursuit of imperfection
My hairdresser had a vintage Better Homes and Gardens magazine laid out in the salon recently -- it was from the mid-50s and featured a buffet spread on the cover. The magazine evoked a LOT of comments from customers -- from amusement over the advertisements of women cooing over household appliances (every one of them in heels and pearls) to utter disgust at the look of the food photos and drawings - they were unanimously declared unappetizing!
The thing is, food photography has changed drastically over the years; what we see as beautiful, delicious and inspiring is very, very different from what it once was. Lighting, focus, texture, colour -- and, more than anything, the perception of "perfection" are all approached quite differently now than they were in the past.
Food photography is big. And there are as many distinct styles as there are photographers, but some ideas seem more prevalent these days: creative use of light, distinctive backgrounds (often very white or very dark), blurs, grainy texture, and conspicuous spills, drips, crumbs or ring marks somewhere in the picture. These make the presentation look less-than-perfect, almost accidental, while giving the impression the food is not just there to be looked at, but rather that someone is actually, actively, digging in, right in the moment!
I'll link here to just three interesting food photographers to illustrate my point, but, this list is by no means exhaustive -- you probably have your own favourites too!
This past weekend, I was playing around at the cabin with some of those ideas in mind. There's so much more to consider when taking food photos... ISO, colour, aperture, shutter, composition ... the list goes on! My ultimate goal is to develop a distinct style, but it's hard to do! There are so many looks I like! Here, for now, is a sampling; the journey has just begun!