Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Every new photography class presents interesting challenges; learning about the instructor's philosophical approach to capturing the visual world, what is important to him/her, and what is unacceptable subject matter (pets, flowers, babies, and ceiling fans). This class is no exception, and has had me hitting the streets for new ways of looking at the same materials that have been around since photography was invented.

This week's mission? Abstract images in which you cannot discern what you are actually looking at, with emphasis on color, line, and texture. What works for you? What doesn't? Why?

Foodie with a Camera

A few weeks ago, when my sister visited from out of town, we went out for brunch at Le Chatelaine. When the waiter brought our food, my husband sat patiently, warning my sister not to touch her plate until I was finished taking pictures.

Yesterday, my friend Sharon shared a story from the New York Times on this growing trend of food photography. And food blogging. And flickr groups based on food photography. The article mentions several groups I have heard of, and I count seven food photography groups of which I am a member, if you count farmer’s markets among them (I do). I've been following Jen at SimplyBreakfast for years now. I swap photos of food with friends on Facebook; it’s like sharing a virtual meal, bonding over a common appreciation of flavor. I photograph food because I really, really like it.

The article suggests that this trend can be taken to unhealthy heights, not unlike compulsive calorie-counting. While I admit I get a little pang of regret every time I find myself in front of a beautiful plate of food and cannot (mostly for social reasons) take a picture, I like to think that most food photographers and bloggers are practicing aesthetic skills and celebrating our most primal and rewarding sensory experience; flavors.

As Javier Garcia notes in the NYT article, “the French philosopher and gourmand Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”

What I like about food photography is that you have a visual reminder of a meal enjoyed with friends and family. Looking at it conjures not only the flavors and textures, but also the conversation and laughter shared in the moment. My favorite thing about shooting food? It doesn’t squirm or complain.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Wise Man

I read a quote the other day; the young man lives in the future, the old man lives in the past, but the wise man lives in the present. I have to agree with this philosophically, but one can't live this way all the time. It can become rather exhausting.

My husband and I received some excellent financial advice recently. "Begin with the end in mind." Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Don't I do this every day? Well, not really ... my days are far more tactical than strategic. And I think it is no different for most people just making it through each day, one small crisis or victory at a time. But we were challenged with coming up with a clear picture of what we would like the rest of life to look like. What are our mutual goals? What is achievable, and what are we willing to do or sacfrifice to achieve them?

So we went to the archives, my old copies of Cottage Living (may they RIP) to clarify our thoughts. My husband was looking at garden plans while I was pricing out kitchen renovations. (Or getting distracted by food photography.) While these approaches seem to conflict, they all fit into the grand scheme of things.

Now, to begin at the end ...

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