It’s not unknown to you – unless this is the first time you’ve landed on my website, in which case you will either find out over the next few posts, OR do the wise thing for your general productivity and ALT + Tab + Vamoose your way back to your work window – that I love food. Yes, I know you know. And you know that I know you know.
Now here’s a dirty truth that may be unknown to most of you. Save the few who have had the misfortune of sitting across a dinner table with me. Or those few lucky perceptive and unproductive buggers who’ve guessed it because they've dilly dallied on my blogposts for far too long in the hopes that all other pending work will vanish. But yeah, if you didn't know, then now you do. I’ve often been known to spend far more time photographing my food than actually eating it.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely do eat, and savour every bite. But my posts with their dim-lit strangely-angled (whoever eats on dramatically lopsided slanting tables?) fuzzy photos often belie the level of passion that goes into capturing a bun at the peak of its floofayness. My love for photographing before a meal, during a meal, and even the scant remains after a meal, is something that at its best can be described as excessive. And at its worst, as Goddamn Annoying, to the point where my lens may have, on occasion, narrowly escaped an angrily hurled tomato or ferocious fork stab. Some would go so far as to say that my fascination with food photography is a fetish of sorts. [I know I have yet to make a point, but humour me. Pretty pictures await those who are patient.]
This fetish was recently indulged at a photography workshop, something I pulled together after being inspired by a sports photographer who had composed photos that broke the clichéd frames of swimming photography. Those underwater works of art inspired me to start looking for food photographs that were truly different, photos that transcended the worlds of food porn or pretty plate-and-napkin-styled photographs.
Sometimes the best way to break your own boundaries is to pick something super dooper simple, totally mundane, and ask yourself, how wild can I go with this? Another way to break your own mental rules is to surround yourself with fellow photographers – especially those who shoot subjects not even remotely related to what you focus on, and can inspire you to try things you'd never have thought of before. And that’s precisely how the workshop was organized. We had a pack of 12 photo enthusiasts, food bloggers as well as non-food photographers, land up at Tea Junction with their cameras. A mystery food element was unveiled. And then each person had to photograph it to death. [Unfair, you say, I had time to plan my photographs because I knew what the mystery element was beforehand? Na-uh. I tricked myself by ditching my own plan for the mystery element apples mushrooms dates by running over to the grocery and picking something totally different at the last minute before the workshop.]
And the secret ingredient was…here it comes…hold your breath…
[why do I get the feeling that my intro photo up at the top sort of killed the suspense?]
You’d be surprised at how creative you can get with something as simple as plums – look beyond the simple sphere and you’ll see shapes, textures, colors and moods that totally escape you when those plums peek out of your grocery cart. I’ve been sly enough to con the workshop participants into letting me post up their copyrighted plum photos, so I’ll stop blabbing right about now and share what came out of our three hour plum glamour shoot.
The Brain behind Black and White Brilliance..who actually decided to go full color this time...Sheban Naim, aka @shebanx. Soak in more of his soulful photography at http://shebanx.deviantart.com/gallery [Canon 500D]
Saurabh Ail, aka @calvinslogic, a self-proclaimed 'Glorified Ad Butler' and 'Sharp Lensman,' with a snazzy 50mm f1.4 lens that did our mystery ingredient proud. [Canon 550D]
Chirag Desai, aka @chiragnd and food blogger at Naihar, whose undying love for iced tea shone through in his photographs [Sony DSC H2]...and through the broken shards of glass left on the floor after he knocked over the glass a few minutes later. Woops.
Elena Jbara, the healthy and talented food blogger at Hayahelwa, whose plum-on-staircase photo makes me seriously consider why I've never thought of using vintage effects on my photographs before. Yep, even a plum can look profound in vintage. [Nikon D3000]
The charming husband and wife foodie team at Dining Dubai, Sarah and Ahmed, who sadly had to leave after an hour of plum play. But they still managed to snap up some good photos...and eat a couple plums while they were at it! (The first two are Sarah's, the second set is Ahmed's) [Canon Powershot SD 780 IS]
Chef Tomas Reger, the personal chef who made some of us food bloggers trip over with joy when he invited us to help him shoot some of his chef-ly creations. He and I jointly composed this shot, though when it came to moving Tea Junction's carrom board around, it's safe to say that Chef Tomas did the heavy lifting. [Canon 400D]
...and here's my version of the whimsical Carrom board shot [Canon 50D].
Sorry mamma, won't play with food again.
And my three solo plum shots. A touch of violence, a touch of seduction...always turning up the heat on life. That's how us fryingpans roll.