Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Shooting food

Guest blogger CRAIG CRANKO photographed the food for Pnina Jacobson and Judy Kempler's  One Egg is a Fortune - the cookbook full of heart.

The brief for One Egg is a Fortune was fairly open.  The challenge was to produce original images that were quirky and fresh, while at the same time reinforcing the concept of the book, which focused on interesting people sharing their lives and loves through food that they have cooked or loved.

We decided to use natural light instead of studio flash. This, of course, leaves the results a little to chance, as the light changes according to the weather and the time of day, but it also helps give a stronger sense of place.

The idea of found objects, authentic homemade food and a sense of the contributors’ stories was a great starting point to give each image it’s own personality. Judy and Pnina  raided their own cupboards as well as the cupboards and homes of friends. They came up with all sorts of knick-knacks with enthusiastic abandon. In the end we decided to let the food speak for itself, with just a touch of a prop here and there.

The wonderful stylist Michele Cranston and I spent hours playing around with objects, colours and textures. She found inspiring  things to include in the shots, like  the old piece of a Victorian pressed-tin ceiling that we used in the kichel shot. 

I thought the old pickling jar containing Granny Bee’s pickled vegetables added just the right mouth-watering touch to the image. 

I was particularly partial to the native violets on Mitzi’s chocolate cake. But then I think there’s not much in the world that can’t be fixed by chocolate.

Creating  images for a cookbook is teamwork. It’s rare that you get such a committed, and sympathetic team as what we had in our various sessions in the studio. Sometimes the light worked against us, other times the food didn’t perform as we expected. Ultimately, the shared vision, accompanied by lashings humour and playfulness helped us along, doing what we love. You can’t ask for more than that. 

The fact that One Egg is a Fortune has gone on to win international awards is, for me, just the cherry on the cake. 

Craig Cranko is a Sydney-based photographer. 

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