The Washington Apple Commission brought me along on a press tour that included food writers. The trip was “Apples 101”. In depth, we learned about how much care goes into growing, picking, handling and processing both conventional and organic fruit. These babies get total TLC! Kyle Mathison, the grower show here, is the king of apples in the Wenatchee Valley.
I drove over to the coast to visit Ben Jacobsen at his production facility at Netarts Bay on the Oregon Coast. In a converted oyster farm, Ben is making some fantastic artisan sea salt. Justifiably, he and his gourmet finishing salt have become the darlings of the food and restaurant world. Plus he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. More about Ben and his products at Jacobsen Salt.
Fridays when I drive to the the studio I see the Willamette Egg truck double-parked in front of the Cadillac Cafe on Broadway. I know you’ve probably seen it too, it’s the bright yellow semi painted with eggs “rolling” down each side. Before this, I thought a truck load was a lot of eggs. Now I have an appreciation of just how many eggs travel through our regional food system every day.
The Discovery Channel was filming a television program at Willamette Egg Farm. I shot alongside on behalf of the American Egg Board. The show covered topics about the chickens are kept and how eggs are processed. I learned a few things myself: why some eggs are white and some brown, and how cage-free chickens like to stretch their legs when the lighting changes.
More than a year ago, I made a commitment to actively seek projects that resonate with what I feel inside about photography. Sure, photography consists of art and technique and the day-to-day challenges of sharing an idea with pictures. But somehow, for me, photography is more. The aspect of photography that compels, challenges and continually inspires lies in the deeper connections I forge when I explore with my photos.
I think Cathy Whims, the well-regarded chef of Nostrana, is another soul who sees beyond the day-to-day aspects of food into the deeper connections created by creating meals and by dining together. Example: the Maialata, the ancient Italian celebration of the the pig. At Montinore Estate, alongside several other of Portland’ most talented chefs, Cathy and her guests co-created the traditions of making food together, then sitting down to celebrate the bounty of their efforts.
I’m still digesting these images but as of right now, these are my favorites that convey the sense of the day as I felt it. It’s sustaining, both in terms of the body and the heart to be in the middle of a celebration that forges connection and closeness over delicious and meaningful food.
This is my absolute favorite kind of assignment because it combines everything I love in photography: portraits, captured moments, still life. It’s always a pleasure to photograph cool people doing great things in the world of food. Plus, Edible Portland’s pages always make my photos stand out. If you haven’t been there, you should definitely check out Tabor Bread.
You know a product is made with care when it’s the same guy who invents the flavors, mixes the ingredients, serves the customers and even fixes the truck when it’s on the fritz. Chad Drazin, who founded Fifty Licks, is that guy. And he cares a lot about ice cream. We met Chad for the first time when we shot some of his awesome flavors in our studio. Part two of the project was to make some images of him with the vintage Fifty Licks ice cream truck. Thanks to the pros at Little Green Pickle for rounding up some models and helping everything go smoothly. (They even brought sandwiches!)
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There’s nothing better than shooting something that is super delicious. We had such a good time shooting with Chad and his PR partner, Nora from Little Green Pickle. Chad scooped and scooped–and that meant we all got to eat an insane amount of the most scrumptious ice cream. If you haven’t yet tasted Fifty Licks yummy ice cream get yourself straight over to his super-cute truck which can be found at the Good Food pod on SE Belmont at 43rd.
It’s always fun to do a project with someone you know well. I’ve known Adam for years and have always been a big fan. Adam’s PR agency came to us with a challenge: create some stylized images that convey Adam’s approach to butchery and capture the offbeat groove of the Adam and Jackie’s restaurant. We were aiming for something on the cool, unpolished side. Definitely not the “white-jacketed chef in a meadow” approach.
Zenger Farm was the setting. Adam piled his truck with meats and produce from his local suppliers. The barns and outbuildings yielded all our other props. As the light softened in the afternoon, we shot some basics: PR portraits, headshots, a few golden images as the sun hit the horizon. But in my view, all the early shots were leading up to my favorites, like this one. The light had gone cool and omni-directional. Adam channeled a darker, groovier vibe and I think it all works.
Check out the gallery to see the progression of light during our shoot. I’ve arranged them from where we started to my favorites at the end.
This is a shot from last week – a dungeness crab processing facility. I love it when I can shoot in a reportage style and give the client a little something they weren’t expecting.
Additionally, I’ve been thinking about what I want to focus a new personal photo project on. This frame helps me zero in on what’s been gelling in the back of my mind. More on that later …