Last Fall, Food Arts magazine featured Castagna and Chef Justin Woodward in its annual Menu Preview issue. What a treat it is to photograph such well-considered food in an incredibly beautiful space. And what sad news to hear that after 25 years, Food Arts is no more.
Last Spring the art director at Wine Spectator called me to shoot Charles Smith of Charles Smith Wines, K Vintners and other brands. She reached out to me for their feature because she was confident I could handle Charles’ larger-than-life personality and still come home with the goods. He’s an ex-concert promoter with a bit of a wild side. Over two days in Walla Walla, we shot Charles and his team in four locations, including his home cellar and brand new tasting room. The tasting room is a gorgeously renovated historic building with spectacular light and really cool steel walls. Shooting Charles was a bit of a challenge. I understood that he wasn’t going to let me push him too hard, but rather, I needed to be intuitive about how to let him “lead” but still get the kinds of images that I wanted to make. My favorite of these is the portrait with the steel background. It’s graphic and arresting–like the man himself. Total dream assignment.
Great partnerships make for great work. Here, friends at USA Pears brought me in to create a shot with the insanely creative team at Ox Restaurant, Gabrielle and Greg Denton. The dish features their pear prosciutto, foie gras terrine, pickled chanterelles and malted white chocolate on top for good measure. (yes, it tasted outrageously good!)
Creating the photograph together was like a performance piece: Greg ad-libbing the presentation and me quickly responding with the lighting & camerawork. There was a “moment”, and then it was done.
And congratulations to Gabrielle & Greg for their upcoming cookbook project with Ten Speed Press – it’ll be great for sure! Keep your eyes peeled for it.
Gotta love being brought into a great little project like this: Genius Chef Chris Diminno, beautiful restaurant, and The Mushroom Council all partnering through Plate Magazine to talk about mushroomy goodness With Portland’s top tastemakers. It’s super fun to create a little mood around a simple idea.
The Davis family naturally embodies the lifestyle many of us would love for ourselves. For them it’s all about being together, cooking together and every Fall, making apple cider together from the small orchard on their family farm in gorgeous Eastern Washington. Just being there, photographing, and experiencing their traditions caused me to reflect and more greatly appreciate my own family and the seasonal foods that bring us together.