White on white. Ever since I’ve been excited by making photographs, I’ve been intrigued by the tones on either end of the brightness scale; the brightest whites and the darkest backs before those tones slip off the scale and leave the rest up to your imagination of what’s there.
When I first became aware of the vivid colors and compositions that Chef Sarah Pliner deploys at Aviary, I was inspired to shoot them on the brightest white I could make, to really let the food pop. I love that the only colors that you see are what’s in Sarah’s beautiful dishes.
The Levant is a geographical area around the Eastern Mediterranean, (see wikipedia) and also in this case, a red-hot restaurant in NE Portland. Chef Scott Snyder calls upon family history (Scott is surrounded by them while he cooks – see the portraits above him) and the flavors of the Levant; think warm spices, sumac & mint, surrounded by wood smoke and totally awesome.
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.
When Tasting Table called to photograph Mika Paredes, Chef de Cuisine at Beast, I jumped at the opportunity. Mika is super cool, super nice and oh yeah, she has a look that I see as a beautiful combination of tough and soft. Shooting with her was going to be awesome, and I loved creating a mood through the lighting that reflected her look, her aura. You can see Mika’s recipe and the other featured Sous Chefs on the Tasting Table site here.
We worked with our friends at NORTH to create this poster image for Portland Dining Month. I loved collaborating with them to create a fantastical, whimsical image to convey the adventure that is Portland’s dining scene. We’re so psyched to try as many of these awesome restaurants as possible. The special offer is a great way to be introduced to new places and faces.
See a listing of the participating restaurants here, then go eat!!
Recently we we assigned ourselves a project in order to explore shooting food a little differently than in my normal approach – off the tripod and in a darker palette. Through Kristen Saladow of Chefs Table, we teamed up with Chef Aaron Barnett of Restaurant St Jack. We set aside a couple of afternoons to get creative with Aaron. We’d brainstorm ideas and then he would create dishes for us to explore. Aaron was a great partner for our experiment. And his dishes were a perfect fit for this project since he’s interested in historically-based and somewhat offbeat French recipes, such as the squab dish we shot where the birds are presented with their heads and feet.
I didn’t think we’d break last year’s record for speed-shooting food dishes for the Portland Dining Month website, but we did. As the annual June promotion becomes ever more popular, we’re requested to go out and shoot more Dining Month dishes for the website. The challenge of this particular project is creating a single beautiful image that conveys the menu, mood and atmosphere of the restaurant. We also worked on the main Dining Month ads. The agency, North, art directed a surreal photo-realistic composite of all the best elements of dining out in Portland.
To keep the art fresh, I’m always challenging myself to find interesting ways to make environmental portraits. Here, with sommelier Scott Minge, I was exploring the contrast between the shimmering glassware and his rugged good looks. Same with the food dish: the delicacy of the food is magnified by the rough textures of the wood beneath.