bon appétit: food photography | provence-alpes-côte d’azur, france

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“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

― Julia Child

Many of you know, and many of you don't know, that food photography is a huge passion of mine. It's not just the food itself, but the community and cultures that humans create around food. When that is tied to my passion for ethereal light, my love of a shallow depth-of-field, capturing moments, and my yearning to eat, experience, and share all the things, the only result is a glorious collision of light hitting film and sensors capturing light as colored pixels.

It's around a kitchen table where some of my best memories were made, where I learned from my family, and was consistently asked, "What did you do for your country today?" by my father as he took a swig of his wine and a bite of his bread...or popped an olive into his mouth, because we never had a meal without a boat of olives. It's around a kitchen table where I learned to make tamales at Christmas time while novelas played in the background, try everything at least 1 time, spend hours protesting carne guisada despite my love for it now, and actually stop to reflect on the day and its happenings from a very young age. I was blessed to know that the kitchen table was a place of solace, a place of camaraderie, and a safe place to talk to my family. The kitchen table is a place of sharing, and there is no better way to enjoy a meal than to share it with the people who make you tick.

While it has taken me some time to figure out where my life is headed in terms of a creative career, I'm confident that I now know where I want to be. I want to be in a place that I can share my adventures and the food that shapes them, and all the stories that come along with them. Food is more than nourishment, it is a gift from God, it is an art form, and it is a precious commodity that I am thankful for everyday. To the farmers, the chefs, the families, the non-profits, and the consumers:  you're the ones who feed the world and that's a huge job...I'm here to document every part of that.

Our trip to Bonnieux and the South of France was an opportunity to really delve into more personal work. How could you not with an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and all the French cooking? The best food starts with the freshest ingredients, and I'm sure Julia Child and any other chef would agree with me. I believe the best food photography starts with the freshest ingredients and the purest of light. Below are a sample of photos I made that document my trip through my food, some staged, some at markets, some at home, and some at restaurants. I'm thankful that I have a family who understands that all food must be photographed before it is eaten, who knows that me going to the markets is like my brother walking into a music shop, and also who just lets me be me at the kitchen table when I whip out some sort of camera to remember something special from that meal.  Here's to the next adventure, a load of supporters, a solid quote from Mrs. Child herself, and a fury of passion..finally.

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After gawking over (and naturally, photographing) all the fresh fruits and veggies from the garden at the house where we stayed, we made our way out to Goult which had the most adorable grocery store...smaller than my apartment but still fresher than anything around here. I love how the French, and anywhere in Europe really, opposes the use of preservatives. The food tastes much fresher and I can tell you the body appreciates the organic and local nature of these foods.

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We spent a few nights cooking at home, which allowed for all the photos of all the pretty parts of food including family. Everything so fresh. Everything so natural. And everything just delicious.

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Those fries, though.

These next few photos are from out and about. Food trucks, restaurants, markets, and patisseries. Just lovely, every bit of it.

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And of course, if you've been following along, you have seen that kitchen window. That kitchen window let in the most glorious of light onto a beautiful kitchen farm table. When we arrived, we were gifted with three giant heirloom tomatoes just waiting for a photo shoot before becoming a caprese salad.

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For my last food shoot in Bonnieux, I greeted that kitchen table with some pretty macarons from Aix-en-Provence. I mean...when in France, right? I do think, however, I had as much fun shooting them as I did crushing them and then subsequently eating them.

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Thank you for traveling along with me! Again, if you'd like to see how we chronicled our trip in instagram posts, search our hashtag, #bonnieuxmonsieur. I'll leave you with this fiery quote from someone who never let anything or anyone stop her:

“Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” ― Julia Child

family portraits | bonnieux, provence-aples-côtes d'azur, france

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This summer marks the 30th anniversary of Jerry's parents. These two have been through so much together, that I don't even know where to start. But besides that, Mr. Jerry and Mrs. Donna have loved each other through every bit of their journey as husband and wife. While getting excited about all that awaited us in France this summer, Mrs. Donna asked if I would take portraits of them, since some of the most recent portraits of them are from their wedding day. So in went the tripod and all the photo gear to prep for a beautiful Provençal sunrise photo shoot of my in-laws and then some of the family together (gotta love a tripod and built-in intervalometer!). I even shot a little bit of film, although, I will admit I do need some more practice with that new-fangled color stuff! It was an experience photographing family in a way I photograph clients, as most family shots are truly just on the fly documentary-style and not posed portraiture. However, these shots are something to cherish. Not only do they serve as a reminder of love and of the beauty that this Earth surrounds us with, but they are also a new family heirloom that can be hung in a special place for future generations to see. It was an honor to photograph this love and an honor to be part of this family, so thank you for letting my camera win the race to be in your face before your daily croissant and espresso, and letting "Screech Owl" make an appearance to make someone wake up, haha!

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hope you're not hungry.

My last studio assignment was a photo illustration. I decided to do a food illustration based off delicious mediterranean foods such as olives, fresh bread, parmesan, red wine, and spicy salami and other deli meats. Let's just say I had a delicious and scrumptious dinner after my shoot. I hope to do a more conceptual illustration in the future maybe with faces and another food shoot with cupcakes, hopefully before the semester is done. But for now, please enjoy this virtual meal :).

 

This wine shot was fun to shoot! It did take a lot of preparation and making sure my focus was correct and lighting was overexposed just enough. A very tedious shot, but well worth it in my opinion.

 

This was a pleasure to look at while shooting. I really love the natural color palette of this shot and the pimentos in the olives give it just enough pop of color for me. The deep purple alphonso olives mixed with the manzanilla olives. Mmmm, I practically drooled over this until I was done.

 

This one lacks a focal point just a little bit in my opinion. It's more product placement than anything with the three-buck chuck cork in the front. However, it is still one of my favorites because of its delicious nature, but definitely not something I would turn in for class.

 

I just love the knife. It's epic and I had epic fun with it.

 

Now, go grab a snack and succumb to your cravings :).