photographs as art ::rembrandt::
"i would like to understand my photography style"
i said at my food photography class some weeks ago when asked about my objective for being there. on a whim the night before, i had signed up, curious to learn how to take photographs about a subject i loved.
we took photographs of open sandwiches, of cookies and milk, of pancakes and of fruit and cheese. we had to do the food styling ourselves. in teams. whoever said four photographers with big DSLR’s and me with the Beast (Mamiya) and the Baby (Fuji) crowded around a table, taking pictures at all angles and lights and constantly re-arranging things to be even more perfect, was a good idea… evidently didn’t know better. i got more random shots of people’s heads and fingers than anything
everyone was taking and wanted pictures that were instagrammable-bloggable-perfectable-just/so/able. and they got them. shot after shot after shot. they oohed and aahed and discussed technical camera, light, food styling and techniques with the teacher like they were shooting a steven spielburg special.
they took pictures like these:
i jostled for space, awkward, cramped, unable to frame my shots, unable to sync with the group, unable to get my mojo and, getting one delete-able picture after another. i hid my pictures from the teacher and glowered at the group through my wayward curls and big eyebrows. sound like i was jealous? i was. a veritable a bull in a china shop to their graceful ballerina pirouettes. and i was super mad. where were they in their pictures? why so much cookie-cutterness? was there something wrong with me? did i need therapy? oh the angst!
finally, after much uhming and ahing and trying to get a word in, i plucked up my courage and blurted out in that pleading voice only desperation evokes
"can we please just, i don't know, break it up a bit?!"
there was a slightly embarrassed, almost aghast silence and then like real troopers, the three guys said, "yes sure go ahead". they waited patiently, watching me alongside the mildly horrified teacher as i added sunshine, sparkles and unicorns to an otherwise orderly group of nuns.
i took pictures like this:
turned onto their sides slathered with soft peaks of whipped cream and dollops of berried jam, the pancakes suddenly look like something a unicorn would want for breakfast. i took a bite out of a cookie and put it next to, what we all want with cookies… milk! and left the edges of the parchment with its swirls of honey in the frame so the realness came through – no one likes tomato juice splattered everywhere anyway
they left me alone after that. i slowly stumbled into a more-than-before-comfortable place.
at the end of the day we all had to submit our best picture to show the class. every single picture was ‘perfect’. you know. instagrammable-bloggable-perfectable-justsoable. clappable. oohhhable. aahhhable.
i got stupefied silence and a split second later polite applause.
was i jealous?
confusingly, all pictures were taken by me on the Fuji... i still have not found my style