Food photography: my own, personal cheesus

There’s an obvious advantage to taking photographs of food.  This explains why I’ve just had some Jarlsberg, some Cornish Yarg and a small glass of port.

It had to be done to help tidy up the remains of my photographic set.  Now I’m nicely mellow not to say gently matured, I will admit that I really enjoyed photography class tonight.

There’s something exciting about a photographic studio – the selection of lights, the cables running all over the place and the general untidiness with light boxes here, tables there and weird stuff one can only hazard a guess at.

It’s only the third time we’ve used the studio at the college but this time I had a greater command of my tripod and camera and I’m starting to realise things about angles and composition, although I still don’t pretend to be much cop.

My classmate had brought some of her home-grown veg and a little basket so we artfully arranged them ie placed them so they didn’t roll off the table.  I held what looked like a white mob cap over one of the lights to diffuse it a bit and we snapped away.

Then it was time for me to unveil the cheeses. Cornish Yarg, Welsh Brie (it’s unlikely but true) and a chunk of splendidly holey Jarlsberg. When I was buying it, I joked to the woman that I was paying for quite a lot of air.

She replied “Yes – I had a woman here last week who asked me to cut her a piece without the holes!”

Under the hot lights, my own personal cheeses starting to whiff appetisingly and, to be honest the Jarlsberg seemed to be having a hot flush but the grapes remained blushfully beautiful.

Other students had set up their own foodie compositions. There was a row of luscious cupcakes on a long piece of slate sprinkled with icing sugar, a baby panettone on its own and best of all, some oranges and an apple on a display lit from beneath.

The lighting created a whole lot of quite extraordinary effects and reflections which were fascinating. It’s quite amazing how adjustments in aperture and speed can transform an image – and that’s without the added element of moving the position of the camera lens.

It was absorbing stuff and thinking about it takes me back to my first visit to a darkroom back in the days of Rolleiflexes and Mamiyas and Hasselblads.  It was in the Western Daily Press office in Gloucester and the photographer – a very experienced guy called Geoff Benger – showed me around.  I don’t know why they didn’t call it a red room because it was mostly red in there from the bulb hanging in the centre of the room.

I’ll never forget the wonderment of seeing a photo of myself materialising from a blank piece of white paper in a large tray of developer and finally Geoff hanging it up to dry.  It was a world away from taking pics with my Kodak Instamatic and taking them into Boots.










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About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
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2 Responses to Food photography: my own, personal cheesus

  1. Isobel says:

    The cheese made my mouth water, but oh man, the lemons! Fab.

    Your class sounds great fun as well as being very instructive.

    Can you tell I am just a touch envious?

    PS I am enjoying reading all your posts, so i do hope that in December you won’t just do a vanishing act again.

  2. janh1 says:

    Amazing effects from lighting the fruit from beneath. Lots of fun taking those 🙂

    Thanks for the vote of appreciation, Isobel 🙂 December will be busier but I’ll keep at it. Maybe not *every* day though!

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