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.