I just completed Day One of a 3-day internet workshop on food photography being taught by Penny de Los Santos, a photographer who is a contributor to National Geographic and Saveur, among other publications. It was a wonderful workshop (I stayed glued to my computer screen for the full 6+ hours!), full of lots of insight and information. And lots of talking – very articulate and passionate talking about photographs, but also about working and living, that was riveting and relevant and inspiring. She invited two different editors from Saveur to participate via an internet connection (they were in NYC, the workshop is in Seattle). She spoke with both James Oseland, the Editor-in-Chief and Larry Nighswander, the Photography Director, who critiqued a selection of photographs that internet attendees had submitted beforehand (unfortunately, mine were not among them). It was really interesting hearing them talk about what makes a good (pertinent and exciting) editorial picture. It made me think a lot about the kinds of pictures I tend to make (she spoke about making vs. taking photographs, both in terms of language and physicality, a distinction that I had not thought of in that way before).
The day was filled with Penny’s boundless energy and enthusiasm for photographing food, as well as the people and culture that are inherently attached. I have always liked Saveur for its combination of food and travel, and the fact that it approaches food with a journalistic approach rather than, for lack of a better word, a rarified one – (the stacks of the magazine in my bookshelf dating back to the 1990’s speak to that – which is not to say I don’t read other kinds of food journals, as my even bigger, and older, stacks of Gourmet attest to).
I’m excited for tomorrow’s session when the class will get out of their chairs, pick up their cameras and shoot food in the studio (in addition to everyone who is watching via internet, there are six people attending the workshop in person). I wish I was there, though I must say it feels amazingly immediate to be watching online – almost participatory – and very worthwhile.
These photographs are from yesterday, when I walked through the Essex Street Retail Market on the Lower East Side.