On the road, as we often are around Christmas and New Year’s, there aren’t many recipes. Nor is there much time, if I’m honest, for the kind of deep reflections that the blog universe generally expects/requires/suggests. I often wrangle with this issue, promising myself (and sometimes you) grandiose schemes about What I’ve Learned and What Comes Next. This year I thought I’d do something a little different.
In addition to expanding my cooking abilities and repertoire, one of the goals I have for myself with this little virtual space is to improve my photography. Therefore, I’d like to take a look back through my visual work this year and give you a few of my favorite food photographs from 2014, with a little explanation of why I like them so much. I hope you enjoy.
When I think about my food photographs from this year, this one tops the list. It seems like an odd choice – it’s just olive oil on bread, a simple shot and a simple idea. But that’s part of what I like about it. It shows a beginning: something good about to develop. Additionally, I love the glistening look of the olive oil spilling over those slices, and I love how apparent the holes in the ciabatta are. Finally, I like that I took this photo myself – only one hand on the shutter button, hoping for steady fingers as I poured olive oil with the other.
Here, I love the perfect cup of my coworker’s hands around the spring roll she was so delighted to wrap. The focus on the roll itself, though you can still see clearly the lines and prints of her hands, shows your eye exactly where to look. I’m not always a huge fan of centering the main event in a photo (it can get expected and even boring after a while), but here it was the right thing to do.
This one is all about the angle. Often I like to shoot dishes from an angle level with or just above the table they sit on – it makes for a clear image of their size, texture, and composition. But this one, as I stood on a chair bending over the dish, captured just the right glow from a nearby window, and showed off the ragged edges of the scoops in such a pleasing way.
More and more, I’m excited about texture in a photograph, whether it’s the ridges of a leaf in a heap of salad greens or of the beautiful creases around someone’s eyes showing how hard they are laughing. Here, the way the strands of dough stretched and tore as they baked draw me in, and I’m delighted, as usual, with my trusty Nikon’s ability to capture such fine detail.
This one is all about the light. I took this on my kitchen counter, mid-morning, and the light spilling in is from the window above my sink. I love the shadows of the bowl and of the apricots, and the way you can see where the frame of the window cuts off that spill of sunlight. The hazy, unsteady pillar of steam rising off the just-boiled fruits is a nice touch too.
Okay, this isn’t food. But I can’t resist an excuse to reprise a shot of my most faithful kitchen helper, bashfully refusing to address the camera despite the promise of one of her favorite crunchy treats. The encroaching white on her muzzle sometimes alarms me a bit, but the photographer in me admits the contrast it provides against her fox red fur is lovely.
I’ll let Lucy close out this little annotated slideshow, and content myself by hoping your new year was happy and that you got to kiss someone you loved whether there was mistletoe or not. Welcome to 2015. My fingers are resolutely crossed for a good one.