I have been in a bit of a photo funk lately. I feel like I am experiencing less and less of those magic moments of taking a photo I consider to be truly beautiful, and am more and more often disappointed with what I have when I download my images.
I think it really started when I read Plate To Pixel from cover to cover. Not to blame Helene from Tartlette at all, but trying to compare my photos to hers is already setting me up for failure. It’s like taping up photos of flawless supermodels while I try on bathing suits. The other problem with this book is that although it is utterly inspiring with its advice on food styling, the skills that she writes about just do not come naturally to me.
You see, it is not in my nature to style photographs. When I take pictures of people, I try to give them minimal direction and instead adjust myself to them in hopes of capturing a beautiful moment. The same holds true when I try to photograph things I think to be beautiful. I do not like to interfere; I like to capture the moment/object/location as it is.
Food photography, however, is an entirely different beast. The best food photographs, the ones that really suck us in, have been worked and manipulated to achieve that appetizing appearance. My preference would be to simply cook the dish, plate how I would normally eat it, and then snap photos. This used to be enough to satisfy me, but lately, I feel the need to stretch beyond my comfort zone and try more interesting plating styles, to use different textures or backgrounds or to incorporate props. But since these aren’t skills that come naturally to me, I find myself struggling to work the dish into the vision I’m trying to achieve. I look at the photos and think they are cheap knock-offs of what other people actually do remarkably well. Or sometimes, I just feel like I missed the mark altogether.
I’m not trying to be the girl who complains all the time that she’s fat even though she eats cupcakes all day and still has a nice figure. But so often bloggers try to come across as though everything they do is effortless (No biggie, I just totally whipped up this 5 hour recipe in my spare time and took these photos with one hand and I wasn’t even looking but now that you mention it they DO look stunning), and I like to hear other people admit that being creative can, and often is, difficult. But of course, it’s still worth it. I am on a search for my photography “voice” and have yet to find it yet, but I know that I will.
So at any rate, now that I have totally rambled about photos, I hope you will read past it and give this superb recipe a try. It’s recipes like this that make me want to be a better photographer so that I could capture just how delicious it is.
BTW – can I just give a quick shout out to Photoshop? Without it I would probably have given up on this blog. With it I changed a photo from this:
Fig, Ricotta and Lemon Crostini
Adapted from Whole Living
The original recipe used macerated cherries instead of these figs. I LOVE fig jam and so I cooked the figs until they were approaching a jam state. When combined with the ricotta this was pure heaven.
6 ounces chopped figs
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
Sliced crusty bread (I used French baguette)
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
Grated zest of 1 lemon
In a small saucepan combine the figs, sugar and water and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until the water has started to evaporate and they mixture is just starting to congeal, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush the sliced bread with olive oil and either grill or toast until golden brown. Allow to cool.
Spread the ricotta on the slices of bread and top with fig mixture. Sprinkle with lemon zest. Yummmmm….