Welcome to Four Eyes Forum, a meeting place to exchange news and views on food, food photography, the word on food, food science, style and architecture. Join me, the blogger who wears glasses, in this world as I throw out engaging stuff that I think you'll find interesting, beautiful and delicious. As Charles Dudley Warner, American editor and writer, said,
"Lettuce, like conversation, requires a good deal
of oil, to avoid friction, and keep the company
smooth....You can put anything, and the more
things the better, into salad, as into a conver-
sation, but everything depends upon the skill of

That's my job.

(All photographs, unless otherwise cited, copyright
Kristin Halgedahl Photography 2016)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Think of the food you are about to serve as a still life. The plate being the canvas and the food on it the picture that is being painted."

This quote from Holly Garrison, 20th-century American writer, sums up how I feel about food photography, and explains why I love it so much. It is an art form, visual art. I recognized this as a child, leafing through pages of my mother's magazines (Vogue, Gourmet) and cookbooks. The legendary Irving Penn broke out onto the scene in the 1950's, adding food photography for Vogue in the tradition of still life painting. He introduced the simplicity of each culinary element in a photograph in an innovative style like the overhead shot...he invented it, not Marcus Nilsson. (sorry)  Penn's images were often elegant and insightful, but could also be raw and gritty.  Hence, he made artistic statements and conversation starters. His photographs were always ART.

from Still Life  Irving Penn, 1947

from Still Life Irving Penn, 1993

Now that the overhead shot has become too much the norm (aren't you a little weary of it?) photographers are looking to refresh food imagery by shooting from the side, for example, as in this shot from Manny Rodriguez, one of my favorite 'now' food photographers.

from Manny Rodriguez's blog

And digital cameras and Photoshop has, of course, changed editorial pictures in every way, notably contrasty, grainy images. That's the 'look' often chosen by art editors these days, as it  seems to mirror a societal shift away from slick to accessible.

From the blog of Manny Rodriguez
Art directors also love close up and macro food photography and SO DO I! Nothing like a loaf of bread that acts as an abstract painting in the dining room. We're talking 51"x51". The notion of getting close, noticing, being more fully aware of the senses, of textures and tastes, is an appealing one; while society programs us to hurry, hurry, hurry, close up photography offers an invitation to slow down.

Image copyright Kristin Halgedahl Photography 2013

In contrast to studio lighting, where much of advertising work is done, shooting in natural light is becoming more and more desirable. I use it almost exclusively if I can. There's just nothing like the giant soft box of a cloud cover that eliminates harsh shadows, or the filter effect created by just-picked tomatoes steaming under cellophane in open shade that produces a calm photograph. There are plenty of people who strive to recreate these conditions artificially in a studio, but why? When you can just go outside? (well, o.k., hardly in a buzzing metropolis--that's for fashion photography) 

Image copyright Kristin Halgedahl Photography 2013

And who are the coming wunderkinds of artistic food photography? Who do we think Irving Penn would've smiled at?
Keiko Oikawa is meteoric right now. As is her Asian Minimal style.

Ditte Isager is a Danish force.
Her photography for the cookbook NOMA
made my heart stop. This image
from her Agency's (Edge) Website. 

Marcus Nilsson is becoming iconic. This example is 
from his website.

And then there's me.

 Miss natural light, often macro, most often Miss Farmers' Market, color riche, food storyteller. In the beginning, middle and end, the story's at the heart of a photograph.That's the real art of it. Whatever means a photographer employs to reach that goal is an individual choice dictated by each process's journey and years and years of experience. And I feel privileged to be shooting at this point in history, where the art of eating is enhanced by those devoted to honoring its beauty with new and different perspectives. Yes, I'm proud to count myself in their company.


Image copyright Kristin Halgedahl Photography 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

From Sea To Inland Sea

Traverse City, Michigan, my new home and food base. Why, you San Franciscans ask? Does this picture answer your question? Memory and economics have driven this move.

Lake Michigan looking south toward Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore

If you still don't get it, read Wallace Stegner's essay, "A Sense Of Place."  Once you have found it, never let it go, as the sentiment runs in South Pacific.These are the Great Lakes, America's fresh water, inland seas. Nothing carnivorous swimming out there! So I came.  I cooked my way through the long winter and have come out successfully on the other side. Spring at last, and you and I can now resume our culinary dialogue. From a place that's quite similar, gastronomically, to the Bay Area, actually. This is farm country, and fish country, and foraging country and wine country. And when the land awakens in the spring, it has the rhythm of an earthquake. Mild rocking could already be felt at the farmers' market last Saturday. Although, for the sake of an overview, I'm simply going to offer a gallery that celebrates my nine months here.
Then I'm going to commence introducing you to the extraordinary existent eateries and drinkeries, and the people behind them, I've discovered so far. Fair enough? Hang on, here we go. Enjoy!

"First parents of the human race,
whose gourmandism is historical,
you lost all for an apple."

--Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
French politician and writer
Corn here belied the national drought last summer.
Cabbages shot last September.

Sunflowers, always. CSA Programs abound.

The best eggs! We're talkin' $3 a dozen.
Love Traverse City prices!
Beans, of course. Thank you; everywhere.
Stuff from the woods!
Even soap-on-a-rope...
Beer soap from
Forever Summer Soaps,
Traverse City.
Who knew? Brew?

The best bread I've ever eaten. Slipper Bread, from Patisserie Amie of Traverse City.

All kinds of vendors sell Lavender products. Wonderful!
I use this salt on EVERYTHING!
And on and on and on we'll go. I would never have moved here if it weren't a foodie destination. (I have the San Francisco Bay Area to thank for that tuition)  It is. I'm staying. 
                                                                       Stay with me.

(images copyright Kristin Halgedahl Photography, 2013)