Geoff Dickinson writes: What’s Cooking? See – Aperture Newsletter October 2011
Recent forced changes to your humble correspondent’s lifestyle, (i.e. redundancy) has meant a promotion to the role of Head Chef here at Dickinson Towers.
For many years, my role in the supply chain of home food production has been as an avid consumer rather than as a producer. Not for me the magic, alchemic world of combining water, fats, carbohydrate and proteins to provoke a Homer Simpson “Mmm….pizza” like moment from the diner. I recall an embarrassing moment some years ago of asking my 16 year old son how to switch the oven on. Hmmm……. So when I was casually handed a copy of Jamie Oliver’s “Ministry of Food” with its optimistic sub-title of “Anyone Can Learn To Cook In 24 Hours” I was, shall we say, unconvinced.
Unconvinced, but undeterred, I worked my way through the book inspired by some rather wonderful photographs. Ah ha……………….you were wondering when I would get round to photography, weren’t you? Clear, step by step photos and the end product were enough to get me started and positive noises from my other half between mouthfuls of food gave me the confidence to move on from the basics to start experimenting with different flavours and combinations of ingredients.
And that got me thinking that cooking and photography are very similar. You don’t necessarily need fancy tools, all you need is a working camera to cook up your image and a basic knowledge of the ingredients that make a photo. Remember too that the Aperture/ISO/Shutter Speed triangle is like a recipe and like a recipe it is not a legal document, it is a starting point. Throw in 500g of exposure control, 250g of fill flash, a pinch of differential focus and a good dash of your own personality and taste to cajole a tasty and satisfying image from the one pot you call your camera.
I have a couple of other books by Jamie Oliver (OK I admit it, I’m a fan) called “Jamie does Spain, Italy, Sweden, Morocco, Greece and France” and “Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals”. They feature photography by David Loftus www.davidloftus.com/ Both books can be found in Hamilton Library and are well worth a read. They contain not just images of dishes but travel images, portraits and action photos. They have great colour, mood, tell stories and demonstrate some really cool composition and focus techniques. They also give a feel for the soul and food of these countries. If you have visited any of them you will know what I mean. If you haven’t, you will want to.
I am not sure how many of you actually photograph food and/or cooking. I have to say I have only taken the odd one but I’m even inspiring myself as I write this to give it a go. So how’s about cooking up some mouth-watering food images over the summer?
Bon appétit! Geoff (October 2011)