Feb 26, 2014
There's a first for everything, and here's mine.. (to my knowledge anyway). Just quietly, I'm a little stoked about it!
Epicure Melbourne, 25th Feb 2013
Feb 14, 2014
We went to see Jamie Hutchings play at the Wesley Anne last night. Jamie used to have a band called Bluebottle Kiss whom I consider one of Australia's most underrated. They released a string of amazing records but never quite broke through to the level that their labelmates (Something For Kate and Silverchair) did, which is a crying shame. Jamie still plays, both solo and with a band. He never seems to let setbacks discourage him in the slightest, still powering on and giving everything his all. It's always a treat to see him play solo and how he translates his tunes, old and new to a single acoustic guitar. Fantastic.
I don't usually really ever take my camera to shows unless I'm officially taking photos, but I thought I would last night.. Just the camera and my 50mm lens. I thought these looked quite nice.
Dec 9, 2013
My secret Sydney based internet food photo friend Alana Dimou is really good at blogging and I'm kinda terrible at it (I'm lazy ok?) but she always inspires me to get my act together. So I thought I'd make a little collection of my favourite food photos in the last six months. Flicking back through my catalog it's kinda amazing realising just how much food I've shot lately!
These photos aren't necessarily the technically best or whatever, basically just the ones I like the most. Sometimes it's because of the story behind the photos, or an experience with the venue, or whatever. But anyway, lock your eyes on these. (Obvs, since the Town Mouse got a whole post I'm not gonna run those again!). I'm sure I've forgotten plenty, in fact I'm sure of it. If I forgot your place, remind me!
I was a little hesitant about taking this little job from Broadsheet, having had a bad experiences at one of McConnell's restaurants previously; but fortunately everything was made up for this time. Supernormal was pretty cool. I worked my hack food stylist magic, persuaded my assistant (girlfriend) to hold the light outside and BAM.
Sometimes all you have to do to make food look good is eat a bit, and that was definitely the case here. Khoa and I just sat down, enjoyed a meal and a great conversation. Then this happened.
My buddy Brook Miller (with the imitable Walter) has struck upon a vein of gold in Melbourne with his donut trade. I popped down to shoot a few photos for an inflight magazine a few weeks back. I've been enjoying playing with whacky shadows lately, and this is a good example.
I've got a bad habit of always ordering the brûlée on the menu if it's there; so it was a pleasure shooting this recipe at Amalia recently. And man, didn't it look amazing when it was done? Again, pretending to be a food stylist.. Amelie taught me how to crack the top well.
I've been lucky enough to be able to enjoy a continuing relationship with Trevor and Steve Simmons' new business Industry Beans in Fitzroy. I shot this recently to go on a design website, but unfortunately it got knocked back. Shame, I really like it. And their food tastes even better than it looks!!
I shot a piece recently for Broadsheet about Spicy Winter Vegies dishes, (much to the delight of my vegetarian girlfriend) and Colonel Tan's at Revolver was probably my favourite. For some reason I had it in my head it'd be a bit crappy, but I was completely wrong and ended up having a great time. My fav bit (apart from the incredibly tasty food) was the gorgeous old vinyl table cloths, just like Grandma had. Loved it.
I got to go check out Matt Forbes awesome new bakery in Yarrville recently, and i was particularly fascinated by these little guy. I managed to make them look like the go on forever and had the editor asking me "is this heaven??".
My good friend Dave Morgan has been plugging away up at his cafe Boundary Espresso in Preston for a few years now, and he's done a great job of building a business from nothing in an area that had very little when he opened.
La Condessa Taqueria
Loved these guys; authentic traditional street style tacos. I'm getting a bit over restaurants taking food which started off as street food and trying to make it fine dining. La Condessa make it simple and tasty. Perfect. Me still playing around with that silly direct flash idea.
Sometimes shooting loose pays off, like it did here. Not sure what to say about this one, I just like it.
I often get asked which cafes in Melbourne are my favourite which I generally find hard to answer. Do I base it on what's the flashiest cafe? The nicest people? The best coffee? The food? I dunno. The easy answer is usually Small Victories. They're strolling distance and tick all the boxes for me. And they're buddies.
Like Industry, I've been lucky enough to enjoy a continuing relationship with these guys and I can honestly say that Alric is one of my favourite chefs. What a guy. This is from their recent new menu upgrade. So good.
Cumulus Up Duck Waffle
Yeah so I tried to eat the whole thing. Good one idiot.
There's two interesting things about this photo. The first one is that this shoot was the night I discovered that the Canon EOS 5D Mk II has a maximum flash sync speed of 1/160th of a second, not 1/200th. The second is that the time I'd been to this joint previously was when I used to work in music and happened to be taking Stephen Malkmus (formerly of Pavement) to dinner at some whacky Chinese joint he'd been to once and loved. Half of his band is vegan, and they were crazy about the fried eggplant (above). I made the mistake of eating a weeee bit too much of it and forgot that how massive amounts of fried food doesn't make me feel particularly good the next day. Anyway. That's that picture.
Respectively, Ramen Ya, Ca De Vin and Federal Coffee Palace.
It doesn't seem to matter how much time passes, whenever I get booked for a big job I still get a bit of a tingle. It just doesn't seem to get old. Look Mum! I got a real job! Anyway, this is a job I shot recently for Melbourne's GPO where I shot the restaurants and food vendors. I bought my buddy Camille Moir Smith along to style and assist, and we nailed it, yo. (Man, I'm so white).
These guys are off the hook. Simon has worked at a tonne of amazing places, and it really shows. I mean, who can make bananas and muesli look this good? And those tables huh? Man. Oh and it was here where I figured out my trick for making milk coffees last longer in a photo.. Take a sip. Try it. Well, actually don't.. You'll look like one of those idiots who takes photos of their coffee (me).
Slightly before shrivelling into Melbourne's gastronomic history books as the most short lived rebirth ever, I shot Mercy Bar and Eatery's new menu and other stuff for their website after rebranding (previously Virginia Plain). Mat Beyer (apparently the only one ever to not cry on Masterchef) and I spent a day ploughing through the humungous menu and getting a bit crazy. After making everything look pretty and lovely all day, I decided to get a bit ridiculous with this bread and butter pudding and make it look as ostentatious as possible with my on camera speedlite. With champagne.
A while back I got to go shoot for Tourism Australia up in Victorian High Country. Some photos you throw everything at and hope they work.. This was one. Couldn't have planned it better.
We went to a music festival recently and the most memorable part about it was Gary Minks burritos at BCB. I went back shortly after to take some photos. I think these guys and Trippy Taco are my two fav Mexican joints in Melbourne by a long shot. Gary is the loveliest guy you'll ever meet, and his food is amazing. I didn't know there was a type of Mexican described as "San Fran Mission" style. I do now and OH BOY. Oh and before he did this? He worked on a little invention called wi-fi. Gee.
I used to live around the corner from this joint, and never went after my old housemate told me it was rubbish.. Turns out she was totally wrong! I liked how there was lots of orange in this photo. And brown sugar. I quite like brown sugar.
This place had a funny name, a panda on the window, nice plates and lettuce. And I lit it with a small softbox. That was fun.
That place next to the Espy
This was for one of those Ten top something or other in St Kilda. I liked how it was dark and the tofu looked pretty. Ok so it's getting late and I'm being brief. (I actually can't remember the name of the place).
Pat Bing Soo
These guys actually aren't even open yet (check back in Feb!) but I really liked this shoot. My friends David and Stephanie Kennar are opening a new Korean joint in South Melbourne and it's going to be awesome. See that orange stuff? Pumpkin porridge. Yeah, I know right?
I got to shoot Oriental Tea House's new menu the other week, and we did an insane FOURTY SIX dishes in one day. For a laugh Sofia and I decided to line them all up. What you see here isn't even all of them. We also took funny photos of myself and David Zhou (who you might remember from my Shoot the Chef entry). Crazy amount of food. I sure needed that session at the gym!
David's face is so funny. What a guy.
Anyway, so that ended up being longer than I intended. But there you go! If you got all the way to the bottom without going to the fridge, then well done!
Nov 25, 2013
Oct 28, 2013
So I just got a few rolls back from Hillvale Photo, amoungst them was a roll from our trip to Bali mentioned in a previous post. As well as my 5D MKII I also took my trusty Olympus 35RC and some film. I think there's another roll floating around my bag somewhere, but it's interesting to compare results from the two mediums. The Olympus has a 42mm f2.8 lens, which in theory should be pretty similar to the 40mm f2.8 pancake lens I took on the DSLR. I've really enjoyed the reults. I don't shoot anywhere as much film as I'd like, so thie was a really fun little experiment. All scans are done by Hillvale and are straight from them.. No editing at all on my part. Not even straightening!
I'm always stunned at how sharp this little camera is. It has a light meter, but I've never bothered putting a battery in it.. I love testing my internal light meter and seeing if I still got it, relying on my version of the f/16 law. Sometimes I get it, sometimes, well not so much. Anyway.. Here's some film.
Oct 17, 2013
My partner is smart enough to know when we need to take a holiday, and by the time it got to us leaving for Bali recently, I was right on the edge of near burnout. Working too much, and sleeping too little was beginning to take it's toll, and I was getting grumpy. We had ten sunny days in Bali, between Ubud, Gili T Island and Seminyak and it was glorious.
I'm always torn when it comes to taking a camera away on holidays with me. There's so many great compact rangefinder digital cameras on the market these days.. But I feel super conflicted spending a sizable amount of money on a camera that is really, not going to make me any money. But at the same time, the idea of lugging my camera around with a great big L series zoom makes my skin crawl (as do the idiots that walk around with all the latest brand new professional grade gear, just taking happy snaps). Besides that, something inside me is always on a quest to become as at one with the bit of gear that I spend most of my time with my eye to as possible, and any time spent with thing else is using that self training time poorly. Maybe I'm being ridiculous, but it seems logical to me. Anyhow, I ended up taking my 5d mkii with an inexpensive 40mm pancake lens which is so tiny, it's barely any bigger than a body cap. It's small enough that the 5d becomes small enough to fit in a little satchel bag. Something in my head has always thought that applying limits to your creative tool yields better results. I'm not sure if it's really true, but I always like to try, so the 40mm it was. Along with that I took my little Olympus 35RC with a few rolls of film, and of course my iphone loaded into a Lifeproof waterproof case (check my instagram for super fun underwater iphone photos!). Inevitably, most of the cool iphone photos are now on my instagram, and the film is yet to be developed, but I've finally gotten around to rounding up my favourite photos from the 5d.
I've never thought myself much of a street photographer.. I like people, but it feels somewhat invasive just holding a camera in someone's face and clicking away. A few times I tried to engage people and ask to take a little portrait, but most of the things i found most interesting or inspiring was colour and shape. The Balinese use colour completely differently to westerners. Even rundown old garages will be painted lovely lime green colours, and junky old doors will be sporting gorgeous orange tones. It's a different aesthetic, and I really like it. Anyway, here's some snaps. I will be accepting travel commissions from here on via my contact form (ha).
Sep 10, 2013
I thought I'd enter Good Food Week's "Shoot The Chef" competition, since I seem to take photos of so many chefs these days!
I dug up one of my favourites, Mr David Zhou from David's Country Shanghai. David is always a pleasure to work with. His beautiful resturant in Windsor is absolutely gorgeous; full of light and oozing with warmth, much like David. An absolute gentleman and a damn good chef. I love this photo so much, beacuse I feel so much of his personality shines through. I managed to get a perfectly natural smile, and the expression to match. David and his resturant have a formidable reputation as being amoungst the finest in Melbourne, but when you meet him it's apparent that this hasn't at all affected his primary motivation; producing the best food he can. I had a click through some of the other entries, and while there's some really great ones, so many of them are so constructed and contrieved. Whereas I feel this one is the opposite. And I'm really proud of that.
Anyway, If you like the image, please send me a few clicks over at the voting page and help me win!
Jul 31, 2013
I was asked recently by Broadsheet to photograph some of Dave Verhuel's amazing food at his and Christian McCabe's stunning new resturant 'The Town Mouse'. I was extremely nervous, as I'd already seen some extraordinary images created of this equally exraordinary space.. Sean Fennessy had already been in with Lucy Feagin from The Design Files in tow (the images already appearing in for Vogue Living), Eve Wilson had popped in for Gourmet Traveller and Broadsheet as well as others whose names escape me. So yeah, I was feeling the pressure a bit; producing something less than spectacular was clearly not an option (not that it ever is). Along with the awesome work from Eve and Sean, I also found plenty of fairly dismal attempts from other photographers online, something I was determined to not be lumped in with.
My shooting time was booked for the beginning of service, and the ever professional Christian politely told me that I would need to be done reasonably quickly. Fair enough, the resturant books out almost every night without fail. The first dish, Dave informed me was the most difficult and that everyone tends to struggle with it. This what came out. (I didn't know what anything was while I was shooting it.. I only saw the descriptions when I took a menu home for the editor to glean the names off).
Anyhow, it came out and Dave wasn't kidding!! It looked like it could be beef or anything (it's pretty dark in there) and it wasn't till I shot a few frames that I noticed that it was pinky/redish in colour.. I couldn't really make head or tails of it trying to figure out how to approach it. It kind of ended up looking more like a purple moss covered in fluffy white-ish fuzz. Turns out it's "Slow roasted red cabbage, prune, parmesan and red apple". I cut into it to try to show off a bit of the insides (I have to say I felt so bad ruining this crazy artwork..) but even still this light absorbing mass of fuzz still didn't seem to want to give me anything. "Well if that's the hardest one, then we should be alright" I said to Dave with false confidence and out came the next dish.
A main, nothing particularly unexpected here. Without taking away from the dish, it's your usual big plate with things beautifully arranged with sauces dripped around it. Fairly straight foward to shoot. All good.
"Pork jowl with charred octopus, Ink, turnip, kohlrabi and chickweed". Tasted amazing. Looked fantastic. Dish basically shot itself. Wish I'd bumped up my depth of field a bit, but more or less no real complaints. Next.
I'd seen this next dish on Sean's site and my mind had boggled. Is it cheese? Is it some wierd chalky dish of something that only fancy foodies know about with some amazing mess of faux ash trays and.. God I don't know.. Apparently it's challenging to shoot the way they normally plate it up in a smaller ceramic bowl so they were bringing it out on a plate. By this point we'd reached the time when customers were coming into the resutrant and a few were stealing particularly curious glances over at what I was doing. Dave does not come out in the the resturant during service time "he's very professional" Christian told me. This is what was put down in front of me.
Bear in mind, I still had no idea what this thing was. What on earth is the white thing? I shot a few of it looking perfect, then I thought I'd try the trick I'd learnt from Peter Tarasiuk "make it look like someone's just gotten up and left their meal behind".
First inscision.. The white stuff was quite difficult to get through, but I managed to make a clean break establishing some lovely lines.. Quick, shoot!
I pushed some onto my fork and put it in my mouth.. HOLY CRAP IT'S ICE CREAM. THE WHOLE THING IS A DESSERT. After further examination, I realised that there was more sorbet underneath the mound of chocolatey cakey goodness. More snaps.
The dish is "Chalk and Cheese", or as listed on the menu "Lemon and yuzu curd, white chocolate, burnt coconut, spiced rum and coconut sorbet".
I shoot a lot of food, which unfortunately means that I often get sick of seeing the same thing. Without wanting to sound like a wanker, I very rarely see anything as innovative and fresh as this. Absolutely top notch, and a pleasure to shoot (and even more of a pleasure to eat..).
Dave is a very clever man.
Full story on Broadsheet. Oh, and if this post wasn't already a testament to me being impressed? I'm taking two of my most hardcore food nerd friends there for dinner tonight.
I've just decided to incorporate a blog onto my website, hoping to invoke a bit more interaction with visitors, and to give you an idea of what I'm up to. I do already have a tumblr, but I feel that reblogging cat photos and pictures of myself doing stupid things in supermarkets isn't going to exactly cement my image as a serious professional, hence a purely photography blog on my website.
For the first post.. Here's an image I'd forgotten about from when I was driving back from Sydney recently. Actually, I don't think it was recently. I don't even remember when it was (I've done that drive too many times). I couldn't get it to look quite how I wanted, but loved the shapes and colours. I love it when a photo is super geometric and can become more about shape and lines than the obvious content, and I love this as an example.
Till next time!