Food, Photography and Me

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At the beginning of 2009 I set out to photograph everything I cooked or ate at a restaurant. Because I am a true foodie I figured I could have some fun and maybe share my experiences with others. Then shortly after the new year started my mom surprised me by sending me my grandmother’s entire recipe file. After talking it over with some friends I decided to commit to only making grandma’s recipes. It seemed like the perfect union – a photo journal of my grandmother’s recipes.

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Unfortunately I found it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. First I realized that without an outlet like a blog, there wasn’t any truly good way to share. I posted on Flickr for a while, including lengthy notes about the pictures, but I knew few people really look to Flickr for food advice. And soon I became irritated with the quality of the photos I was taking. Because like many working folks I cook most of my food after the sun goes down, thus I was left with very little natural light to work with. Photographing food is challenging enough during the day, but without a fancy camera or equipment my pictures just made the food look rather unappetizing. Plus much of what I was making wasn’t that attractive to begin with, as grandma’s recipe box was packed full of casseroles and other “one pot” concoctions. Believe me its really hard to make recipes involving creamed soups, canned vegetables and chow mein noodles/crunchy onions/peanuts look delicious. Because…well usually they’re not. (Needless to say, my commitment to grandma’s recipes was a short lived two months.)

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And then I dropped my trustworthy Canon Powershot in the ocean while on vacation in Key West. I returned home thoroughly aggravated, but still continued to attempt the photo food diary with my boyfriend’s even nicer Fuju FinePix. It actually proved much better with low light situations, but even the slightest movement resulted in a blurry picture. At this point I was looking at more and more food blogs and becoming more and more envious of their beautiful photos. So I contacted several of my favorite bloggers about their camera choices and the majority of those who responded all used the same Canon Rebel SLR. So I knew what I had to do…

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Now I have had a brand new Canon Rebel SLR just waiting to start recording my every action for two months…and yet I’ve been mooching my boyfriend’s Fuji. Part of the problem is that SLRs are not pocket size. I can’t just throw my Rebel in my purse and be done with it. It requires a nice camera case, which I finally purchased today. It also requires some learning on my part. Despite the fact that I did begin my undergraduate studies as a Photo Illustration major, I don’t really remember anything about manual photography. And even if I did, I’m sure its much different now than it was in 1996. So this weekend I shall begin learning my way around an SLR. Hopefully a year from now I will be taking SmittenKitchen (see below) quality photographs. Hey I can dream!

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