Feeding a “Texture-holic”

It’s no secret that I’m a texture-holic…I love visual and tactile textures. I can’t get enough.

Amy and I have a friend (Kristin Murray) who is an accomplished potter…or is it potterer? Ceramicist? I don’t know the technical or appropriate title…she’s a talented artist who works with clay and glazes and bisques and fire and other mediums to create unique usable vessels. Her work is definitely an intersection of form and function.

The depth of color and texture in Kristin’s work is what draws me in. (Homer Simpson voice: “Mmm…texture”.) In photographing her work we were able to accentuate the subtle beauty in each of her pieces…sometimes seeing detail with the camera that we couldn’t with our naked eye (thanks to the 40 megapixel PhaseOne digital back).

On the technical side, I often get questions about shooting with “natural light” or “available light”. People love the feel and the mood of natural lighting. I do, too. There’s an old saying about shooting “available light”…a photographer will shoot with any light “available”…strobes, lamps, sun, etc.

Shooting natural light is fast and the results are wonderful given the right circumstances, but…there are external factors that effect shooting with natural light. The time of year can play a big role with the angle of the sun and the number of daylight hours. And then there’s the weather, oh the weather. When we’re at the mercy of the weather I don’t get much sleep the night before a shoot. (See video of how rain made a surprise visit to a location shoot. Click here.)

Yes, I admit, I’m a bit of a control freak. I like predictability. I thrive on being able to produce consistent results. We’re already navigating a number of other variables on a shoot…that’s why I like to have control of lighting as much as possible. So, in most cases we recreate the “natural” look in the studio so we can get the job done rain or shine, year round.

Large Ceramic Bowl by Kristin Murray

Large Ceramic Bowl by Kristin Murray

Small Ceramic Bowls by Kristin Murray

Small Ceramic Bowls by Kristin Murray

Small Ceramic Bowls by Kristin Murray

On a personal note, Amy and I actually have a set of Kristin’s bowls we use at home and they are very functional and add a nice aesthetic to our meals…even when it’s corn flakes.

-Kyle

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Rustic Fruit Tarts

For some people “time off” means 18 holes of golf. I’m not those people. I’ve played golf three times. Loved the scenery. Loved being outdoors. Loved time with my friends. But my 84 on nine holes doesn’t make for much enjoyment. Yes, I’m that bad.

So, what to do when there’s a break in the action at the studio? Well, duh…shoot more food. At least that’s what food stylist Whitney Kemp and I decided to do with our recent break between commercial food photography projects.

In case you haven’t met her yet, Whitney is a commercial and editorial food stylist based here in Nashville. She and I like to collaborate on personal work when our schedules allow. (See also Hot Dog Food Art.)

Here are a few images from a direction she had in mind—rustic tarts made with black berries, cranberries, pears, plums, apples, raspberries…and I’m sure a bunch of other great stuff I’m forgetting to mention like sugar and spice and everything nice. Sorry, I don’t have the recipe to give you a shopping list but maybe the images will satisfy.

Rustic Fruit Tart - Making

Rustic Fruit Tart - Detail

Rustic Fruit Tart - Torn

Also on set lending a hand for our day-o-tarts was aspiring prop and image stylist Caroline Brewer and of course my trusted tried and true first assistant Rory White—who by the way just had a neat photography show at The Frothy Monkey.

There you have it, Rustic Fruit Tarts.

Enjoy!

– Kyle

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Leap (Year) Day Ponderings

Leap Year - February 29, 2012

Today only happens every four years (almost) and it has me pondering—is February 29th a gift which is actually spread out over the next four years or is it repayment for time we’ve already used from the last four years? While you wrestle with that I’ll move on to my next question.

What will things be like next Leap Day?

My boys will be 13, 12 and 10—our grocery bill will likely be twice what it is today.

Our country will be preparing for another presidential election. Will it be an incumbent or a change of guard?

I’ll be four years older. Will I finally followthrough on my New Year’s Resolution(s) to exercise more?

Will the top Google search still be “Justin Bieber”…or will “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” make a comeback?

It will be neat to see what develops with food trends. Will the “local food” movement be more mainstream? I hope so.

I know it’s trite to say but it’s true…time flies. I’m looking forward to the next four years and what it holds…as long as it’s not bell-bottom jeans.

What about you?

-Kyle

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I Scream for Soft Serve

We recently worked with a soft serve client to update their photography for their sixty locations here in the US and overseas. Prior to our actual shoot we spent a little time doing some preliminary testing where we work with the product, various lighting, a few compositions and some basic art direction.

Making, or even having the time for testing can be a bit of a luxury, but we find this to be very helpful for the project and everyone involved—there are many variables and this helps eliminate surprises and narrow the direction—translation: keeps things rolling smoothly and efficiently on actual shoot days.

Soft Serve Ice Cream with Raspberries and Blueberries

Soft Serve Ice Cream with Strawberries

These are just test images. I can’t show the final client images—the campaign hasn’t gone public yet. So, for now, these will have to do. Please don’t scream.

-Kyle

ps. The client’s product isn’t ice cream or frozen yogurt. It’s actually a natural low calorie, low fat, low sugar, frozen soft serve…er, uh…treat. It’s just easier to call it ice cream. Oh, and…confession…it’s really good.

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Seared Tuna Nachos, Oh My!

I’m not sure any words I can say would do this dish justice. It was a pleasure working with the chef and crew at SOL Restaurant in Franklin, TN on this food photography assignment. Franklin is a historic town just south of Nashville.

Seared Tune Nachos

Seared Tune Nachos

Enjoy.

Kyle Dreier

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