Food to be Tied

A couple of weeks ago we had a break in our schedule allowing us time to do some personal work…time to raid my twine collection. I don’t know exactly what started all my tying up food with twine but it’s certainly turned into a bit of a direction for me.

Initially I thought the food pairings were the first of my tied food but then I remembered the tying madness started much earlier—around 2008 with some still life images I did where I took objects that don’t necessarily go together—dried roses, old drill bits, rusty railroad spikes, fresh asparagus—and tied them all up with twine. That was then.

So, here are a few images—food objects not only tied but also hanging.

Garlic Tomato Still LIfe

Pizza Still Life

If you’re a psychologist maybe you can help me understand what my “tied food” means. As far as I can tell, it simply means I like random things tied with twine. But who knows, maybe there’s more to it than that. Feel free to speculate.

– Kyle

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When in Brussels, or Elsewhere

When I was growing up my mom made Brussel sprouts now and then. (Nope, I didn’t grow up in Brussel—I grew up in Dallas, Texas.) Sitting around the dinner table and being expected to eat these cabbage-like oddities felt more like punishment than anything, but over time I developed a taste for them—I think if for nothing else because they offer such a different experience.

Brussel Sprouts

Even today I enjoy them now and then to break up the meal-time monotony. Laure (our caterer) prepares Brussel sprouts for us on occasion and there’s never any left over. (Our crew certainly likes to eat…maybe I’m working them too hard.)

Brussel Sprouts

I think Brussel sprouts simply don’t get enough well deserved attention. They’re really healthy when prepared right and they have great flavor. Admittedly, I’m a little weird–I like to dissect mine as I eat them. They’re just so interesting.


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My Current Bacon Obsession

I go through phases now and then with my likes and wants. It plays out in various ways from what I wear (heavy cotton t-shirt with pocket) or what I eat (banana smoothie with sun-butter, rice milk and oats) or how I spend money (vintage pie and cake servers). I kinda get myopic and somewhat obsessed for brief periods of time, then I move on and find something else to satisfy my attention.

Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with bacon. This isn’t necessarily a major obsession but more like a fascination—one I’ve been exploring and photographing lately. Raw bacon. Cooked bacon. Basically any bacon…except for Kevin.

I know I’m not the only one thinking about bacon. Ever see Bacon Dental Floss or Bacon Bandages? Click here and you will.

I’ll have more bacon thoughts and images to share later, but for now I thought you might like to contemplate one of my latest images.

Bacon by Kyle Dreier

Hungry for bacon?

– Kyle

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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.


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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.


– 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?


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