Food photography: My final frontier

As I watch newspapers and magazines scale back and even go belly up, I feel lucky to continue having the opportunity to write my “Dish-Off” monthly reviews for Sound magazine. It’s certainly not a gig I do for the money. If you consider the time it takes to conceptualize the theme (recall that each month this year, participating chefs prepare a meal based on song titles that contain at least two food items), coordinate the restaurant meals, eat the food, pay out gratuities, do the necessary follow-up, process the photographs, and do that little thing called writing the article, my hourly wage is probably about a dollar or two an hour – and then that gets taxed.

And the meals are no picnic. I have to take in my surroundings, then focus on the food. Easy? Not really. While listening to the chef describe each dish, I’m setting up my camera to get some quick shots so that I can sample the food at the proper temperature. Then jot down some notes about the tastes, textures, ingredients, plating, creativity, etc.

But who’s complaining? After all, while the ride lasts, I’m having some fabulous experiences. I can’t quite convey how exciting it is to have fantastic Seattle-area chefs customizing one-of-a-kind meals for me.

And now I’m lucky to have the help of a fabulous photographer: Rina Jordan. While I’ve graduated from a palm-sized Canon SD430 to the slightly larger and more sophisticated Lumix LX-3 (which I’m still learning to commandeer), Rina is using real equipment and is really competent at capturing the beauty of what I’m eating – as well as the chefs preparing those good eats. Look for some of her great shots in the upcoming Sound articles that I repost here, starting with the March issue (Lark, Pearl and Six Seven prepare meals based on Mountain’s “Dreams of Milk and Honey”) which should be up sometime tomorrow.

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