On a recent arrival home from some time away, one of the first things I noticed was an arrangement of decorative seasonal gourds on the dining room table. Miss Z was following in my footsteps, discovering the joys of the local market and had brought home a colourful harvest for the family to share. Each one is unique and riotous in its markings, much like our tribe, and worthy of joining the painterly edits that I have been amassing over the last few years.
This particular edit brought to mind a post about the etiquette of food photography where the ongoing conversations in the comments had led to much reflection on how I wound up with so many shots of ordinary fruit and veg in my own archives.
Twenty odd years ago as my son and I were zooming up a street, I saw a kid outside of his garage selling large canvases of close-ups of the most magnificent mangoes and plums, odd veg and seafood in the most brilliant colours and rendered in an energetic impressionist style. It was just that flash of something extraordinary that made me pull up the car and go and have a look – I should have bought them right then and there, but could ill afford it and so I went to visit his other works in a few cafes and a gallery, later looked for his stuff online, googled them years after and always regretted not having deprived myself of something else to have been able to look upon that luscious fruit every day.
It marked me in much the same way that Wayne Thiebaud had an influence on how I see the ordinary. It is that driving need to tell the story of the very basic stuff of life, the things that go unnoticed, the colours and shapes we ignore in the busyness of it all – that is what keeps me taking food photos. Photography is all about the way we transform what we see so that we can give others a glimpse and get them thinking, remembering, wondering, engaging and even taking part in keeping the creative process dynamic.
So yes, I do take pictures of my food: I can revel in them at will, remember exactly what I was thinking or doing, ascribe circumstance or tradition, have them stand out as markers in that timeline of life. They are mine… and now they are yours.