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October 1st, 2014

To Attract Business, Food Photography Duo Builds Dream Kitchen for Food Stylists

BurkleHagen's dual kitchen. ©Andrew Burkle and David Hagen

BurkleHagen’s dual kitchen. ©Andrew Burkle and David Hagen

When food photographers Andrew Burkle and David Hagen formed a partnership last year and began planning their 6,000 square-foot studio space in Cleveland, they asked food stylists for ideas and input about how to build the kitchens. Burkle, whom we recently interviewed about his transition from assistant to professional photographer, explained that when food clients are planning ad campaigns, they often hire food stylists first, and then ask those stylists for recommendations for photographers. “We want to make the stylists happy,” Burkle says. “If they’re happy, they can be the best sales force in the world.”

We followed up to ask Burkle: What did stylists request? And what did you incorporate in your studio design based on their input? Here’s an edited version of Burkle’s email response:

We only shoot food, so we wanted our kitchen to be the focal point [of our studio]. We wanted to present it like a lit theater stage as soon as you enter the studio. We wanted it to look great, work great, and be comfortable and efficient for all stylists. While planning the kitchen we interviewed [about a dozen stylists] on the phone or in person. We just asked, “What is your ideal work kitchen?” and “What works well, and what makes your job difficult?”

[They requested] a lot of counter space, a bright, very well lit work area, large sinks (multiple if possible), enough floor space to be able to move around with multiple people in the kitchen, two refrigerators and two freezers, and lots of pantry and cabinet space. Other small things were more electrical outlets to plug in small appliances, close proximity to the sets, and a separate prep area hidden from clients.

[The work space] is basically two kitchens. Each side has its own 4’ x 10’ island, double oven, 5 burner cooktop and hood, dishwasher, large farm sink, and pull down (retractable) extension outlets from the ceiling. The [tops of the] two kitchen islands  are made of restored bowling lane [flooring]. Both islands are on casters [so the space arrangement is flexible]. We designed the islands for stylists’ legs to fit underneath, while optimizing storage space for pots, pans and utensils in custom-made cabinets and drawers. I guess many stylist work at studios where the work stations don’t  have leg room [so] they have to side-saddle the table and it creates an awkward work position.

The floor of the kitchen is different from the polished concrete of the rest of the studio. We put a high density foam down and then covered it with wood paneling to give it a ballet floor feel. Food stylists are on their feet the whole day, so the floor is easy on their feet and back.

Behind the back wall of the kitchen, hidden from the view of clients, is a pantry, and a prep room. The hidden pantry is a precaution in case we are shooting for one client, but we are also stocked with a competitor’s product (it happens). The “contraband” will be out of sight. The prep area has a desk, and stylists often use it as an office.  If they need to take a call or send an email, they can [do so] and not have to be seen by clients.

The kitchen has been a big hit. After every shoot we try to ask what is working well, and if there is anything that we can fix to make it better.  We ask if there are any appliances, dishware, or utensils that they wished they could have had. We want to keep improving.

So far, food stylist really like working here.  We really want to do everything we can to keep it that way.

Related:
From Assistant to Pro: Andrew Burkle, Food Photographer
Studio Tour: Jody Dole’s Dream Studio (for PDN subscribers)

May 21st, 2014

Advice From the Trenches for Graduating Photography Students

Classes in photography can be a leg up to landing a job as an assistant or getting started in the photography business, but real-world experience often teaches practical lessons not taught in photo schools. What are the important lessons photographers didn’t learn in school, that photographers found themselves scrambling to make up after college?  We recently rounded up some advice for recent graduates (published on PDNOnline). We also asked photographers David Brandon Geeting, Cody Cloud and Andrew Burkle for their perspectives.

Geeting, a Brooklyn-based editorial photographer, graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2011, and worked as a photo assistant and did other jobs before going into business for himself in 2012. Burkle, a food photographer shooting advertising for national brands, graduated from Ohio University in 2009, and worked as a photo assistant in Chicago before opening a studio last year in Cleveland with photographer David Hagen. Cody Cloud shoots fashion in Los Angeles with his partner, Julia Galdo. He earned his MFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 2005.

Here’s what they told us about the things they wished they’d learned in school, and their advice for new graduates.

What skills do you wish you’d learned while you were in school–but didn’t– that would have helped you most when you got out?

David Brandon Geeting: I wish I would have taken more studio classes and learned more lighting techniques. I shoot a lot of work in the studio now, and everything I do is totally self-taught. When I was in school, I just walked around with a 35mm point-and-shoot camera and made C-prints of off-kilter moments and funny trash on the street. I had no plans of shooting commercially – I thought I would make a living as an artist. I thought I’d be having solo exhibitions and publishing weird books. That is still the goal, but in the meantime I am doing the best I can to survive with self-taught techniques that I could have learned before graduating.

Andrew Burkle: I really wish I had gotten more input on how to price myself and bid on jobs. The problem was that we learned invoicing but not bidding, [which] is a hard skill to teach and standardize. In the beginning I was probably under bidding and getting work, but vastly under valuing myself as well as inadvertently lowering the standard cost for other bidding photographers.  I think that is a common young photographers mistake though. It is an important step to start pricing yourself correctly.  Even if that means losing out on some work.  If you know your work has value, you have to stick to your price.

Cody Cloud: I wish we would have learned more technical lighting and more Photoshop. Where I went to school they didn’t emphasize the technical side, and coming out of school, my [Photoshop] skills weren’t up to par for jumping into the real world. I assisted a long time. That’s how I learned to light. Julia [Galdo] does the Photoshop so the partnership works out good.

What advice do you wish you had gotten (or heeded) before you graduated?

Geeting: The best piece of advice I got in school was from Joseph Maida, my junior seminar teacher. The thing he said that stuck with me was, “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader,” which is actually a Robert Frost quote, but it applies so well to photography. I didn’t pay much attention to these words at that time – I was too busy being a self-righteous college kid – but they were always in the back of my mind. Today, I might have a pre-conceived idea before I start shooting, and even if that idea is illustrated exactly as I had imagined in my mind, there’s a good chance that it won’t be very interesting to look at. If you are not surprised by what you are shooting as you are shooting it, no one else will be. Being able to adapt is so important. Leaving room for change and happy accidents is something I have built my practice on.

Burkle: I learned this eventually on my own: Very few [people], if any, will appreciate you. You have to work hard, work often and keep your head up. You will most likely be poor for a while. However, once you’ve proven to people that you are hard working, persistent, talented and easy to work with, the world will start to take notice.  This process can take a few months or even a few years.  Unfortunately, your degree in photography is for your own peace of mind.  The photo world estimates your worth in real-world experience.

What professional advice do you have for students who are just graduating?

Geeting: GET A BLOG. And update it every day. Make something every day. If you really love what you’re doing, it shouldn’t be a chore. You don’t need to spend a bunch of money on a leather portfolio or promo cards or whatever people think will get them noticed. Just make the work. And then get up the next day and make it again. If you are putting in the work, good things will happen to you. That’s just how the world works – the energy you exert will come back to return the favor. I really believe that.

Burkle: Keep on top of your technology–cameras, capture software, photoshop, new equipment and techniques, archiving software, etc.–and shoot as much as possible for yourself.  The latter seems obvious, but I fell victim to this early after graduating. When you start working 60 hour weeks for someone else and you don’t have much access to studio time, shooting for yourself becomes a struggle  very quickly.  FInd the time.  Work on weekends.  No one will hire you for the portfolio you “want” to create.  Clients hire photographers, not assistant with potential.

Cloud: I would tell students to work on talking about their work. In every meeting, you have to pitch your ideas. Clients need to hear exactly what you’re going to do and the reason for it. You have to articulate it so they can get it. That’s going to help you get jobs.

Related stories:
So You’ve Just Graduated With a Photography Degree. Now What?
What I  Didn’t Learn in Art School: Life Lessons from 10 Photographers (for PDN subscribers)
Creative Pitches That Land Advertising Clients
The Money Issue: Estimating 2.0: Bidding on an All-Media Library Shoot (for PDN subscribers)

May 6th, 2013

Katie Quinn Davies and Gather Journal Win 2013 James Beard Awards for Food Photography

From the Starters section of the Summer 2012 issue of Gather Journal, which was part of the publication's award winning submission. Photography by Joseph De Leo; food styling by Maggie Ruggiero; creative direction by Michele Outland; editing by Fiorella Valdesolo.

From the Starters section of the Summer 2012 issue of Gather Journal, which was part of the publication’s award-winning submission. Photography by Joseph De Leo; food styling by Maggie Ruggiero; creative direction by Michele Outland; editing by Fiorella Valdesolo.

 

The James Beard Foundation announced its Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards winners in New York City on May 3. Katie Quinn Davies, a commercial photographer based in Sydney, Australia, won the Photography award in the book category for What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits & Pieces. The cookbook is based on her website, WhatKatieAte.com, for which Davies develops and prepares recipes that she later styles, photographs and posts online.

The Visual Storytelling award, which recognizes excellence in photography, photojournalism and graphic design, was given to Gather Journal’s Creative Director Michele Outland and Editor Fiorella Valdesolo. Gather is a bi-annual publication that focuses on all aspects of food—from recipes and cooking to dinner parties and unique culinary experiences. The magazine’s winning submission included two sections from the Summer 2012 issue, Starters and Desserts, as well as the article “Smoke & Ash” from the Fall/Winter 2012 issue, and featured photography by Grant Cornett, Joseph De Leo, and Gentl and Hyers.

The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit based in New York City that organizes lectures, workshops, events, and other educational initiatives around the country to promote the exploration of American culinary history and culture. For the past 23 years, the organization has hosted the James Beard Foundation Awards to “recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and [who] continue to emphasize the Foundation’s mission: to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity,” according to its website.

To see the complete list of winners, visit www.jamesbeard.org/awards.

Related Articles from the PDN Archive:

Jeff Scott Wins 2012 James Beard Award for Photography
Fine-art photographer Jeff Scott won the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award in the Photography category for Notes From a Kitchen: A Journey Inside Culinary Obsession.

Cookbooks Come Out of the Kitchen
A slate of new cookbooks are using extraordinary photography to entice consumers (PDN subscribers).

How I Got That Shot: Fooling a Leica Rangefinder
Portrait and still-life photographer Grant Cornett discusses his technique of using a flash outside while shooting with a Leica.

June 8th, 2012

Photoville Brooklyn Announces Artist Talks, Workshops, Events

When the inaugural Photoville event kicks off on June 22 in Brooklyn, New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park, not only will it boast a village of exhibitions housed in 30 freight containers, it will also include plenty of educational programming and events for visitors.

The slate of artist talks, lectures, workshops and other events run June 23-24. On the 23rd, BagNewsNotes editor Michael Shaw will speak about the state of news photography, and a panel discussion moderated by Pete Brook of Prison Photography blog fame will discuss “documentary, institutional, vernacular and legal photography and the political uses of images by media.”

That night MediaStorm will give a presentation on “digital storytelling and the cinematic narrative.”

Workshops that run on both days will cover topics like analogue photography, printing, light painting and zine making.

Programming on the June 24th will include a talk about contemporary documentary photography by Ed Kashi, Lori Grinker and Benjamin Lowy, moderated by Glenn Ruga, and a talk about how photography is being used to promote human rights.

That night there is a “show and tell” opportunity for anyone who wants to bring work and talk about it for three minutes, and throughout the day the Center for Alternative Photography will run a “Tintype Photo Booth” where visitors can have their portrait made and learn about this alternative photo process.

There is a slate of exhibitions by photographers from all over the world. For example, Open Society Institute will show Wyatt Gallery’s work from Haiti; Nooderlicht in the Netherlands will present 11 photographers documenting life in prison; The Magnum Foundation will exhibit recent work by Bruce Gilden and Sim Chi Yin. Feature Shoot is showing work by young photographers, and PDN is showing the winners of The Curator contest.

Add to all this the beer garden and food, and the dog run where you can get photos taken of your pooch at play.

For more on the Photoville schedule visit their Web site: http://photovillenyc.org/about.html

May 7th, 2012

Jeff Scott Wins James Beard Award for Photography

Johnny Iuzzini

Pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini. © Jeff Scott

Fine-art photographer Jeff Scott won the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award in the Photography category for Notes From a Kitchen: A Journey Inside Culinary Obsession. The award for the self-published, two-volume book, which is a collaboration between Scott and chef Blake Beshore, was announced on Friday, May 4, 2012, in New York City.

The book doesn’t contain any recipes, but instead aims to reveal the creative process for some of the top, young chefs in America. Shot documentary-style, Scott’s photos show the chefs at work and away from the kitchen as well as their personal notebooks where menus are planned and recipes created.

Chef notebooks

Some of the notebooks included in the book. © Jeff Scott

Other finalists for the prize were food, still-life and lifestyle photographer Joseph De Leo, who was nominated for The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen, and food and travel photographer Alan Benson, who worked on Rustica: A Return to Spanish Home Cooking. Last year, Danish photographer Ditte Isager won the photography award for her work on the cookbook Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine.

The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit organization that offers “events and programs designed to educate, inspire, entertain and foster a deeper understanding of our culinary culture.” Each year the foundation recognizes people in every aspect of the food and beverage industry—from chefs and restaurateurs to cookbook authors and food writers—who have excelled in their fields. Editorial and commercial photographer Landon Nordeman received the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award in the new category of Visual Storytelling for his Saveur assignments “The Soul of Sicily,” “BBQ Nation” and “Heart of the Valley.” Also of note: Gastronomica was awarded Publication of the Year alongside the Web site Food52.

Notes from a Kitchen Book cover

Notes From a Kitchen: A Journey Inside Culinary Obsession. © Jeff Scott

To see the complete list of 2012 James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast and Journalism Award winners, go to jamesbeard.org.

Related Article:

Cookbooks Come Out of the Kitchen

April 3rd, 2012

Inaugural Photoville Event in Brooklyn to Feature 35 Exhibitions, Unique Photo Installation

United Photo Industries, a Brooklyn-based collective dedicated to exhibiting and promoting photography, has announced their first major event, which will take place at a river-front park in Brooklyn, New York, this summer from June 22-July 1.

Dubbed “Photoville,” the event at Brooklyn Bridge Park, will feature 35 concurrent exhibitions of photography from all over the world. Each exhibition will be housed in shipping containers, forming a “village” of photography exhibitions, which will be free and open to the public.

As part of the Photoville programming, PDN has joined with United Photo Industries and Brooklyn Bridge Park to produce an outdoor photo exhibition called “The Fence,” which will adorn Brooklyn Bridge Park for two months this summer.

To create the installation, more than 300 images will be printed on photographic mesh, forming a 1,000-foot fence. The images exhibited on “The Fence” will be selected from contest entries by a jury of photography curators and editors. For more information on how to enter, visit The Fence contest site here.

In addition to the exhibitions, Photoville will also feature outdoor projections, panel discussions and lectures, workshops, a food and beer garden, tents with photo gear vendors, and even a dog run.

For more information about the inaugural Photoville event visit photovillenyc.org.

February 27th, 2012

AP’s Charles Dharapak Wins Photograph of the Year in “Eyes of History” Contest

©Associate Press/Charles Dharapak. President Obama endures a pint of Guinness on a 2011 trip to Ireland.

Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press has been named Photographer of the Year in the still photography division of the 2012 “Eyes of History” contest, the White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA) has announced. Andrew Harnik of the Washington Times won the Political Photo of the Year award.

In the new media division of the competition, John Poole of NPR won first place in the Best Use of Photography & Audio (with narration). David Gilky of NPR won Best Use of Photography &Audio (natural sound). Whitney Shefte of The Washington Post won first and second place in the Best of Multimedia (in depth) category, while  Jim Lo Scalzo of EPA won first place in the Best Multimedia Package (simple) category.

Judges for the still photo competition were Ohio University professor Marcy Nighswander and photographers Bob Pearson and Ed Kashi. A full list of still photography winners will be posted here on the WHNPA site.

Judges for the new media competition were photographers Liz O. Baylen, Will Yurman, and Zach Wise. The full list of new media winners will be posted here on the WHNPA site.

The White House News Photographers Association sponsors The Eyes of History contest. This year’s winners  will be honored at the annual “Eyes of History” Gala on May 5, 2012, in Washington, DC.

November 21st, 2011

PDN PhotoPlus Fundraiser for Japan Relief Raises More Than $8k for Red Cross

A print auction held at the annual PDN PhotoPlus Expo Bash on October 28 raised more than $8,000 for the Red Cross’s relief efforts in Japan, PDN PhotoPlus Expo has announced.

Harry Benson, Douglas Kirkland, Susan Meiselas, John Isaac and Art Streiber were among the 50 photographers who donated prints for the benefit silent auction.

Unique Photo, Fuji Film and Modernage sponsored the event, held at Highline Stages in New York City, which featured live music by Tyburn Saints and was attended by more than 1,200 people.

“It was important for us as an organization, and an industry, to organize an event that would give us an opportunity to participate in the worldwide efforts to help the victims in Japan,” Jeff McQuilkin, Group Show Director for The Nielsen Company, said. “Obviously, the photographic industry has strong ties to Japan and its culture and was deeply affected by the disaster. The fundraising event was one way we could show our support.”

“It was amazing how the industry came together to support this event,” added Lauren Wendle, Vice President, Nielsen Photo Group. “Everyone had a great time but never seemed to lose sight of fundraising aspect of the event. The print auction was very active and we want to extend our warmest thanks to the photographers who donated prints, and our guests who bid and bought them.”

April 13th, 2011

Photo Auction/Event to Benefit Japan Rebuilding To Be Held Next Week in NYC

A silent auction of photographic prints to benefit relief efforts in Japan will be held next Thursday, April 21 at 25CPW Gallery in New York City. The auction is being organized by a group of NY-based Japanese and American photographers, and includes work donated by more than 60 photographers.

Ticket sales for the event, and 100% of proceeds will go to Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit organization that is helping rebuild communities affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

Participating photographers include Gilles Bensimon, Kenro Izo, Elliott Erwitt, Jean Gaumy, Lois Conner, Nina Berman, Suzanne Opton, Wayne Liu, James Whitlow Delano, Jonathan Mannion, and Stephen Ferry.

In addition to a silent auction, the event will feature Japanese-themed live music, food and drink.

The event is dubbed The Wa Project, after the ancient Japanese term, which “dates back to the 8th century and means many things,” says a statement by the organizers. “It is the ancient name of the spirit of the country itself. It also stands for peace and calm and is a symbol of the circle, unity, and harmony.”

The Wa Project is being produced through a partnership with Nuru Project, 25CPW and Sombra Projects, with contributions from the Magnum Foundation and Friends Without Borders.

For more information on participating artists, and to purchase tickets, please visit http://waphotographyauction.com/.

December 23rd, 2010

PDN Video Pick: Dan Saelinger’s Popsicles

This short piece by Dan Saelinger plays with the visual possibilities of melting popsicles. Created as a test, the video expanded on the concept of one of Saelinger’s still-life photographs.

Popsicles from Dan Saelinger on Vimeo.

If you have a video you would like us to consider for PDN’s Video Picks, just send a link to editor@pdnonline.com.