50s Diner Food Shoot

I don't even remember how we came up for the concept of this shoot. Perhaps it had to do with Tim and I both being ex-smokers, but loving the way smoke looks as it wafts gently, creating patterns reminiscent of incense burning.  It also may have been the dining table we own, something that Tim picked up at a thrift store during his divorce.  In any case, we came up with the idea to shoot a scene that looks like an old diner breakfast back when men were men, they smoked, drank black coffee, and ate eggs and bacon for breakfast. 

The prop shopping may have been the most fun part of this shoot. We scoured antique stores here in Austin until we found the perfect gold ashtray, bought some cheap tableware from restaurant supply stores and even hit some Dollar Stores.  We started out using sad battery-hen eggs you get in the Styrofoam containers (wrong on so many levels) but the yolks were anemic, so we ended up using our favorite brand, Vital Farms, which promises bright orange, sunset-colored yolks.  We even bought Pall Mall cigarettes and pink packets of sweetener to complete the look. Tim came up with the composition to include the table's metal banding framing the bottom of the picture, and we set up the hero shot that way.  Then I nabbed some overhead shots of the table.  We also loved the ripped look of our red vinyl kitchen stools, so we included that in the background for the test shoot of cigarettes and coffee. 

I hope you enjoy these images as much as we do.  Gross, but pretty, right?

50s Diner Breakfast Scene
Coffee and Cigarettes

High Brew Coffee Product Shoot

What a pleasure to have High Brew Coffee over to the home studio for a product and lifestyle photo shoot.   High Brew wanted their colorful cans to stand out boldly against a neutral, yet stylish background.  During the drink photography preproduction meeting, we came up with the idea of shooting on a concrete surface with a white background.  Additionally, it was important for the image elements (the can, flavor indicators, surface and background) to be flexible and moveable for future use.  Fortunately Tim, our master retoucher, is able to create layered Photoshop files with each element, including shadows, on a separate knock-out layer.  In a few weekends Tim and I got busy creating a custom concrete surface to shoot on and mastered the art of applying condensation drops to the cans by hand.  All the hard prep work paid off, as the client was happy with the results and the two day shoot went off without a hitch.  One of my personal favorite varieties is the Salted Caramel, below.  It not only tastes delicious and indulgent, but the flavor indicators next to the product turned out gorgeously.  Tim also had fun playing with some of the images with splash photography and some experimental compositions.

Persephone Queen of the Underworld

I recently worked with my partner Tim Brisko on a new still life photo.  We wanted to combine food photography with photo illustration.  In this piece, Persephone, we explore the symbolism of the myth of Persephone, the young maiden, daughter of Demeter, who found herself torn between two worlds, the underworld of Hades and the earth of her mother.  The pomegranate represents Persephone, split in two between her husband king of the underworld and her mother, goddess of the harvest and the seasons.  Three lone pomegranate seeds have fallen on the table, representing the three seeds she ate while in the underworld, which sealed her fate as queen of the underworld.  Hades is represented by the hourglass and Demeter by the shafts of wheat.  Foliage continues to grow, as nature always returns and takes over the earth.  The moth was a fun addition, with a nod to Dutch and Renaissance still life painters, who would often include a hyper-realistic living element, such as an insect, as a trompe l'oeil, or trick of the eye.  Thankfully Tim is a very talented retoucher and was able to add the moth in post production seamlessly.  We enjoyed working on this project together and look forward to future creative collaborations.