Archive for May, 2011

It’s a pretty exciting day in the studio when I get to set stuff on fire!

This flaming corn rocketship image illustrates the cover story of Foreign Policy magazine: “The Food Issue: The New Geopolitics of Food.”

It was intriguing, thinking about how to build a rocket from corn cobs—especially fun figuring out how to show it blasting off. (Of course my mad-scientist cohort was food stylist, Lisa Cherkasky.) The rocket body was constructed with pins and mounted on a rod (retouched out). The flames are real. We doused the cornhusk with rubber cement and just lit it up! We did the same to the wheat below, also for the Food Issue. My inner 8-year-old pyromaniac was thrilled!

To get the wind effect in the “Dust Bowl” image below, my assistant, Isaac Oboka manned the canned air, and aimed it into the bowl of whole-wheat flour.

Shooting pretty food is lovely—it makes my heart sing—but it is cool to do something completely different sometimes! I love working with creative art directors who bring me unusual challenges.

These images (and several others from this Foreign Policy cover story) are also featured as my Spring editorial campaign highlight on the excellent photography site, AtEdge, where you can also view my Spring advertising campaign highlights and selections from my portfolio.

I love futzing (sp? Is it a word), and I love that I have a time limit.

Definitely want to get the shot set up before the real food arrives.

This illustration shows you how the process went when I shot these “Grilled Loin Chops Served With Mango and Lime Salad” for Australian Lamb.

To every destination, there is a journey. Like any journey, the trip to a final image in a shoot has its stages. I ask myself questions before, during (and sometimes after): “Where am I going, and why? What do I want to see when I arrive? How do I get there? What things do I need to bring with me? Now that I’m here, why isn’t this exactly as I imagined? Oooo, look at that over there, can we try that?” Keeping my eyes and mind open, I see options along the way. Usually, I arrive someplace that is a little different from where I planned, but every step brings me to the destination, when I can say, “Ahhh…this is where I wanted to be all along.”

The shot above is a final image I made for World of Flavor, a consumer cookbook for Levine & Associates’ client, Meat & Livestock Australia: “Grilled Lamb Loin Chops with Mango and Lime Salad.” Let me show you how we got to this destination…

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Dov sent me this email and his photos about an “ever so average day in Tzfat.” I wish we could join him…

“I wanted to show you a few pictures from a day we had last week that just seemed too awesome. Hope you enjoy!
After volunteering at my kindergarten we headed over to Tzfat Holy Cheese (one of the things this city is famous for, apparently). We made some cheese with Yehoshua, a cheese master.

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While we were in Israel, Dov took us to his favorite spot for shawarma. It’s in Hod Hashron, near Alexander Muss High School in Israel, where he’s been based since March. He LOVES this place, and whenever they are on the campus, he has to eat there.

Shawarma is the Middle Eastern street-food specialty of spit-roasted meats (shaved lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, or a mixture) and traditional accompaniments. Our first visit to this stall was during Passover, and I thought everything was delicious, even without laffah, the traditonal bread wrapper.

One of the world’s great sandwiches, shawarma is (almost) exactly what Lisa Cherkasky requested as a personal souvenier of our trip! Not only my food-stylist accomplice, Lisa is also a great writer and has a fab blog on sandwiches, “Lunch Encounter.” She asked for sandwich pix from our trip, but it turned out that the ones she used on her blog are actually sans bread, as they were from our Passover visit—so, in her blog post, she called that a “promise sandwich.”

The last day we were in Israel, Passover was over, so we finally got to taste shawarma wrapped in yummy laffah. Even though I said in Lisa’s blog that it was ‘all about the sides’…I confess: I now feel it’s the bread that pulls everything together! With everything mixed inside, all the flavors have a chance to meld together.

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To celebrate Spring, Marty and I visited our cousins, Lissa & Niles in Charleston, SC. Had this yummy Fried Catfish BLT at Husk Restaurant, but the best meal I had was Lissa’s shrimp and grits. They were so simple and unpretentious.

Husk Chef Sean Brock’s guideline is, “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door.”

This freeze-dried okra decorates their tables.

I am trying to hang on to that wonderful vacation state of mind for a little longer. Posting these images brings back that feeling.

We visited the 9/11 Memorial in Jerusalem… How interesting that this is one of the first completed memorials.

I like how the flag folds represent the twin towers.

They say King Herod was a visionary builder.  Caesarea on the Mediterranean (below) is definitely a beautiful vision…

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