Freelance Photographer Cambridge - Blog | 06 - Bric-à-Brac

January 11, 2017
bokeh photographic (Alistair Grant): Food & Drink Photographer; Commercial Photographer, Product Photographer & Packshot Photographer; Event Photographer; Portrait Photographer; Corporate Photographer & PR Photographer; Engagement Photographer & Wedding Photographer and Photography Training Courses in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Bedford, St Neots, St Ives and London. Freelance Photographer & Freelance Photography Services in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and across the UK.    
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   Alistair Grant 

Freelance Photographer Cambridge & London

     
     

bokeh photographic: Blog No: 06

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Bric-à-Brac

The local bric-à-brac shop closed down over a year ago and I remain at a loss. There simply isn’t anything comparable in terms of sourcing props for food and drink photography. Before explaining the nature of the problem it’s probably useful to clarify the importance of props.

Some food and drink photography shoots incorporate ‘everyday’ tableware, glassware and cutlery e.g. a restaurant meal photographed on a plate that real diners are served food upon. However, just a few manufacturers supply the mainstream UK restaurant market and so industry-standard tableware is exactly as described; generic and thus rather uninteresting. Therefore, most shoots incorporate props; a term derived from property in terms of an object, owned by the (theatrical) company, used to further the action in a play. By props I mean anything connected with the preparation and consumption of food & drink. Props can be classified into ‘new’ and ‘used’ although used doesn’t necessarily mean antique. In addition to aesthetic considerations, food and drink props provide context and can help in ‘telling the story’ of the products that are being photographed.

I particularly miss the ad hoc shopping experience of the local bric-à-brac. Generally speaking, I don’t need a complete cutlery or tableware set when sourcing props for a food & drink shoot - one or two items will suffice. Nor do I usually require rare or valuable props. This is where the bric-à-brac was unparalleled. It was excellent for sourcing eclectic odds & ends of no great financial value but which could intangibly add value to a photographic shoot. The caveat was randomness. Anyone shopping for a specific item was in for a disappointment. Most of my purchases were impulse buys as having only a vague idea of what you were after was key to the success of any visit.

The alternatives are a poor substitute. Antique dealers occasionally sell odd items - as opposed to a complete set - but these are usually high-end and/or rare pieces and are thus expensive. The well organised charity sector seems to have more or less reinvented itself as a low end antique dealer selling complete but mass produced sets on the high street. The days of finding odds & ends in a charity shop seem long gone. Sellers on internet sites such as eBay are often covert antique dealers whilst the rise in the number of food bloggers has driven up price through increased competition. Added to this are P&P costs which greatly stack up when purchasing items from a number of different sellers.

On my last visit the day before the bric-à-brac closed I considered putting in an offer for the unsold stock but decided against when I thought about practicalities. Instead I took advantage of the closing down sale to purchase a 1914 Eastman Kodak Film Tank complete with original perforated developing spool (which allows the developing solution to wash over the film emulsion). Completely useless for developing modern films but I had my eye on it for years!

I’m overlooking the fact that certain restaurants and photographers (I'm not among them!) use specially manipulated versions of standard plates to make portion sizes appear larger.

   
     

Call Alistair Grant on 07775 365507, Email alistair.grant@bokehphotographic.co.uk or click Booking Enquiries if you have any questions or would like to make a booking.

   
     

bokeh: "the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens"


Freelance Photographer offering Food & Drink Photography Cambridge; Commercial Photography Cambridge, Product Photography Cambridge & Packshot Photography Cambridge; Event Photography Cambridge; Portrait Photography Cambridge; Corporate Photography Cambridge & PR Photography Cambridge; Engagement Photography Cambridge & Wedding Photography Cambridge and Photography Training Courses in Cambridge. Also covering: Huntingdon, St. Ives, Ramsey, St. Neots, Peterborough, Bedford, Stamford, Newmarket, Sawtry, Alconbury Weston, Brampton, Hartford, Warboys, Houghton, Wyton, Godmanchester, Hilton, Hemingford Grey, Hemingford Abbots, Fenstanton, Whittesley, Yaxley, Needingworth, Somersham, Chatteris, Ely, Bar Hill, Grafham and Buckden.

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bokeh photographic - Alistair Grant | Freelance Photographer | Cambridge, London, UK

Food & Drink Photography | Commercial Photography & Product Photography | Corporate Photography & PR Photography | Portrait Photography (inc. 'Active Portraiture') | Event Photography | Wedding Photography | Photography Training Courses & Camera Tuition

Tel: 07775 365507 | Email: alistair.grant@bokehphotographic.co.uk