Freelance Photographer Cambridge - Blog | 23 - (The Shadow is Dead) Long Live The Shadow

May 25, 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: 23

 Freelance Photographer Cambridge Blog Image | Blog 23 | (The Shadow is Dead) Long Live the Shadow (Picture of Images from a 1970s Cookbook). © bokeh photographic (Alistair Grant): Freelance Photographer; 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, St Ives, Cambridge. Blog 23 – (The Shadow is Dead) Long Live the Shadow (Picture of Images from a 1970s Cookbook) | bokeh photographic - Alistair Grant | Freelance Photographer in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Bedford, St Neots, St Ives and London. Blog 23 – (The Shadow is Dead) Long Live the Shadow (Picture of Images from a 1970s Cookbook) by Alistair Grant. Food & Drink Photography; Commercial Photography, Product Photography & Packshot Photography; Event Photography; Portrait Photography; Corporate Photography & PR Photography; Engagement Photography & Wedding Photography and Photography Training Courses in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and across the UK.

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(The Shadow Is Dead) Long Live The Shadow 

Every now and again I find myself having a completely bizarre albeit highly entertaining conversation. Most recently it was an exchange with somebody who outright denied that food photography has changed over the years. Firmly entrenched in the opposite corner, my opponent was adamant that the food & drink images we see now are exactly the same as those taken 10, 20 and even 40 years ago. After a few rounds of gentle sparring (‘of course food photography style has evolved’ vs. ‘food photography always has been and always will be the same’) I decided to land a knock-out blow by producing a 1970s cookbook. It’s probably best to gloss over exactly why I had a 1970s cookbook to hand. Nonetheless it had the desired effect.

Although entirely acceptable at the time 1970s food photography when viewed these days is an acquired taste – excuse the pun! I should also point out that this is not simply down to the dated dishes featured in the cookbooks or the colour degradation of materials used to produce the cookbooks. What immediately strikes you is the overtly warm and earthy colour palette. Oh those browns, for there is a lot of them, not to mention deep yellows, oranges and reds – think Pantone 19-1543 TCX. Reflecting established practice of the time food & drink was almost exclusively shot under artificial light (as opposed to ambient light) and so a yellow/orange colour cast was the norm due to the limitations of the lighting technologies of the period. In fact, an 81, 82 or even 85 series warming filter was often used to increase colour temperature. Additionally, although not low-key, tonal ranges tended towards the lower half of the histogram. However, it is not the overall level of light and dark that I particularly notice in 1970s food & drink photography. It is the shadows. Those on the ball will have realised this signifies shooting with ‘hard light’.

The current dominant style in food & drink photography is ‘bright & light’. Some refer to it as ‘popped’. The colour temperature of images is typically cool throughout the tonal range. As well as being bright, light & cool the most obvious difference, at least to a photographer, is the (sometimes complete) absence of shadows thanks to the use of soft-boxes and other light diffusion techniques. I can’t find anything to substantiate this claim but many attribute this style to the Australian cook and food stylist Donna Hay. The contrast of 1970s warm & earthy imagery to contemporary bright, light & cool styling cannot be more pronounced. Nevertheless, the more subtle point I was making to my sparring partner was that photographic style changes in small, barely perceptible, steps. Although styling differences between images shot years apart are obvious change ‘in progress’ is more different to detect. My take is that we are currently in style transition although this change is perhaps only noticeable to the trained eye. Whilst bright, light & cool remains in fashion and probably will do for some time, the shadow is gradually returning. Hard light food & drink photography may yet see a renaissance! Of course, as a savvy Food & Drink Photographer I never really abandoned hard lighting as it can be used to great effect when shooting certain food & drink products. My favourite application is to direct a 'bare-bulb' strobe from a low angle one side to produce beautiful shadows on the contra-lateral side of confectionery, especially chocolate, to emphasise dimensionality.

   
     

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