I work from home, and by myself, most of the time. Because of this isolation, I’m always looking for ways to keep myself inspired and my work continually evolving. I like to keep the challenges coming and to extend myself as much as possible. I’m a self-taught food photographer and I think I tend to doubt my abilities, to some extent. So, when I saw a photography workshop advertised by outstanding food photographer, Helene Dujardin of Tartelette fame, I knew I had to fly to the other side of the world to take up this opportunity.
I’ve followed and admired Helene’s delightful Tartelette blog for a couple of years now and have to say, I’m in love her style of food, photography, and writing. Her work always makes me feel transported to a beautiful and delicious place. It truly makes me smile. To be able to meet Helene in person and learn from her seemed like the chance of a lifetime and something I didn’t want to miss. I’m so glad I took this opportunity, as Helene is as lovely and gifted in real life as she appears on her blog.
The amazing bonus of this course was being introduced to three other talented tutors. I loved working with artist and skilled documentary food photographer, Clare Barboza, super-expert food-stylist, Tami Hardeman, and professional on-site caterer, Laura Vein of Small Batch Bakery. I can’t thank these four incredible women enough for sharing their vast knowledge, brilliant talent, style, passion, spirit, insight, and downright wonderfulness with me.
The workshop was so cleverly structured and we got to experience and practice many different aspects of food photography – from capturing essential raw ingredients at the Charleston Farmers’ Market, to preparation, propping and styling. And we got to play with all of Helene’s remarkable props that I have coveted for the longest time. Woo hoo! We went behind the scenes at Lana Restaurant to practice documentary food photography, and then enjoy a fabulous meal afterwards. Thanks to the chefs and staff at Lana for letting us into your world, and for such a delicious dinner!
A cross between a boot camp / retreat / seaside holiday (vacation), this workshop was everything all rolled into one incredible long weekend. It was such a blast. It felt intense at times (lots of concentration needed), and also mellow (shared laughter, shared meals, and lots of delicious wine!!!) The other dynamic aspect of this time was getting to know my fellow students. What a wonderful group of people you all are! Thanks for sharing this hugely memorable experience with me. I think we all learnt a lot from each other, as well – I know I did.
Sixteen of us stayed for four nights in a fantastic, big, spacious beach-house on the Isle of Palms, near Charleston, South Carolina. The house was just a hop, skip and a jump away from a glorious beach. Walks on the beach were part of our daily routine and photogenic inspiration was never far away.
Even though I personally seemed to have quite a few technical glitches (sorry about that, team – I blame it all on jet-lag), I would not have missed this workshop for the world. I learnt a huge amount from y’all - this addition to my knowledge is priceless. And more than anything, I valued the chance to spend time with an amazing group of hugely talented and passionate people and to focus on the art and craft of food photography. I know your skill, artistry, creativity, and encouragement will continue to inspire me for years to come.
I could rave on and on, but I feel words can’t adequately describe what this workshop meant to me, so I'll let my photos do the talking now. As the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words... I think you'll be able to tell I had an incredible time in a great place with amazing, inspirational people. True bliss.
|Gorgeous beach-house setting - a place where we could feel inspired to create|
|The beach was where we could wander, clear our heads, and reflect on each day's lessons|
|Colourful Charleston Farmers' Market provided plenty of inspiration|
|These turkey burgers sure looked good - wish I could have had one but I was too busy capturing as much as I could with my camera.|
|The chefs at Charleston's Lana Restaurant are stars - thanks guys for letting us into your kitchen and for a wonderful meal. It was a real buzz to be able to take candid shots at Lana.|
|I loved having someone else's props to play with - thanks Helene Dujardin!|
|And good projects to immerse ourselves in...|
|I'll end this post on a sugary high, with true American chocolate chip cookies|