Friday, August 28, 2009

the wedding countdown begins...

Since this is my last official year shooting weddings, I definitely want to celebrate the remaining couples with whom I am working.

My most recent couple was Staci and Tim, and they were two of the sweetest, most easy-going people I have ever photographed.

Tim and Staci opted for a super simple wedding, wanting to avoid all of the expense and drama that a larger wedding can create. So, they had an afternoon wedding at their church, and a lunch reception in the church social hall. 

Instead of stressing about the fact that their reception space had basketball hoops at either end of the room, Staci and Tim joked about it, filled the room with enormous white balloons, and focused on the important parts of the day-- like enjoying each other and spending time with their family and friends.

Honestly, I found these two to be so refreshing. Planning a wedding is stressful and most of us get caught up in all the things we "need" to have to make the day special. In reality, though, so few of the things that we think matter actually do. Tim and Staci knew this.

As a photographer, it's pretty easy for me to go into a beautiful space with lavish decor and make it look great... because it already DOES look great. This wedding was a fun challenge for me because the space wasn't the typical wedding venue. I wanted to create images that celebrated the fabulousness of Tim and Staci, and also could fit right in any wedding magazine.
I hope I accomplished that.

Thank you, Tim and Staci, for being so wonderful. I wish you all the best!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

all about cookbooks

It's time to talk about cookbooks.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been contracted to do the photography for 3 upcoming cookbooks, all of which are being published by Sasquatch Books.

To say I am excited about these projects is an understatement. I am THRILLED.

In the past few weeks, I have been meeting the writers, discussing the vision for each project, and filling in shoot-dates on my calendar for the next year.

Photography for the first of the three projects is beginning now. The book is a re-release of The Northwest Essentials Cookbook, written in 1999 by Greg Atkinson, the former chef of Canlis
The original book did not include photos, but rather illustrations which were lovely and incredibly charming. In the re-release, however, my photography will replace the illustrations.

Each chapter features recipes that focus on an ingredient that is native to the Northwest. I have just begun reading the book and I already love it. I am truly honored to be creating the imagery for Greg's book.

The second book I will be working on is all about sustainable seafood. The writer is Becky Selengut, (you may know her as ChefReinvented on Twitter.)  

Becky is amazing. She is hilarious, unbelievably kind, generous, witty, as well as a kick-ass writer and fabulous chef to boot. Becky worked at The Herbfarm for 3 years, and now teaches cooking classes at PCC, is a private chef, and also a freelance writer. 
She and I recently had drinks at the fabulous Poppy, and talked about ideas for the photography, which is going to be SO FUN. I'll be sharing the process as I go, so stay tuned.

I am going to begin shooting for the third book next year. I have a really special place in my heart for this project because it's all about farms. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know my feelings about farms. 

The farm book is the brainchild of Leora Bloom, who, like me, is huge fan of farms and the people who run them. Leora is a pastry chef and a food writer, as well as a busy mom. She is also gracious and engaging and lovely. I have no doubt we will work well together.

Over the next several months, Leora is going to profile 12 (or so) farms in Washington State, writing about the ingredients each farm produces, the farmers who grow them, and the chefs who use those ingredients in their cooking. There will be a range of recipes in the book, contributed by chefs from all over the city.

There will be a lot of photos, because I get to do a mini-documentary of EVERY farm featured in the book! Plus, I'll be shooting finished recipes and ingredients. 
It's very similar to the work I have been doing for Kurtwood Farms, only on a much larger scale.

As I have already said, I am so happy and honored to be part of ALL of these projects. I couldn't have asked to work with a better group of people. Honestly.

Sasquatch has given me the go-ahead to share photos on my blog as I go, so I hope you will check back from time to time. :)

Now, after all that rambling, let's get to the photos! This is a photography blog, after all....

I have just started shooting for the Northwest Essentials Cookbook and, since it's summer, I am playing around with berries and stone fruit.  

Is this really my job? :)

**By the way, those are currants below, not grapes. Just in case anyone thought that I was photographing grapes and thinking they were in the berry family. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

My studio!

I have some fun news.

In addition to working with some pretty great clients lately, I have been hired to shoot three, (yes, THREE) upcoming cookbooks.

Yeah, it pretty much rocks. :)

Now, I am not going to talk too much about the books yet, (basically because I am not sure I am allowed to talk about them right now) but I'm sure I'll be blabbing on and on about them in the very near future. For two of the three projects, I don't begin shooting until next spring. As it says on my website, I am very much a documentary food photographer-- I like capturing the behind the scenes action when it comes to food production-- and in the two projects next year, I'll get to do a LOT of that.

The third book, however, is being shot in the next few months, and it's going to be primarily shots of ingredients and finished recipes. So, my little in-home studio that has been used for maternity and newborn shoots has been transformed into a food studio. As all photographers out there know, it can be difficult to shoot product on location; the lighting can be tricky, the props can be lacking, etc.
So, it makes my life and my clients' lives much easier if I have a reliable space in which to do my styled food shots, hence the "new" studio.

Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think I would get to buy pretty kitchen supplies AND GET TO WRITE THEM OFF!!!! Seriously! It's really a dream come true.

Below are some shots of my little space. It gets lovely light, and is the new home for the antique table I found, as well as some other cool pieces of furniture and a growing collection of dishware, linens, flatware, and pretty much any other kitchen thing you can think of. There is still some work to be done; I need to soften the window light with some vellum, add some more draping options, as well as a few other things.
Overall, though, this place makes me so happy. I go in there throughout the day and I just smile.

Oh, and yes, there is a chaise in there, which may confuse some people. I still use this space for maternity shoots, and that chaise is quite a hit with the pregnant ladies. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Adela likes the camera

It's always amazing to see how kids change in between portrait shoots. The last time I saw Adela, she only had a few words in her vocabulary and was a little wary of the camera. Well, that is not the case any longer! This girl likes to pose and, I must say, she looks pretty darn cute doing it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Portland mural update, (aka: an ode to Joe)

A lot of people have been asking for an update about the mural Joe has been working on in Portland. I talked about it a few weeks ago here.
The mural still has a long way to go, but I do have some updated pics.

First, though, I thought I would talk a little bit about my husband, Joe.
(Here we are in a rare photo together. Thank you Laurel!)

Joe is a fabulous artist, specializing in oil painting and print-making. I really do not think I am exaggerating when I say he is amazing.

As you can see from the images above, though, Joe tends to focus on more, um, emotionally-charged subject matter.

So, in a way, it's kinda funny that he's painting this French-inspired mural. But that's the thing about him...he seems to be able to do anything. I, on the other hand, have, like, one talent. But, Joe is this amazing person who is so kind and funny, who puts people at ease and is overly generous of his time and energy. He is an awesome musician and creates hilarious song lyrics about ANYTHING on the spot. And he can cook!
Joe inspires me every day, and I feel so lucky to be married to this man.

Below are a few more details of his current mural project. I promise to post again when the project is complete, but these will have to suffice for now.

Since this post has become all about Joe, I may as well tell you a few more things.

Joe worked in the restaurant industry for 15 years. Some of you may remember him managing the bar at Maximilien, or working at Stars when it existed in Pacific Place, or when he worked at 727 Pine, before Ruth's Chris took over the space.
Anyway, he worked in restaurants for a good long while and was VERY good at his job. But, those of you in the industry may sympathize when I say that the hours in restaurants are TOUGH. Especially when you are in a relationship with a person who does NOT work in the industry, (like yours truly.)
So, for the past 4 or 5 years, Joe has been branching out on his own and exploring his other skills.
I am so proud of him for taking this leap because, as everyone knows, leaving an industry that has been profitable is a very hard thing to do, (as I am learning first-hand these days!)
This is one of the reasons I promote Joe every chance I get. As a self-employed married couple, it is our job to support one another at every turn.

With that in mind, I have to tell you about Joe's OTHER job, (when he's not doing murals or portraits or commissions):

Joe is also a handyman, and a damn good one, if I may say so myself!
This means that he is available for ALL KINDS of home projects, ranging from something as small as painting a room or installing a light fixture to something as large as refinishing a basement or installing a hardwood floor.
If you are looking for a handyman, then drop him a line. His email is joebarboza68 at yahoo dot com.

If you are in need of a bigger job, (like a remodel for your home or commercial property) you should look into Sunde Builders.

Joe works with Peder Sunde on larger projects and, I must say, Peder is fantastic. He has a passion for sustainable building and he is an incredible artist and craftsman. Check out his website!

So, thanks for reading all my ramblings about my husband. I just think he's awesome, and I think you'd like him, too.

In conclusion, I would like to leave you with two final images of Zoe the bulldog.
Remember those scalding days in Seattle last week? Well, it was even hotter in Portland, (107!!)

Below, Zoe is donning her ice-water soaked towel.

It's a hard life.