Tuesday, January 31, 2012

i have an idea

I know, I know, you are really wanting me to get back to the cookbook shoot...and I will! I promise. The next post will be all about that.
But I had an idea last night and I wanted to throw it out there.

I get inquiries all the time about my farm to table classes. I have to be honest-- while those classes are some of my very favorite ones to teach, they are the hardest to schedule.

First, we are dealing with the Northwest, which means the best time to schedule any kind of farm visitation is in the summer or early fall. The problem is that the farmers are working 7 days a week at that time of year, and it's nearly impossible to find a time for students to visit their property, particularly if they are a small operation.

Second, most farms are outside of the city. This, of course, makes total sense and makes for a lovely road trip. But it means arranging transportation for 7-10 people and spending a large part of the day in the car. It also limits which farms we can go to because many of them are too far away.

Lastly, the natural-light-food-photography component of the class can't happen unless there is a space to teach it. Meaning, not only do I need to find a farm (or two or three) where I can bring students, I also need a space filled with natural light where we can prepare food, hook up computers, and practice food photography. Most farms don't have the space for this type of thing.

That all being said, these are surmountable obstacles. The conclusion I have come to, however, is that the class should be a few days and not just one. That way, one day can be spent visiting and documenting farms and another can be focused on food photography. Distance becomes less of an issue if the class is a few days long and not just 8 hours.

That all being said, I am thinking about planning a 2 day, 3-night workshop in early fall. At this point, I am fairly set on Whidbey Island because there are several great farms out there, and I know of a perfect place I can rent that can accommodate a number of people overnight, has a great kitchen and ample natural light, and is in a lovely location. A couple farms have already expressed interest and my husband has volunteered to do all the meal preparation for the entire time, (he's a keeper.)

So, what are your thoughts? Would this be interesting to you?
I would love to hear feedback before I move forward.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

2 more workshops you should know about

I am taking a short break from the cookbook shoot posts, (the finale will come later this week) to tell you about 2 more workshops on my Cross Country Roadtrip Extravaganza.

I have already mentioned the workshop that is happening in Southern California on April 21st. Now it's time to tell you about two of the weekends following that one.

First, on April 28th, I will be teaching a class 45 minutes outside of Denver, Colorado at the farm owned by Fruition Restaurant.
This restaurant was recommended to me by my cousin who lives in Denver, and was hailed as one of their all-time favorite spots in the city. After talking to the chef and learning more about the philosophy at Fruition, we both decided that their farm would be the best spot to hold the class. Not only do students get to learn about natural light food photography, but they will also get the opportunity to capture a sense of place and tell a story about a working farm with their photos.
The class is $300 and includes lunch. (NOTE: the deadline for registration is April 12)

Then, on May 12th, I will be in Poland, Ohio, (which is located 1 hour from Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Akron/Canton, and 6 hours from Chicago and NYC) at the lovely studio of Kate Echle.
This class will cover all the basics of natural light food photography and will focus on an entirely VEGAN menu! Kate has graciously offered to include breakfast, coffee and tea, and I will provide lunch, so students will not only get to spend their day playing with food and pretty props, but they will also be very well fed!! :)
Class is $300.

To register for either workshop, please email me at clare at clarebarboza.com

Friday, January 27, 2012

a cookbook shoot, part 2

This is a continuation of yesterday's post.

For multiple reasons, the pace of this shoot is much faster than usual. It's pretty typical to get through 4-6 recipes in a day for a cookbook but, on this project, we've been doing 6-10 per day. Kim and Brooke have been able to do a majority of food prep the night before, which helps tremendously. By the time they arrive at the studio, most of the work has been done.
Also, we have a lot of creative freedom with this book, which is a photographer's dream come true. I have had the pleasure of being able to do pretty much whatever I want for each shot and, luckily, everyone has been happy, (knock on wood.) Most times during a cookbook shoot, each recipe needs to be styled and shot a few different ways and then the photos need to go through an approval process which often involves multiple people. Obviously, that can eat up a lot of time, and we've been extremely lucky to have a much simpler work flow. That being said, the publisher always has the final say on everything.

Today we are shooting 9 recipes. One of them, the Roasted Red Onions with Pumpkin Bread Stuffing, is a dish that I think might make a nice cover. So, I plan on shooting with that in mind.
I chose this recipe because it's pretty, it's a main dish, it's savory, (we don't want people thinking this is a dessert book) and it's kind of a "fancy" dish, (this is a book about meatless celebrations, after all!)

When choosing props, I wanted something slightly rustic because there is a rusticity to the dish. However, I didn't want something too rustic, because it might detract from the "special occasion" theme.

For example, I pulled the props below as possibilities, yet ruled out the casserole pan, the scratchy baking pan and the linen towels as too rustic.
Also, while I loved the color of the blue dishes, I didn't really want to put the onions on a plate.

I also pulled the silver as an option. But, after thinking about it, the platter was too large and the shape was wrong.

So, I chose this! I think this silver piece is a great combo of rustic and elegant. Plus, it's exactly the shape I originally envisioned.

Then, because I loved the thought of using blue in the shot, (the onions are a gorgeous shade of purple), I decided to use this surface. It's already been used once in the shoot and I am always careful not too use the same props too often in a cookbook. However, since there a quite a few shots in the book, I don't think using the same surface twice is excessive.

As for some of the other shots, I chose the props below to use for a photo of blood orange galette, (although I ended up switching out the patterned blue linens for something else.)

I chose these props for an Indian-themed dish of pakoras with chutney.

Here is Kim prepping the galette before putting it on set.

That's it for today! Stay tuned next week for the final post. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

a cookbook shoot

I could not be more honored or excited to be shooting Kim O'Donnel's second cookbook, The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations, to be published fall of this year by Da Capo.

Not only is Kim a fantastic person, but her vegetarian recipes are absolutely scrumptious and oh-so fun to photograph. Every single dish is rich with color and texture and inspires me so much I can hardly contain myself, (an opportunity to use some new props! Hooray!)

I thought I would share some of the steps and thought processes behind this shoot as it goes along. We are on day 3 right now so we are already halfway through the shot list, but you can get a sense of how things have progressed so far.
In my final post about the shoot, I will share one of the final images.

(As a side note, I just tasted the most INCREDIBLE vegan caesar salad. I am not a vegan and I have to say that, in my opinion, this salad is better than the best caesar I have ever had--and I am a salad snob. It's worth buying the book when it comes out just to have this recipe. )

my color coded shot list

Author Kim and Sous Chef Brooke working in the kitchen on day 1Photobucket

Deciding which bowls to use for the first dish (carrot fennel soup.) I already knew I was using this surface.

Getting ready for shots 2 and 3

Kim setting up before I photographed her demonstrating how to assemble stromboli

Laying out some of the props for day 2

And for day 3...

Items ready for me to style for an ingredient shot

Trying to choose linens

The dish and surface I ended up choosing for Kim's amazing poached pears

Stay tuned for more.....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

so cal workshop

Hey you, Southern California people. You know who you are. I am gonna be down your way in April, teaching a Natural Light Food Photography workshop and I think you should come.

It's on April 21st at a private home in Ladera Ranch. We're going to talk about all sorts of fun things-- props, composition, light, exposure and basically how to make your food look pretty in pictures. Since I am driving down there from Seattle, I'll be able to bring some props from my studio for you to play with.
The fee is $300 and includes lunch.

This is going to be FUN, so I hope to see you there!!

(Interested? Email me at clare at clarebarboza dot com to register.)


Monday, January 16, 2012

learning and unlearning

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When I applied to Cornish at 21 years old, I came to my interview with a portfolio comprised of nude photo studies inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite painters, and 10 drawings that completely sucked. I am not exaggerating-- they were terrible. The head of the art department accepted me on the spot, saying, "you are getting in because of your photography. You do not know how to draw. But you will learn."

And I did learn. I also learned video, some mixed media and various types of print work. But my first love was always photography.

I have been creative my whole life. As a kid, I acted, sang, and danced and had big plans to be an actress. I also loved to bake, sew, and was obsessed with interior design. In high school, I lost my taste for the superficiality of the acting world and became interested in photography. When I wasn't taking photos, I was making collages or redecorating my bedroom or writing poetry or daydreaming about making artsy films. I don't remember being afraid to try my hand at any new creative endeavor.

After 5 years of art school, I came away with a lot of new skills, a BFA, some crazy life experiences under my belt, a group of amazing friends, and a newfound confidence. I also came away with a list of rules about what it means to be an artist:

A "real artist" struggles.
A "real artist" only produces work for themselves-- if you are making work for clients then you are not an artist, you are a designer.
A "real artist" only makes work that has a deep and complicated message.
A "real artist" is a master of their craft.
A "real artist" is never materialistic.
A "real artist" is constantly obsessed with their work and very little else.
A "real artist" knows the difference between good and bad art, (and doesn't make bad art.)

Because of all my rules, I spent a very long time feeling like a massive sellout when I began making a living as a photographer. I also stopped making art for fun.

As I became a better photographer, my willingness to take risks and try other mediums ended. Why? Because I was terrified to make a fool of myself. I was scared to look stupid and make crappy art and, inevitably, prove to the world that I am actually a big fraud and not an artist after all.

I say all this in the past tense, as if it's all different now. It's not. But it's changing.
For years now, I have wanted some type of creative outlet that I can come home to. Something I can do to shut off my brain. Something that gets me back to the way that developing photos in a darkroom used to feel. Photography is intensely creative (and remains my first love) but once I am done shooting, the rest of my time is spent on the computer and the computer is not a place I need to spend more time. I have been dying to do something tangible, to make something with my hands.

So, I am learning encaustic. I have always loved the textured, layered look of the medium and it's a way I can incorporate my photography if I choose to.
I have read a couple books and taken a great workshop but, mostly, I am figuring it out on my own.

And I am making a lot of crap.

Let me just tell you, it's really hard for me to see the pile up of the horrible paintings sitting on the shelf in my little home studio. Every time I sit down to paint, all my harshest inner critics start making themselves heard, letting me know how predictable, shallow, amateur, and embarrassing my work is. Telling me how I shouldn't even try.
And yet, for the first time in years, I am still pushing on. I am still painting. And I am finally, FINALLY, starting to enjoy myself and letting it be okay that I don't know what I am doing and that I am making a whole lot of mistakes.

And, dare I say, I am actually starting to kind of like some of the pieces I'm making.

There is no moral to this story, other than I thought it was important to share. I have a tendency to hide myself and what I create until I deem myself and my work worthy to be seen. And that's something I don't want to do anymore.

That's all.

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(Some of my collage materials. Yes, that is a Playboy from 1967 there. I got it at a salvage yard in Sarasota and it is AWESOME.)

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(My little love bug, Nina, keeping me company.)

Friday, January 13, 2012

lots o' dogs

My awesome dog-walker/dog-boarder, Anthony of Left Coast Dog Services, asked me to take some photos of his canine clients. While it's not my usual gig, I couldn't say yes fast enough! What could be cooler than hanging out with cute pups???


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

{deluxe} jam

If you haven't seen the current issue of Edible Seattle, then you haven't seen the story about Rebecca Staffel and Deluxe Foods.

This was such a fun job to shoot-- Rebecca is as delightful as her jam is delicious!!


more charleston workshops!

You know that workshop I mentioned in November? The one with Helene Dujardin of Tartelette and author of Plate to Pixel? Well, it sold out in 36 hours so we are offering it again!

Actually, we are offering TWO more workshops. :)

The first one is November 1st through the 5th and it's almost exactly like the one that sold out for this coming May, with maybe a couple visiting lecturers added in.

See below....
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***To view more information and to register for the November 1-5 workshop go HERE.***

The second workshop is a week later on November 8th through the 12th. It takes place in the same awesome beach house in Charleston, however, there will three of us teaching it. Alongside me and Helene will be food stylist extraordinaire, Tami Hardeman, of the blog Running With Tweezers, (I love that name.)
We will cover all sorts of cool stuff and, since Tami will be along for the ride, students will gain a more in-depth understanding of food styling.
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***To view more information and to register for the November 8-12 workshop go HERE.***