Making Not Taking Photographs

Backstage views on making photographs professionally

Archive for the ‘Food Photography’ Category

Getting Fired by the Associated Press

Posted by Mike on January 30, 2014

January 2014:

I am an ex UPI employee so I don’t care much for AP (they act too much like a monopoly and helped kill UPI for one thing)… I would never work for them because of their “work for hire” “rights grabbing” contract anyway.

But it is bugging me… this last thing when they fired one of their well thought of photographers for spotting out a distracting element in a photo. For the record… I have never produced a photograph for newspaper or magazine that wasn’t painstakingly burned, dodged, spotted for dirt, treated with potassium ferricyanide, cropped, selected over another photo for artistic or informational rationale, or had the color or tone shifted to make it a “better” photograph capable of conveying the situation in the best way possible to the end reader.

That’s what we all want is for the photo to be transcendent… (not in the way of the information).

AP cut ties with Contreras publicly after the photographer informed the wire service that he had removed a video camera from a corner of an image of a Syrian rebel soldier taking cover during a fire fight. Contreras says he knew it could end his relationship with AP, but that he didn’t expect to be shut out of the process.

AP-photoshopWas this firing really necessary? Was the picture compromised? I doubt it. Really, the picture doesn’t tell you much anyway so that presents another problem where the cutline writer can spin it anyway he/she wants. (In the old days Pravda was humorously famous for making up cutlines that were just  amazingly fake.)

Here are two examples of my own work which would probably get me fired I guess. When it comes to the scenic of the boat which photo is fake? As far as I am concerned the retouched one is actually more accurate than the dead looking one from the unprocessed RAW image the camera produced.  Under AP rules are we supposed to be stuck looking at dead, automaton generated purely “documentary” crap a camera produces. Then I guess you don;t need photographers to interpret the RAW file because there is no need for “artistic” or “explanatory” efforts in news photography, right? What a load of crap IMHO.

023sunset-2 023sunsetIn another example I worked on a food shoot yesterday. And I am always looking for a better way to enthusiastically promote my client’s efforts to produce a quality product and sell more stuff (so they can afford to pay me help them sell more stuff).  But back to “accuracy” Which photo is more accurate?

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Posted in Advertising Photography, Concept Photography, fine art photography, Food Photography, Photojournalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Commercial and Editorial Photography Portfolio

Posted by Mike on January 15, 2011

My new brochure (january 2011).

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Posted in Advertising Photography, Annual Report Photography, Architectural Photography, Food Photography, Photojournalism, Yacht Photography | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dinner tonight!

Posted by Mike on May 9, 2009

Here’s a fantasy dinner for you…. fresh out of the camera from your nearby Italian Restaurant…

Out fictitious guest has selected Grazies, for a salad, shrimp, wine, and 3 desserts… since it was his birthday!

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Today’s Dessert!

Posted by Mike on April 21, 2009


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When did you stop beating your embryos?

Posted by Mike on April 19, 2009

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Salmon… top of the food chain (almost) cook book project.

Posted by Mike on March 11, 2009


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Gourmondo, The Art of Food

Posted by Mike on February 5, 2009

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Gourmondo is a Gourmet Catering Company in Seattle.

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Pre Thanksgiving food photos…

Posted by Mike on November 26, 2008

Turkey isn’t everything. Especially when you see this spread.

Today’s food shoot was a treat to look at….

Steak…. Halibut stuffed with Crab…. Salmon…

There was a shrimp dish too… but I ate it…. sorry…

The get this look I use one 20 inch wide hard dish light with a sock over it and one really big soft light for fill… Canon 5D with 100mm macro at f25, 1/125th, iso 50 or 100…

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Pizza before and after…

Posted by Mike on November 14, 2008

Unfortunately there is this belief that just because a file is digital it’s ready to go right out of the camera… not true. Same is true from film scans… which is where this photo originates (21/4 film scanned to 65 megabytes).



after-pizzaAnd by the way… This finished version was entered into two different photography judging competitions… It scored a very low score in one and first place in the other.

So don’t give up if the world doesn’t see it your way. Perhaps they weren’t even looking.

I made this with a 110mm macro lens on a 21/4 Bronica with Portra 160NC. f22 at 1/125th of a second. Two strobes and a foam core reflector helped out. One strobe was in a soft box strip about 14 inches by 30 inches and the other light was in a 16 inch dish painted white, with a sock over it.

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Coffee and sugar… a fine mix

Posted by Mike on November 11, 2008

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