Though food photography is a rather recent phenomenon, nowadays, it seems as if enticing shots of deliciousness are pretty much everywhere. Whether it’s a juicy burger advertised on TV, or an Instagram feed sprawling with glitzy cakes and mouth-watering meals for two, food photography has become ubiquitous for the simple reason, that is a delight to look at. As this market for food photography has gradually grown, in turn, the photographer’s skill for arousing temptation through an image has also increased fourfold. Food photography has become something of an art, not only reflecting a photographer’s unique style, but also captivating an elegant dining experience and the exquisite sensation of taste at the same time.
The photography agency RARE champions this artistry within food photography. Representing some of the best food photographers in the business, its creatives are testament to how this growing industry is anything but mundane and corporate. Dedicated to highlighting the individuality of each photographer, RARE celebrates how the subject of food can even enhance a photographer’s flare for expression.
For the lifestyle photographer Issy Croker, the level of variety inherent to food photography has seen it become a long-standing source of inspiration. “One week a client might pitch something really minimal and clean for a Scandinavian-style cookbook. Another week, it could be a moody Asian cookbook featuring plenty of props,” Issy tells us.
“I’ve never had a support network as a photographer before I joined RARE and it takes out a lot of stress from my day-to-day planning, allowing me to focus solely on the photography. It’s a lovely feeling!”, says the photographer who’s been able to use the extra time to explore new techniques and styles.
A huge factor that also influences the outcome of each shoot involves the other people working on the production. “Working with food and prop stylists can be such a rewarding collaboration” says Issy. “It’s always interesting to see how they interpret the brief from their end” and with RARE’s network of contacts, the agency ensures high quality collaborations in every instance.
The view is shared by the award-winning photographer Louise Hagger also represented by RARE, who states, “A big part of enabling creativity in the photography industry is to have clients that want to try new things and push the boundaries of how food or drinks are presented to their target audience.”
While image sharing platforms like Instagram have played a key role in the international sharing of stories through photography, it also establishes relationships worldwide. Last year, Louise bonded with the Japanese photographer Kaoru Mitsui over Instagram, the pair sharing their love of food which amalgamated in a collective project influenced by autumn in Japan and its packaging culture.
Additionally, Louise “loves working with RARE” because of its innovative approach to food photography. “Having clients that want to inject this new way of thinking into their process is great because I then have the opportunity to influence the concepts that are explored in the shoot, not just how the food is photographed on the day.” Particularly interested in storytelling through photography, Louise recently worked with her food stylist friend Victoria Granof to detail Victoria’s journey of adopting her son through a combination of words, images and recipes.
With the power to stir up sensory memories, a photographer’s technical prowess has the ability to further flesh out such evocations. For Gareth Morgans, practical training has provided him with the skills to incite different tonal atmospheres by simply tweaking lighting, exposure or camera equipment. By doing this, food photography becomes multifaceted. His ability to suitably photograph raw, cooked, still-life, seasonal, single or multiple dishes allows him to really “see” the subject in a new light every time.
For nearly 20 years, Gareth has been working as a photographer and in this time, his personal style has evolved with technology and of course, practice. Similarly to Issy and Louise, he feels “lucky because within food photography, you can work with so many different people and locations.”
You can treat it like a still-life shoot or from behind the scenes. Regardless, there are “so many disciplines to master” within the food photography realm; and this is what RARE continuously encourages and promotes. As the industry continues to grow, and as we see more and more photographers taking up the discipline, the possibilities for what food photography can be, both artistically and commercially, is open to discussion. One thing we do know however, is that it is sure to look delicious.