We are delighted to bring you the second interview to our new mobile photography and art food column – ‘Beet Around The Bush’, edited by multi award winning artist, Armineh Hovanesian. This interview is with a very talented photographer, Amy Ecenbarger from Indiana, United States.
Please continue to post your mobile portraiture to our dedicated Flickr group or use this hashtag on Instagram #tawbeetaroundthebush, this way, Hovanesian will search through these artists to interview next, it might be you! (foreword by Joanne Carter).
All images in this interview ©Amy Ecenbarger
What first interested you in food photography?
I love to garden, and each year I look forward to my vegetable garden. The beauty, color and texture of the vegetables has always made me happy. One day I decided to create a still life with my bounty, and was hooked on food photography from then on.
Tell us a little about where you live and if, at all, it influences your photography
I live in a rural setting in Indiana, USA. I love to photograph the everyday beauty of my surroundings. The very act of capturing the image strengthens my connection to my home.
Which photographers, if any, have most influenced your work?
I owe much to Sebastian Michaels for introducing me to the whole concept and magic of photo artistry. While not directly related to food photography, I’m constantly inspired by the fearlessness and joy I find in the works of Oola Cristina, Joyce Harkin and Clint Cline. I strive to capture even a little piece of that abandon in my food photographs.
What’s a good photograph in your opinion?
Since I’m more interested in the ingredients than in the final product, I tend to gravitate towards images that capture the color, texture, light, and surroundings of the elements.
How many shots does it take you, on average, to get the perfect image that you’re looking for?
Oh my- it can take anywhere from just a few to 20 or more. It kind of depends on whether I’m shooting my subjects in their environment or if I’m creating my own tableau. This image, for instance, took around 15 shots- moving things this way and that, adding and subtracting elements, playing with the lighting, etc.
Do you strive to ‘tell a story’ with a picture? If so, how do you achieve that?
I don’t know that I always deliberately try to tell a story, but I will often end up capturing a memory. This image always brings me back to a family road trip where we stopped for a luxurious fast food lunch. It was delicious and decadent. Just looking at this shot brings back the smells of the food and the laughter of the kids. It was a wonderful day.
When you visit a restaurant and see something on the menu, do you think more about it will taste or how it will look?
I tend to think more about the taste and the process of choosing the ingredients and then combining them. I very rarely photograph my restaurant meals.
How did you develop your aesthetic? What inspires you?
I find inspiration everywhere. Lighting, color, texture, weather- all of these things can evoke an emotion and a desire to capture that in an image. I love going to farmers’ markets, fish markets- even the grocery store! I’m drawn to the beauty of our food in its natural state. I’m also constantly inspired by the many talented artists I’ve been introduced to via Facebook and Instagram.
What do you consider when it comes to composition and framing the food? What do you look for when taking the shot?
I’m primarily looking at color, light, shape and texture. If I’m creating a tableau, I want the elements to complement each other- to fit together.
What is your favourite dish or type of food to shoot?
I love shooting the colors, shapes and textures of fruits and vegetables. I also enjoy the hunt for props and backgrounds that best complement my subject.
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