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Mobile & Photography & Art – Beet Around The Bush – with Vicki Cooper from the United States

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We are delighted to bring you the fifth 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 talented photographer, Vicki Cooper from Michigan in the 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).

To read the others in this series, please go here.

All images in this interview ©Vicki Cooper

What first interested you in food photography?

At first I only photographed food to share my baking projects — I love to bake! Then I found that people were responding to how the food looked as much as what I was baking.  Photographing food is new to me and each photo is an experiment.

Tell us a little about where you live and if, at all, it influences your photography

I’ve had the good fortune to have lived among and traveled to a variety of cultures.  So where I’ve lived and traveled influences what I prepare and therefore photograph.

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Which photographers, if any, have most influenced your work?

Ansel Adams is the first photographer who was influential in my life.  Whether he’s in my work I don’t know.

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What’s a good photograph in your opinion?

I like photo that focuses on the food and does not allow background to clutter the image. I like good color and texture in the image, just as I like good color and texture in the food I eat.

How many shots does it take you, on average, to get the perfect image that you’re looking for?

Usually, I take 5 to 10 shots of the dish I’m photographing.

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Do you strive to ‘tell a story’ with a picture? If so, how do you achieve that?

The food we choose to eat is very personal, therefore that choice says something about who we are, i.e., it’s part of our personal story. I find that I’m enjoying photographing my daily food, i.e., the ordinary food of a common person.  Again, I like to focus totally on the food, the light, the color and the texture.

When you visit a restaurant and see something on the menu, do you think more about it will taste or how it will look?

Both taste and presentation are important.  I’ve always taken both into account when choosing a restaurant.

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How did you develop your aesthetic? What inspires you?

I’ve always been drawn to the effects of light, color, and texture. These three qualities have become the core of my aesthetic in all aspects of my life.

What do you consider when it comes to composition and framing the food? What do you look for when taking the shot?

As I’m going to eat the food I’m photographing I generally work quickly.  Hey, I’m hungry! First, I make sure I’ve plated up the food in a way that the viewer can easily see the components of the meal. Then I check light and make needed adjustments. Then I start taking shots varying the angles that I use. Generally, I don’t like to take a straight down photo, I prefer more of an eye level shot. I find that it’s not necessary that I have the whole plate shown.  Often I will adjust and crop the picture so that only a portion of the image is displayed. I find that view more personal and appetising. Once I have an image I’m satisfied with I recheck light, color, and texture and make any adjustments I feel necessary.  That’s my basic procedure.

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What is your favourite dish or type of food to shoot?

As I’ve stated before I prefer to photograph more common and casual food that is more comfort food. I hope that my photos will relay some of that comfort.

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Contact Details for Vicki Cooper

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