Photographing Food (and eating it!)
Food is all about the eating, the flavours, the preparation. But as anyone who has a passion for food will tell you, that’s only ever half the story. As an artist, and one of food’s most loyal fans, the thing that gets me really excited about food is the look and feel of the raw ingredients in their purest form. There is no greatest pleasure to my eyes than seeing a market stall loaded full of the freshest ingredients, for there was never a greater designer in the universe than Mother Nature herself. Who can resist the beauty of fresh fish, with their stunning silvery two-tone scales, or sun-blush pink langoustines, their perfectly formed claws still snapping? Who can not admire the stunning fir-cone like layering of the globe artichoke, or the vivid glossy red of a vine-ripened tomato?
Such is the beauty of food that sometimes I buy ingredients just for their appearance. Having loaded them into my kitchen, my favourite aspect of food preparation is to set out my ingredients and admire them. Not only does this make creating a meal easier, but it’s like putting together a still life painting, as juxtaposed colours and textures are loaded upon a simple rustic chopping board.
So when I found myself admiring, and then buying some of the freshest seafood a London foodie can purchase from Moxon’s Fishmongers in Clapham last weekend, the first thing I did was to set about photographing my fish, forming a little composition which the instantaneous benefits of photography then enabled me to capture and share on The Daily Norm. And once the fish was snapped, I couldn’t resist the charms of my marbled iberico ham, freshly cut from the delicatessen’s knife, nor the rustic charm of a robust loaf of sourdough bread.
The tapas board
But in the end, all those delicious ingredients begged to be cooked. And the result? A dish of clams, prawns, and artichokes all doused in white wine and herbs and served with a sprinkling of the iberico ham for a perfect salt balance. As for the bread and those slippery sliver mackrels, those were served simply griddled with that sourdough toated and spread with tomato, salt and oil in the style of Catalonia’s Pan con Tomate. For with ingredients as fresh and wonderful as these, the worst thing you can do is hide the flavour – simple cooking is all that is needed for Mother Nature’s best creation to present at its tastiest, most beautiful best.
And the dish at the end of it all…
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