The Foodlife Journey: Savoring With My Eyes

Posted by    |  November 11, 2010  |  Filed under: Foodlife, Home


I shot this my first time out with my camera at the Farmer's Market- mere days after my first conversation with Gil. This shot will always be dear to me because it demonstrated to me that maybe I could actually pull this whole photography thing off.

I want to share some of my favorite unpublished food photos with you before I sign off for the next 8 weeks. Though I’m not a professional photographer, I’m proud of these. They make me happy. When I look at them, I think, “Wow. I shot that.” These photos are an important part of my own foodlife journey.

Eighteen months ago I started thinking about using the web as a platform for my ideas. I’d always figured I’d write a book, but I felt such an urgency to get this information out right now. I was so aware of the many people around me who hungered for help with their foodlives. The traditional publishing route just felt like too long a road.

All successful food websites are as much about sensual food photos as they are about content. I knew nothing about photography; I mean absolutely nothing. Moreover, I simply didn’t care about it; not at all. Even photographing my kids always felt like a chore. Could I fake it? Could I learn it? Could I care about it?


I was really proud of this shot at the time I took it. I now see nothing but flaws in it. That's a good thing, because I was blind to it's flaws not so long ago.

I’m so fortunate that one of Bill’s best friends, Gil, (Yeah, I know: Jill, Bill and Gil.) is an accomplished photographer- an artist, actually. Bill suggested I give him a call. I was totally embarrassed to call him and even bother him with the basic questions of someone who was even less than an amateur. It felt a little like asking Michael Phelps to teach my 5-year old to swim. I really just called to ask him if it would even be possible for me to get far enough up the learning curve fast enough to produce usable photos. He was immediately very positive and encouraging, giving me an overview of the styles and techniques of modern food photography. “…so just by using a very low aperture you will-“

“Uh, what’s an aperture?” I asked.


Aperture? Depth of field? Now I know what that's all about.

With Gil’s optimistic coaching, an equipment upgrade and a willingness to learn as I go, I’ve come a long way. As my experience and skills have developed, my confidence has built. I can see things in my images I would never have noticed before. I can shoot more instinctively and get better results. But that’s not the really cool part of the story.

The amazing thing is that I now adore photography. Its hard to explain, but I feel like I’ve been gifted a new set of eyes. They are a new source of joy that has made my life qualitatively better than it was.

Photography has given me a new way of consuming food. I’ve always loved the way food tastes and feels in my mouth. I am calmed by the tactile qualities of handling and preparing food. My eyes are now in on the experience in a way that they never were before.


The potato and its peelings were just scattered like this on the cutting board when I realized how beautiful they looked. I would never have noticed that before I decided to become a photographer.

I offer you this story as an encouragement to you who feel daunted by the challenge of eating well. Courage and commitment will take you a long way on this journey. Your motivations may be simple: you want to lose weight, you want your kids to have healthy foodlives, you want to get additives out of your life. In the pursuit, however, you’ll likely find all kinds of hidden pleasures. Our imagination for what’s possible is so limited by experience.

Enjoy these images of moments from my foodlife journey. I’m not in league with the great food photographer bloggers of our time- but I’ll get there. I’m also not terrible either. These shots are mine and, because they’re mine, are especially beautiful to me.

Remember, the food you make at home in your own kitchen with your own hands will always offer more pleasure than anything you could eat anywhere else: even when it doesn’t turn out perfectly.

Food is just so gorgeous. I'm often overwhelmed by the photographic possibilities of color, texture, pattern and movement.



I adore the way that the center tomato is visually bursting with summer sweetness.




This shot totally captures the Hinsdale Farmer's market experience for me and the pure pleasure of motherhood.




And now I do get so much pleasure from photographing my kids- especially when one falls asleep on the Time Out Bench!



Comments are closed.