I Got By With A Little Help From My Friends…Stylists!

November 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

“Bean Soup”

I recently saw a request on a group discussion for a stylist in a certain city.  It made me think about stylists I’ve used in the past.  One in particular stands out…Dan Bookshar.  I met Dan when I was a staff photographer at May Co. Department Stores, back in the 80’s.  Dan could take anything from pots and pans to a pair of socks and make it look fantastic!  Eventually we both became “free-lancers”, but we would still both get hired together to shoot some of the May Co. holiday books.  Dan wanted to get some food shots together for his book, and I was thinking of trying to get some “food clients” myself.  When I first got out of school, I landed a job assisting Ed Nano, one of the top food photographers around.  I worked on various food accounts such as Stouffer’s, Fanny Farmer’s, and a whole bunch of ice cream shots for various brands.  Ed usually used a stylist named Julie(last name escapes me), especially on the Stouffer images…I swear they were connected at the brain.  Picture a plate of pasta, and Ed from behind his 8×10 Deardorff saying “Julie, there’s a noodle that’s tangent to another one”…and before Ed could finish, Julie had the offending noodle caught with her tweezers and moving it a fraction of an inch!  I was always amazed that she spotted something like that even though she was looking at the set from a different angle than Ed was!  O.K., back to Dan.  Dan showed up at my studio at the appointed date, and announced that he made bean soup for his supper the night before.  He also baked some cornbread, and a bundt cake.  I had a small kitchen in my studio, so he grilled up a burger, and we were ready to eat…I mean shoot.  He had strawberries, Cornflakes, chips, onions, pickles…you name it, and he brought it.  Dan’s hobby was collecting antiques, so he brought old trays, bowls, flatware etc.  All I had to do is light it and shoot!  I never did get into food photography per se, and I don’t even have a kitchen in my barn studio.  While I can shoot a still life of pre-made food like muffins, cookies, etc., I can’t shoot those “mouth watering, made right there” food shots that I see when I look at a top food photographer’s site.  I was able to find a few of the shots we did that day, and I’m sure that the rest will pop up some day, but at least I have some memories from working with a great stylist…something most commercial photographers admit are worth their weight in gold!

“Yum !”

“Let Them Eat Cake!”

Next time, some new stuff!

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