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The Bloom Forum Food Photography Narratives Workshop {wrap up}

The opportunity that Bloom Founder and Owner, Brenda Acuncius, gave me to teach my Food Photography Narratives workshop through her Everything Bloom & The Bloom Forum online platform was ~  truly an incredibly experience ~ as was her involvement from start to post workshop, which was prompt, professional, helpful, friendly and hands on.
If you’re not familiar with Everything Bloom, it’s ‘a one-stop, everything-photography shop on the web. They have members, both amateurs and seasoned pros, who participate from around the world. You can join a discussion, find answers to all of your photography-related questions, learn from the best and brightest photographers in the country, take exclusive online photographer workshops, and network with others who share your passion.’ All genre’s of photography are represented on the site, offering a plethora of information, comradery & learning tools. It’s a photographer’s playground. You can find out about membership here.

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Of course, I could not have taught a workshop with out people to teach it to. This Food Photography Narratives workshop was intensive and required a substantial time commitment. I was humbled by the passion, participation, and dedication of the students as the pace was fast, and the assignments many (depending on the skill level.) Their enthusiasm, questions, a ha moments, openness and trust equally inspired me to give/share all I had, and filled me with joy to be sharing my experiences, approaches and beliefs, knowing it was helping/guiding other creatives through their own photography journeys. I am grateful to each and every artist who took the time to sign up, show up, and give of themselves; and who now have some new tools to continue to work on their craft, grow and create with ~ from their own, beautifully unique voices.

Those who know me, know that I am deeply passionate about discovering, honoring and using our own voices as artists in our work. Although this workshop was built around food photography and story telling, it was to come from from our own ‘place’ on our individual journeys, which was a purposeful and continuous theme throughout this workshop. I spoke to this subject, and refereed back to it, throughout the lessons. To not only hear feedback of this topic, but to see it in action through the student’s work, was, for me, the highlight of the workshop. We all have the ability to learn, but to take that knowledge and attach our own voice/style/interpretation to it, are two very different things. Without the later, it’s just something taking up space. With the later, it’s a part of a person’s journey. Art, crafted through individualism, which has meaning and soul. I witnessed this understanding over and over again from these ladies.

This was my first experience teaching online and through a forum based interface – meaning, writing lessons/showing examples (lots)/sharing videos, communicating via posts within a daily forum – and, I loved it.  The amount of information I was able to share, in the way I was able to share it, was possible because of the workshop being spread over a period of time, and, was wonderful. It was equally valuable to allow everyone to comment, ask and answer questions, share tips/experiences/opinions – overall, to be involved.

I could go on, but what I really want to do is to share a sampling of work created from a handful of the groups active participants, implementing all the lessons into their final assignment, which was to come up with a story, prepare a shot list/storyboard, look for and gather all the necessary elements, shoot, edit, and show a food narrative either through their blog or create a mini magazine. This workshop was based upon storytelling, while incorporating solid technique, camera as well as artful considerations, and, of course, creating beautiful imagery of food.
I am so very, very proud of these ladies for putting such heart into our time together and of the BEAUTIFUL food imagery and narratives they created.
A few people are finishing up, you will see their names and stories at the end of the post. I will add their images as they come in.
For those of you who could not, at this time, finish up the last assignment, my hope is that you do, indeed, find the time to do so, email it to me, and I will gladly add your work to the grouping here! x~Gina

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Kelly Neil

Kelly created both a blog post & a mini magazine. Here are a few images as well as her links to view them both in full.
Her story was about documenting a ‘picnic for one’ – a small table and one chair outside, a small picnic basket, a blanket, a couple of good books, some delicious homemade snacks.

To view the complete magazine spread, via issuu, go here.

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To view the complete blog post, go here.

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 Connie Kimsey

Connie created two stories. One of her family, documentary style, shopping for and making sorbet.

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Connie is also a regular contributor to the recipe section of the blog Housetrends
and her second story revolved around one of the recipes:
A citrus bunt cake, with a moody, traditional feel.

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Jennifer Adams

Jennifer is a full time resident of her neighborhood, where many are simply seasonal residents. As such, there are a few events that occur in the summer for this crowd and their kiddos. One event is Halloween. Yes, Halloween in the summer…Jennifer document the festivities (parents and relatives lined up along the streets, offering candy, costume parade, etc.) as well as featured a homemade candy recipe to go along with the images.
You can view the entire issuu here.

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Claire Luff

Claire and her husband run Finn Meadows Farm. Her story revolves around people at the farm, as they starts seeds, transplant, weed, harvest, and prep food for a meal. She wanted to convey the hard work involved with getting food to one’s plate as well as the enjoyment of time spent in nature and the thrill of picking and eating food that you grow.
Some photos will be of exhaustion, hard work, others will be of smiles and pride as we bring in the harvest. I think there is a natural juxtaposition here at the farm between hard work and relaxation, frustration and joy, and of course, hunger (of many types) and fulfillment. Sustainable farms are challenging yet nourishing to all facets of human life – the physical, emotional, and mental. I would love to be able to show this juxtaposition through photography, yet still incorporate the actual food into my photographs.

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Claire really pushed herself to keep up with this workshop, amongst their busiest time of year on the farm. I am so impressed with both her work ethic and her dedication to learning this craft in order to tell the stories, visually, of their life and work – which are one in the same.
Here are a few of the first images Claire sent over that I thought were full of heart and indicative of her love of farm life.

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Jen Dwyer

Jen’s story is about an al fresco peach pie–a summer time, farm fresh peach pie eaten on our back deck.
View the entire post here.

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She also created another story of her husband’s tea time ritual for one of the other assignments, that I just adored, and is every bit a food narrative.
I’m sure she won’t mind me sharing both;)
You can see the full post here.

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Sarah Hone

Two weeks ago, Sarah spent 9 hours on a garden adventure around Hamilton, OH. Alfred Hall shared with her several gardens he helped create and maintain.
Her mission was to show how urban farming builds a community from the seed to the table. She wanted to capture the collaboration between individuals and the beauty of the process.
You can see the entire publication here.

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Jessica Zeamer

For Jessica’s final project, she wanted to capture breakfast at the farm, a place that has been so important to her and her family this summer.
You can view the entire post here.

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Ginger Lobb
Ginger’s story is a “Farm to Table” dish, Angel Hair Pasta w/Roasted Red Peppers, Garlic & Feta.
Go here to view the entire post.

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 Mollie Hewitt 
Mollie created her story around a blackberry crisp, dark and woodsy, something you’d make at your lake cabin. Maybe include an old basket with wild berries, like just picked. Some moss and greenery.
Colors she envisioned were browns, greens and blues.
Seethe entire post here.

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Brittany Graham

Brittany’s story is ‘From Hen House to Quiche’

Margo Madison

Margo is working on I’m a story about strawberry lemonade sorbet.
Her word list is:  Bright, fruity colors (pinks & reds), patterns, playful, tart, juicy, lemons, strawberries, summer.

Christina Nuzzo

I will tell you that Christina is even more detail oriented than I am. I just loved when I read her extremely thought out outline for this assignment.
I HAD to share;)

Theme & Purpose/ Inspiration for the Shoot

For Blog to showcase a styled fantasy, lifestyle food shoot with a person interacting with the food
Sugar Overload

Season & Setting
A Summer Afternoon in the Woods/ Vacant Land

Feel & Emotions
Carnival, Playful, Abundance, Fantasy, Carefree, Willy Wonka, Sugarland, Mad Hatter

Story Flow
Beginning: Plethora of Sweets | Middle: Decadence | End: Overindulgence/ Drowned in Sugar

Colors
Primary: Red & White Stripes & Circles
Secondary: Colorful table settings sweets packaging with bright yellows, teal, orange, violet swirls, circles with white

Foods for Set
Various sweets
Colorful Soda Bottles
Taffy
Licorice (Red & Green)
Cakes/Pastries
Sugar & Colored Sugar
Cookies (Macaroons?)
Cotton Candy?
Cupcakes

Props
Red Striped Straws
Clear Ice bucket
Grey Top hat
Playing Cards
Magnifying glass
Red/White Mini Flags
Red Striped Dress
Silver rain boots
Carnival Tickets
White plates/ White linens
Large Spiral Lollipops
Sugar Bowl & Spoon
Vintage Tea Cups or All White Mini Espresso Cups
Flowers/ Greenery
Accordion Music Maker
White Netting

Shot List
Environmental Shot
Sky/ Trees/Nature
Possible Deer
Overhead shot of Table
Level Shot of Table
C/U of Place Setting
Stacked shot of Cookies/ Macaroons
Wide Shot of Sweets
Sweets on Top Hat
Soda Pour/ Decadent Sip
Tight Shot of hand holding sweets
Out of focus shot of lickinglipop (lipop in focus)
Spoon of Sugar (tight & Wide)
Shot of Flowers/ Greens
Over body shot of Death by Sweets OD (candy covered hand on forehead)
Remember (1) Tight & Wide (2) Change our Lenses
Magnifying Glass shot of 1 tiny candy
Sugar covered smile with crumbs eyes closed
Crumbs on table/ deconstruction/ destruction

{Baked} A Cherry Basil Ginger Clafoutis

Yes, I’ve been recipe perusing again. How could I pass this one up? A Sweet, Plump, Juicy, Summer Cherry, Basil, Ginger, Almond via Kimberley Hasselbrink’s new book, ‘Vibrant Food.’…the recipe is already in my ‘keeper’ binder.
Maybe next time (and there will be a next time) I’ll give it a proper photo shoot rather than these quick images from my instagram feed, even the colors were so yummy and rich.

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Gluten Free Cherry Clafoutis

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
  • 16 ounces sweet cherries, pitted and halved. *next time I will quarter them.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup almond flour *love the almond taste and texture – try not to substitute this ingredient
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour (or all purpose but then it won’t be GF)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger *if you like ginger, add more
  • a handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped or shredded *I used small leafed cinnamon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch pie pan with unsalted butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
  2. Arrange the cherries in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, remaining sugar, almond flour, brown rice flour, vanilla ginger, and salt until smooth. Pour evenly over the fruit.
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and set in the center. Test by inserting a toothpick in the center—if it comes out clean, the clafoutis is ready.
  5. Allow to cool slightly, then dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

I served warm with freshly whipped up vanilla cream.

{A Workshop Story} A Vintage Apron and Strawberry-Lemon Tart Kind of Afternoon

It was a beautiful summer morning to leisurely browse the stalls of the flea market, but I was on a specific mission. I was on the lookout for something that would inspire me to put together a little photo shoot.
I knew something would catch my eye, but on this day, I struck vintage apron GOLD in the very first booth I stepped in to ~ it was the worn cotton blue/green floral apron you see below that I quickly spied, but, what I didn’t know, was that it was resting in front of another pile of fabric of which a sweet faded red/orange polka dot with blue trim apron was trying to hide in. Then, two steps further in, was a monogrammed ‘B’ (hand stitched in pink crewel) on a baby pinstripe towel, PLUS a small, vintage oval blue trimmed plate sitting on a table next to it. Score.

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During this time, I was also working on the content for my online food photography workshop that was coming up in a month, of which story telling was an integral part of. After covering all the aspects of shooting for a story, the final assignment would be to photograph a food story. I gave myself the very same assignment to show how I would go about it, and then to share the final presentation with the group. The vintage aprons were what gave me the inspiration for my entire shoot. From there I created a story around them, choosing to incorporate a Strawberry Lemon Tart. The next steps were to gather all the necessary elements (props, supplies, surfaces…) needed to produce the shoot. I talk a lot about being prepared. Below is a shot of most of the elements that I pulled for my shoot. The overall theme was to have a light summer and worn, vintage feel. I also took this opportunity to push myself a little further and create images that were a bit brighter and lighter in look and feel than what I am more naturally drawn to. Something I spoke of in this past post, about working on your craft.

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So, below is a little story about vintage aprons and a Strawberry Lemon Tart, on a summer afternoon.

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As part of the lesson plan for this topic, I added a video showing various parts and set ups from the actual shoot day and about how important it was to be organized and prepared. I think it’s only fair to share a few developments from the shoot day here, as I shared it with my workshop, because I believe in keeping it real: The recipe called for crushed pistachios, which I had, but somehow forgot to add; it got warm enough in my studio that my (hero) tart started to melt and fall apart (if you look closely, you’ll see) before I was finished shooting it; AND, the sweet blue flowers that I picked on the side of the road and brought in for the shoot, died by the time I got to them. My biggest lesson, freeze my tart next time I’m shooting in my warm studio. The point – stuff happens and you just go with the flow and improvise. That’s real life;)

x~gretchalina

Summer Soup

While I was working the other day…I took a little pinterest break. Somehow, I invariably end up in the ‘food aisle.’ That’s where I found this recipe.
So, yesterday, I walked outside, picked some flowers, herbs and a radish from my garden, took the additional few ingredients out of my fridge and pantry & in 15 minutes – well, 25 minutes if you count the time I took to photograph it -
SB and I were sitting by the open windows listening to Melody Gardot, enjoying our cool summer soups on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
It really is the simple things in life…

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Cold Avocado Soup
Original recipe from the lovelies over at Green Kitchen Stories,
but, of course, I made a few small changes;)

2 avocados, peeled and pitted
1 med sized cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into smaller pieces

2 cups cold water
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tbsp lemon juice
4 drops tabasco (feel free to add more or less)
a handful of cilantro
a splash of sherry vinegar
2 ice cubes
1 tsp salt

Top with:
a splash of olive oil
1 radish, sliced as thin as possible – I used my mandolin
a small handful of baby basil leaves
3 stems bronze fennel fronds
1/4 cup toasted raw pepitas
flower pepper

Toss the pepitas with olive oil and a pinch of salt and broil in the oven till just turning brown. Shake a time or two and keep an eye on them, it won’t take long.
Add all the ingredients in a blender. Mix it until completely smooth. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve immediately in glasses or bowls or keep it chilled in the fridge until serving.
Top with a splash of olive oil, toasted pepita seeds, sliced radishes, herbs and pepper.

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a lunch/dinner

Grapefruit + Olive Oil + Thyme Pound Cake

Here’s a light, citrusy, thyme scented little pound cake recipe that I came across and made last week. I love starting with a basic recipe and knowing that I can change the flavors in and out to my liking, such as adding thyme.
The grapefruit really comes through and next time, I may go a little lighter on the thyme. Maybe.
Happy Thursday.

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Grapefruit + Olive Oil + Thyme Pound Cake
{adapted from FROM THE LOVE OF THE SOUTH}

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups (190g) of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 tablespoons (30ml) of grapefruit juice, plus 1/3 cup (80ml) for syrup
1/3 cup (80ml) of buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 tablespoons of freshly grated grapefruit zest (from 2 medium-sized grapefruits)
½ cup (100g) of granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for syrup
½ cup (95g) of raw cane sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
½ cup (120ml) of olive oil (choose a mild olive oil, not extra virgin)
2 eggs, at room temperature

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×5” loaf pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a glass-measuring cup, combine 2 tablespoons of grapefruit juice and buttermilk (or yogurt). Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the grapefruit zest, ½ cup of granulated sugar, raw cane sugar, and the thyme. Rub the zest and sugars together with your fingertips. Whisk in the oil until combined. It will be course in texture. Add eggs, one at a time, and whisk until combined and smooth. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the cake batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and tap the pan on the counter a few times, releasing any bubbles in the batter. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar with 1/3 cup of grapefruit juice in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
When the cake has finished baking, let it cool for 10 minutes and invert onto a cooling rack with a tray underneath. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or toothpick and brush the grapefruit syrup over the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely while it absorbs the syrup. (I omitted this part and made the simple glaze instead.)
Serve the cake all by itself or create simple glaze to pour over the top.
Using 2 medium-sized grapefruits for this recipe usually makes enough leftover juice and zest for a simple glaze. Just whisk ½ cup of powdered sugar while slowly adding the leftover grapefruit juice until you have a smooth, thick glaze. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and serve!

Makes one loaf.

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