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Inside The Pages of Where Women Cook & A New Column

Professionally, as in life, there are inherent ups and downs that naturally happen. That’s just the way it goes. Some days, the downs are so bad, you want to throw in the towel and stay in bed. (Yes, I speak from personal experience.)  If you are tenacious enough to see it through, and can stand back knowing that you maintained your integrity, character & honesty…then I’d say, it was worth every moment, of all of it.
Some of the greatest parts being the unexpected outcomes of laying the foundations in the directions that you’ve chosen for yourself. If you stay your general course, amongst the demands and expectations of others, you will end up being (overall) productive, happy, and greeted with sweet surprises…like being included inside the pages of the magazine Where Women Cook, because of the work you’ve created, and wonderful friends (Lisa Ballard) sharing it.
In amongst the sour, and when you least expect it, life can be so very sweet.

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Jo Packham is the powerhouse and Creator/Editor-in-Chief behind her series of magazines (partnering with Stampington & Company) Where Women Cook, Where Women Create, and Where Women Create Business, as well as running her long time successful publishing company, Chapelle Ltd, which has packaged more than 1,000 titles for most major publishers in the industry. After a few exciting emails back and forth, filled with a plethora of future collaborating ideas (which I will share a little of below), I was still a little nervous when the phone rang. I’m not sure what I expected, but what I discovered was a funny, vivacious, open to as many ideas as you could throw out, can do woman, who I loved and could have talked to for hours. Her overall passion…creating a platform where strong, artistic women can be seen, heard and empowered.

The first order of business was to write a little about my journey with food/cooking, and how it had tied into my professional life as a food photographer. My first thoughts were….I am a photographer, not a writer. Where do I begin? How many words? Third person and then first person?? Oh boy.
Once I took a deep breath, I realized the natural place to start was to talk about learning to cook by standing next to my Yia Yia (Greek grandmother) for as long as I can remember. Lessons about good, fresh, simple foods and lessons about life – all in the kitchen. There’s a reason it’s the heart of the home.

Happy and honored to have been included amongst the other talented and creative women sharing their stories, and recipes, within this publication. I encourage you to pick up the current Fall copy of Where Women Cook, and read all the way through. Thank you Sophia, for making the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream recipe that one summer day (and letting me photograph you, and it) and, thank you Gabriella for being my photographer when I had to be in front of the (your) camera.

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As cool as this was, I am even more thrilled to be a continuing contributing photographer to not only the WWCook magazine, but for Jo’s other magazines as well. I capturing creatives in their environments, sharing their visual stories and creations with the world. I’m looking forward to seeing more than a few people from our own city, that I’ve photographed, in upcoming issues, as well as, being in the planning stages of a story that will take me to a most gorgeous part of the world to photograph a beautiful chef/writer/teacher for a week, or so. I’ll share more, as I can.

Lastly, I’m excited to share this, the latest of logos, to my ever growing collection – of which I must thank, once again, my talented friend, graphic illustrator, Lisa Ballard, for creating.
This logo will top the page of the quarterly column that I am writing and photographing for in the Where Women Cook magazines, starting in 2015
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The lesson…do what makes you happy, be a good person, and get out of bed.
x~Gina

 

 

Anne - 2 October, 2014 - 3:48 pm

this is so exciting gina! congratulations!

Props + Coffee + Caravan + Love

I love sharing stories about artists and artisans who live, work and produce in my own city.
You will undoubtedly recognize her name as she has lent her creative abilities to many of my photo
shoots over the years.
‘She’ has teamed up with ‘Him’ and together they are creating a lot of fun, offerings, and great coffee…

She’s beautiful, sassy & bold. He’s beautiful (yes), mellow & grounded.
Together they are a couple & they are Prop Coffee.

This idea has been brewing in my close friend, set designer/prop stylist, Nora Martini’s & her beau, La Terza Artisan Coffee Founder/Master Roaster, Chuck Pfahler’s, heads for a very LONG time. I was thrilled to hear that some of the missing pieces (most notably, the baby caravan) were coming together a few weeks back. Then, this past weekend, to be one of the first to see their idea come to life at the maiden outing, was the coolest thing, ever.  Nora has impeccable style, a discerning eye, and a boat load collection of incredible props that she is, somehow, willing to part with – as her half of Prop Coffee – while the other half, Chuck, is close by roasting up full flavored cups of artisan coffee while you browse. All the while, their baby caravan (still thinking of the perfect name) serving as their perfect vintage back drop and traveling companion.

Come take a peek into their world filled with love, laughter, fun ~ sprinkled with props & coffee.

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I’m so excited for the both of them and for the new places their Prop Coffee adventure will take them.
Once again, here’s to following your dreams.
x~Gina

{513} Artist & Artisan » 513 {eats} - 28 September, 2014 - 8:53 pm

[…] have shared this story on my personal blog, gretchalina, as well….but for those of you who have subscribed here, I would not want you to miss […]

513{eats} ~ It’s Been A Wonderful Ride ~ Thus Far

I wanted to share a post that I wrote a week or so ago, from my 513{eats} blog, here on this blog too, as it has had everything to do with my life (business and personal), for the past almost three years.

This particular entity – 513{eats} – started as a fledgling of what I envisioned my professional life to look like…down the road. From the inception, I wanted to create something of meaning and value for not only myself, but for the people whose food, businesses, and lives would be shared within the pages of what I would visually craft.
Admittedly, a little unconventional of a manner to create marketable work, but I’ve never loved ‘conventional,’ plus, with this approach, I have crossed paths and collaborated with new colleagues, creatives, and most of all, new friends who have enriched my life in the most wonderful of ways. I have been humbled ten times over and will forever be grateful for the many who opened their doors and their hearts along the way.

To date, who knew where this adventure would have ever lead. I certainly could not have predicted the last almost 3 years. Because of this ‘project’ so many new, exciting doors have opened, most of which, were among my original goals upon creating 513{eats}, and others that I had never even considered. Proof that following your vision, creating from your authentic voice, trusting your intuitions, surrounding yourself with supportive & creative people, recognizing doors of opportunity while remaining focused (amongst all the noise) on your goals, continuously working on your craft, and simply doing what you love – will lead you on a fruitful journey in the directions of your dreams.

While I’m presently not intending on producing a follow up full edition magazine (never say never), I am in the planning stages of some new and exciting works highlighting our areas chefs, growers, artisans, and makers via 513{eats}. Where I will take it from there, remains an open door, but rest assured, wherever it leads, it will be a visual feast.

It’s hardly the end, just a moment to reflect, invite new directions for the future of 513{eats}, and to share some gratitude for the past…as described below.

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513{eats} – the little ‘one year project’ that I started back in late 2011, now with almost three years of photographing, designing, creating, and producing 6 magazine issues & 2 calendarshas been a wonderful ride; but, this part of the journey has naturally run its course.
The original project was truly a ‘it takes a village’ endeavor, and I am forever grateful to all of the talented people who came along this ride with me.
I want to take a moment and most especially thank both chef and food writer, Ilene Ross, and set production stylist, Nora Martini, whom both said ‘yes’ when I asked them to join me on this unknown adventure at the very beginning.
Ilene Ross, who penned most of the stories that accompanied my imagery, whose time, dedication and support has been immense, I am truly grateful; as well as Nora’s gorgeous styling which elevated so many of the shoots.
Along the way, I was also incredibly lucky to have many other artists collaborate and contribute to this endeavor, notably, media designer, Eric Hintz, who created beautiful footage from many of the shoots as well as crafting marketable videos for many of our Queen City restaurants, growers, makers & visiting culinary events, and, long time friend graphic illustrator & designer, Lisa Ballard (whom I was incredibly happy to re-unite with) who lent her skills and original designs to the magazines and calendars.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, how could I not think of and thank all of the chefs/cooks/bakers/farmers/growers/makers/artisans who gave their time, kitchens, talents, food and of themselves to be featured in the issues themselves.
Of course, without all of you, there would have been nothing to fill the pages with. Thank you for creating breathtaking dishes, growing beautiful seasonal produce, ethically raising animals, and crafting artisinal foods – all of which provided the stunning subjects of my photography. It was truly a pleasure and an honor to share your stories, your foods, your kitchens, homes, businesses and a little insight into your lives in a way that is not traditionally done editorially ~ meaning many pages, many images;)

Being fortunate to do that thing that you love, that drives you, that you a have a burning need to do, that others give you the opportunity, the creative room, and, most importantly, the trust to do…is magical.

Much love and here’s to the next chapter of 513{eats},
x~Gina

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.

The Bloom Forum also shared a post on their ‘After The Workshop’ series sharing some of their thoughts, my thoughts and imagery created by the attendees. You can see/read it here.

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’
(coming soon)

Margo Madison

Margo’s story is about a lemon balm soda.
Her word list is:  light, airy, green, summer.

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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

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Jennifer - 8 September, 2014 - 3:37 pm

Oh my! I’m so happy to see all of these beautiful narratives come to life! Wow.

This workshop was amazing. It was intense, inspiring, challenging, and simply just a lovely place to be and meet others with similar passions.

Gina, you shared such a generous spirit and inspiring artistic voice. I’m so grateful.

xx
Jen

{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.

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