New year is always a time of partying and celebration with friends and family. But on a personal and professional level it is also a time of reflection and evaluation; of planning and regrouping; of refreshment and renewed inspiration. And it is in this reflective spirit that we have decided to ask each one of the four Plate to Page workshop presenters to look back at 2010 to tell us what they feel they have achieved; as well as forward at 2011 to share with us some of their goals for the coming year. The week-long series kicks off today with Ilva, the talented photographer behind Lucullian Delights and Ilva Beretta Photography.
As we get closer to the end of a year, I think it can be useful to sit down and take a look at what you have learnt and achieved in the past year, and what you would like to learn and achieve in the coming new year. So that is what I am going to do now.
During this past year and a half, I have been concentrating a lot on promoting my work because I had reached a point where I felt that I had to dare more if I wanted to earn a decent salary from photography. And because nobody knows that you are good at what you are doing if you never show it to them, I decided to invest money in promoting my work more widely. I can tell you that every month my investment has yielded results. Not only have I got smaller jobs but I have also been working with one of the major food chains here in Italy and I have a contract with them for next year. I am part of their new campaign to change their image and because they chose my style of photography, I get to shoot in my way and almost exclusively mood photos, i.e. photos that invite the viewer to buy whatever it is I am shooting. I am not required only to photograph food but other products as well, something that scared me a bit in the beginning. But now I am quite grateful because not only do I learn from doing it, I have also widened my repertoire which is always useful in times like this. But food remains my favourite subject: after all, that is what I am best at. Another positive aspect of this is that I am working with one of the best, if not the best, ad agencies in Italy and that is one hell of a learning experience I can tell you that!
I am also negotiating with two Italian food magazines to team up with them in the future. It pays less but is more satisfying style-wise, if you get what I mean. When you do commercial photography, you obviously still have to think about it in a more commercial way, whereas editorial photography leaves you more space for creative interpretation.
So to sum up 2010 I can say that I have achieved more than I expected, and that I have learnt even more. It’s good to dare because life is lived only once and I’d hate to feel that I didn’t even try to get where I wanted; I have learnt a lot about photography and that I like team work; I have learnt a lot about the practical/financial side of being a photographer; and I have also seen that it is important not to have too much of an ego if you want to get on in this world - some ego yes, but within limits!
But what about 2011 then? I know that I need to keep on promoting myself like I have been doing and my goal is to pick up more jobs and clients so that I have work in 2012 as well. But above all I want to keep on getting better at what I am doing and learn a lot more about photography. And I want to keep on enjoying what I do.
When I look at a photograph I need to be able to feel the aura of the photographer taking the shot. I want to be able to be transported into their frame of mind when they pressed the button. I want to feel, touch and inhale what they were experiencing. These are some of the things I take into account when I am standing behind the camera. A picture is not just a picture, it has to something to say and yes it has to say more than just the thousand words. For me it has to have a texture, a feel, an atmosphere – the image has to live. It’s pretty hard to transport all that via an image. Yet there are photographers who manage to do that. Photographers who have a magical eye and are able to carry the viewer into their world and for a moment allow us to share their experience with them. They dare to be different and their images depict a bold confidence that is a cut above the rest. William Brinson is one such photographer. I met him on Twitter and it was love at first sight – with his work. We hit it off well and realized that we share not only an appreciation for each others work, but have the same views when it comes to photography. When I asked William if he would be interested to share a few things about himself and his photography for our Plate to Page blog he was in from the word go. So please help us welcome William Brinson, our first star guest on photography.
How did you get started?My interest for photography began in high school. I was a typical misdirected suburban teenager and my high school art teacher introduced me to photography. It was college or the army, I chose college. After a year of community college, I attended Savannah College of Art and Design. I wasn't sure if I wanted to shoot fashion or still life, so I came to NYC and assisted. Why did you choose this field?Food found me. I had already been shooting still life and I started shooting food because I loved it. My dad is also a big foodie, so he got me interested on a certain level. Everyone told me to stay away from shooting food, it was extremely difficult, but to me it seemed very natural. What has changed over the years, in your opinion?I have changed as the industry changed, film went to digital and I adapted with the times. Your art should always be evolving and this is through subject and technique. As long as you have a good core understanding of your craft, then the changes will come naturally. I am always excited to try new things. How has your style changed or developed or evolved? I believe my style has always been my style, I just had to have the confidence to know it was connecting with others. I had tried many other styles and interests, because my taste is so diverse and eventually found my voice. I like to describe my style as a natural luxury. It is attainable yet still aspirational. One or two things you learned along the way:Be true to your style, but don't be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone. The more you shoot outside of your comfort zone, you will see markers of your style reoccur, making it more obvious to you. Pushing yourself helps to reveal your true style. It doesn't mean you have to shoot the entire gamut but the more you shoot the more you realize what you are good at. William Brinson Photography
But there are times in life when you have to disappoint. When even with best intentions, you want to say: ”Welcome! Come on over!” - but you can’t. And it’s not because we don’t want to see you but quite simply because there is no more room. The first From Plate to Page, the intensive hands-on food writing, styling and photography workshop, to be held in Weimar, Germany in May 2011, is now sold out. There has been an overwhelming demand for a unique interactive workshop of this kind. This is going to be a truly an international event, drawing interest and participation from food bloggers all around the world as far away as the USA, Canada and South Africa. Food bloggers both novice and established have signed up for the workshop; those looking to improve their writing skills and those interested in learn new styling and photography techniques. But don’t despair! We have good news for those who did not manage to secure a place on the May 2011 workshop. The waiting list is already open for those interested in the second From Plate to Page workshop, provisionally scheduled to take place in Italy in Autumn 2011, which is already in the planning stages. To register your interest, please fill in your details on the Registration page. That way we can let you know as soon as more information about the second workshop becomes available! But don’t think we are going to leave you to entertain yourselves while you count down the weeks to the first workshop. Now that the initial launch of the workshop is over, we will be regularly updating the From Plate to Page blog with posts to tease and tantalise you. Not only will you be hearing from us and getting a sneak peek at the kind of activities we have in store for you at the workshop, but we will also have exciting features and stories planned that will certainly interest the budding writer, photographer or stylist in you. So make sure you subscribe to the From Plate to Page feed and follow us on Twitter @Plate2Page to get your updates as soon as we release the news! So stay tuned, don’t touch that dial, and remember to register your details with us if you are interested in attending future From Plate to Page workshops. We look forward to welcoming you!
Are you a food blogger who has been blogging for a while and feels stuck in a creative rut? Do you feel happy with your writing but feel your photography needs work - or vice versa? Is it time to develop your blog into a more professional site but feel unsure how to go about it? Do you feel you have learnt all you can from traditional format conferences where you are one of dozens of bloggers simply listening and taking notes? From Plate 2 Page is your opportunity to take your skills and creativity a step higher and get out of that rut.
From Plate to Page is an intensive hands-on food photography and writing workshop aimed primarily at food bloggers, writers and photographers like you . It provides an exciting opportunity for those of you looking to enhance and hone your photography and writing skills, both for your blog and for professional work. This exclusive 2.5-day residential programme will be held in Weimar, Germany, on 20 - 23 May 2011 and will cover basic and advanced food styling and photography as well as writing skills and voice. Through comprehensive practical exercises, hands-on assignments and tasks such as cooking workshops, picnic, photo walk and restaurant meals, the programme is designed to address a variety of aspects of food photography, styling and writing. The workshop will be led by four of Europe's most popular and respected food bloggers, freelance writers and photographers, each an experienced teacher and speaker. Each member of this team has been blogging successfully for a number of years and all have done freelance work as a result of their blogs. Together they form a powerhouse of blogging, photography and writing knowledge and will share their experience, insight and know-how with an exclusive group of 10 participants. By keeping the group small, it will be possible to present topics in a practical and collective way, with group participation at every step. Over the course of the weekend we will work individually or in teams to complete assignments in both writing and photography. This will include plenty of one-on-one contact with each participant in a relaxed and social atmosphere where it will be possible to ask questions, share ideas and practical experience far more freely than in a large auditorium. Evenings will be dedicated to critique, discussion and analysis, helping you to understand, reflect upon and improve your work. For details of the entire 2.5 day course please review our programme. The cost for the entire 2.5 day course will be 400€ and includes: * 3 nights’ accommodation (sharing) at the Kipperquelle Bed & Breakfast Inn * Meals*: 3 breakfasts (Saturday, Sunday, Monday), Meet & Greet lunch on Friday, Picnic lunch on Saturday, Collective Cooking Dinner on Saturday, Lunch on Sunday, Afternoon Tea on Sunday Flights, transfers and some meals are not included in this price. * The idea behind some of the meals is to provide integrative and active live sessions for photography, styling and writing assignments. This unique workshop is limited to an exclusive group of only 10 participants. Registration will be taken on a first-come-first-serve basis. Register now!