One of my favorite things about food photography is that it covers so much more territory than just food. It's about capturing the atmosphere of a restaurant, the action of a kitchen, drinks being made, hand selected products and ingredients, and the people behind it all. Of all the areas where my work has taken me, I find photographing people to be the most challenging.
I've always admired portrait photographers because trying to capture a person in a way that reflects their humanity is a tall task. I recently read a quote from one of Vincent van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo in which he explained that he wanted "to paint men and women with that something of the eternal which the halo used to symbolize". Not intimidating at all, right?
Last year, I kept challenging myself to push beyond my comfort zone, to say yes to things that scared me, and shoot as much as possible. I trailed chefs around the kitchen, shot a maternity session for friends, took a million photos of Elena, and increasing tried my hand at portraiture. Slowly, I began to learn more about what it takes to turn my lens on people. I still have a lot to learn, a long way to go, but somewhere along the way taking portraits became an exciting challenge. And the story of the food culture in Portland wouldn't be complete without the faces of a few of the people behind all those delicious dishes and drinks.
Above: Grilled pigeon breast and Gabriel Rucker, chef and owner Le Pigeon and Little Bird.
Below: Helen Jo, Little Bird pastry chef, and chocolate mousse cake.
Above: Sarah Pliner, chef and owner Aviary restaurant, and chilled beet and lemongrass soup.
Fried chicken coq au vin and Andrew Gordon, lunch chef at Little Bird.
Kaysie Condron, former bar manager Aviary restaurant, Too Many Sequins cocktail.
Exterior Little Bird, Kristen Thoennes, Little Bird general manager.
Justin Garcidiaz, bar manager Aviary restaurant, Petal cocktail.