Portland is home to an incredible community of food bloggers. Over the last few months, I've been photographing a few of my favorites, to capture their passion for creating delicious content and document their process of working. First up was Dana from Minimalist Baker and recently I had the pleasure of joining Holly Erickson and Natalie Mortimer of The Modern Proper as they prepared a blog post for a mixed berry shortcake recipe.
When Holly and Natalie first met, they were both authors of fledgling blogs. After discovering their shared interests, they decided to unite their talents to create a space that would inspire the modern homemaker with a new vision for gathering and sharing meals. As mothers running their own business, they understand that there is often a clash between desire and time when it comes to cooking.
The Modern Proper is dedicated to making delicious, wholesome food accessible through unintimidating ingredients, beautiful images, and stories about real life and real food. Through their approachable recipes that put quality at the forefront, they aim to inspire a return to the kitchen and the table that accommodates what a busy lifestyle needs most: time with the people we cherish and food that nourishes body and soul.
On this cool Monday morning, we gathered at Holly's house just outside of Portland. When I arrived, she and Natalie were laying out the ingredients for biscuits and unpacking blackberries, cherries, and white peaches from the market. They mixed together the dough first and popped the biscuits into the oven. Then they slipped over to the next room where they have their studio set up and started to take photos of the fruit.
Natalie and Holly are both proficient at the myriad skills required to run a food blog. Recipe development, writing, photography, project management, planning, and all the details of running a business, from client management to bookkeeping. Working as a team means they can share the workload, as well as challenge each other's ideas and creativity. Although they don't make and shoot every recipe together, they have a shared vision and goals that have given them a clear direction in their work.
When the oven timer went off, it was time for the biscuits to be in the spotlight for photographs. Then Natalie and Holly made the final selection of props: bowls, plates, utensils, and a platter for the final dessert. After preparing the fruit, they photographed individual dessert plates before assembling the final photo. One glorious pile of biscuits, cream, and fruit. One of those desserts that does not look too pretty to eat, but rather an abundance of summer goodness that urges you to dive in.
And dive in we did. After Natalie and Holly meticulously arranged the pile of biscuits, with a spring of mint strategically placed here and a splay of peaches tucked in there, they took the final photographs. Then it was time to eat! Natalie dished up three servings, Holly grabbed the forks, and we sat around the table to talk about the joys and challenges of running a small business, juggling work and family, and how much we all love food. Gathered together, sharing food and life. Exactly the kind of moment they hope to inspire with all their work.