Affinity. Closeness. Longing for connection. These shared experiences are what elevate our lives beyond mere existence. Good or bad, they are the muse for poetry, the rhythm of music, and the ‘heart’ in our heart. This body of work is about exploring just that: our humanity seen through how we connect with something outside ourselves. That moment when we bare our souls and open our hearts.
Meet Samson, 11 years old, the best friend you could ask for. He is the most gentle companion who loves nothing more than being at your side. He gives far more love than you could imagine, and in the words of that wise person called Anonymous: "I aspire to be the person that my dog thinks I am."
If you ever make it down to the studio, he will be panting at the back door waiting to say hello.
I love this quote by Frederick Mayer: "We become creative when we realise the infinite possibilities within us, and when we understand that our function is not merely to exist but to contribute to life, to improve it, and to make it more meaningful to others." I was able to spend some time chatting with my good friend Lynda Howitt in her studio not far from New York recently. The cross fertilisation of ideas, making connections from different sensory inputs, exploring different views and metaphors for a subject with her was refreshing.
Lynda's beautiful abstract art work lets our imaginations soar with their emotional intensity, feeling to me what the chemistry of attraction might look like. I'm inspired to create some more beautiful abstract seascapes. I think a week at a little shack on a remote coastline somewhere would be perfect! Any suggestions for where?
The studio said goodbye to our beloved Connie last week, she's spread her wings and has gone to make her fame and fortune in the UK and Europe. We'll miss her dearly and hope she does really well. We had a studio dinner party to say farewell. On the menu were some yummy tartlets. This is an Orchard studio collaborative recipe that tasted delicious.
- 1 red capsicum, seeds removed
- handful of mushrooms
- 1 large zucchini (or 2 small)
- 1 red onion
- 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 100ml olive oil
- salt and pepper
- shortcrust pastry
- 350g feta or goats cheese
- basil or rosemary to garnish
- Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease 4 small pie or quiche tins
- Cut all the vegetables into 2cm pieces.
- In a bowl combine the vegetables, garlic and olive oil, toss so everything is coated.
- Pour the vegetables into a baking tray and spread evenly.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until vegetables are cooked through, set aside.
- Roll the pastry onto a floured surface, line the greased tins with pastry, then blind bake by lining the pasty with baking paper or foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.
- Cut the feta into 2cm cubes.
- Fill pre-baked tartlets with veggie and feta cubes and place in oven for 5 minutes, warm through.
- Garnish with basil or rosemary if desired.
- I really like adding a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to my tart.
The above image was styled by the talented Wendy Berecry.
I know I've mentioned before that one my favourite parts of shooting food is enjoying the food afterwards. This lemon curd was so tasty I thought I'd share the recipe with you. Lemons are in season now too.
Lemon Curd -use on toast, in miniature tarts, in meringues, mixed with mascarpone and cream and strawberries.
- 2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
- 1/3 cup (80g) chilled unsalted butter
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- Whisk whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place pan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk continuously until thickened. Strain through a sieve into a sterilised jar. Lemon curd keeps, covered, in the fridge for 2 weeks. Recipe from Valli Lee for Taste Magazine. Styling by Wendy Berecry
I often hear the comment, "I'm hungry now" when showing my food portfolio. This is really important to me because I feel the difference between photography of food and great food photography is that the latter creates an emotional connection with the viewer. In food, this means the taste buds start to water and the viewer is thinking about the taste of the food rather than just recognising what the food is. This all then becomes a call to action. It's only by creating desire in the photos that we really drive sales. Food photography is not meant to be catalogue photography, but rather to convince someone they want something they didn't know they wanted before seeing it.
Styled by the talented Wendy Berecry.
So how many slices shall I cut?
This shoot was mental, The Orchard Studio was pumping as Annie Lennox belted out "Would I Lie to You" from the stereo. We had a film crew shooting as well as the stills Connie Moran and myself were capturing, so the song needed to be playing all day so the timing for the film was perfect. The concept was all about movement, mood and attitude. There was certainly a lot of that and it was contagious. The mood for outfits on the models was glitter and shine, with them constantly dancing and snaking all over the floor of a black elevated stage set built in the studio.
The brief for lighting was hard and contrasting, the end effect needed to have a monochromatic and metallic glowing look. We needed to light with continuous light so the videographers could work alongside us. We used a beauty dish as front light with a profoto ProDaylight Metal Halide head, Kino Flo style fluoro rim lights behind, Dedo spots behind, and also had a flash head firing into lens from the background creating flare for effect.
All the six models did brilliantly. And of course the Team English stylists and creative director Verity herself were all (in Verity' speak): F^*@%)N AMAZING !! We couldn't agree more!
Behind the scenes images thanks to Connie Moran and Angela Mushenko.
(March 2010) Stop lamenting the end of another summer, friend. Come chill with us at the last party around the pool in our studio in Newtown before we move. March 26 from 5:30 till late. 68 O'Connell Street, Newtown. RSVP essential by tuesday March 23 please. swimmers optional, but smooth DJ guaranteed. Door prize for signed framed print you have to take with you. Honest. We'll be checking.
Whilst shopping at Marrickville Metro one day, Simone and Milan's eyes locked across the frozen goods bin. They knew they were meant to be together. The rest of that beautiful long, hot summer would never be the same
(December 2009) Construction has started on our new purpose-built studio in Willoughby (eta mid 2010). This will be a model sustainable building with solar hydronic underfloor heating, a 5.4 KW solar photovoltaic power system, passive solar design, and low energy lighting. Watch here for invite to the launch party!