A little over a year ago Connie Thadewaldt started her blog, COOK, a oui chef journal, as a way to keep herself busy after being laid off from her job. I came upon her blog while searching for ramps and was quickly drawn in by her wonderful photos and writing. And when a chef offers a step-by-step on how to clean a soft shell crab or write about what equipment she uses, you better pay attention!
I asked Connie about her photos, process and being a blogger. Thanks again for letting me feature your work Connie!
When I photograph, I try to capture something intangible, something that explains why I get so excited about food and cooking. To not just see a French fry for example, but rather to see and taste “hot, crispy, salty” in one’s mind. If possible, I also like to throw in the element of “what is that/how was it made?” to my photos by playing around with different angles and plate-ups.
Its definitely a challenge to reflect something like taste and smell through a photograph (it never ceases to amaze me how differently food looks to the naked eye versus through a lens). I’m definitely not where I want to be yet, but its fun learning.
My process all depends on what is being photographed, where I am and what time of day it is. Shooting colorful produce at farmer’s markets in midday requires the least effort, and never needs extra equipment or processing beyond cropping. When I’m at home, I either shoot early in the morning when I have the best sunlight (doesn’t happen that often,) or in the late evening I set up a white board on my white table, counter or butcher’s block with a light. Sometimes I have to use a step stool to get the right height, and there’s a lot of running back and forth to the computer to load up pictures and see what I’ve done. The indoor shots generally need some processing. I usually just adjust the levels with photoshop elements.
First off, I never thought I’d still be blogging after a year, to be honest. Its a lot more work than I would have ever imagined. I wouldn’t really say that its changed my life, but it has definitely taught me a greater appreciation for writers, photographers, food stylists, recipe-writers and web designers. I’ve cooked for years, but always used my eyes and hands for measuring (with the exception of baking, of course.) I think I took for granted what it meant to actually create and test a recipe and get it written down. Not to mention take pictures, then write about it and post it on a website. But I love doing it, and there’s an amazing community of people out there which is always refreshing. I never actually read food blogs before I started mine, but now I read a number of them everyday.