First time I saw the photos of Molly Wizenberg was when I randomly found her blog while reading a review of Delancey, a pizza place she and her husband opened. I was quickly drawn in by her great writing and simply composed photos. I spent a lot of time reading her blog, backwards, about the ups and downs of opening their 1st restaurant and also admiring her Polaroids. All her photos of foods, ingredients and her life are truly inspiring.
Q. Can you tell me what you’re trying to capture when you take your food photos?
A. Above all, I’m trying not to think too hard! Most of the time, I’m just looking to find the best natural light possible, and to keep it simple; when the light is good, the food looks good. I’m not interested in a lot of styling – or any, really – and more than anything, I just want to capture the way food looks when we really eat it. Using film is a big help, because it plays so nicely with natural light. I don’t have to do a thing.
Q. Have you always been interested in photography? If not when did you decide to start taking photos?
A. I wasn’t particularly interested in photography until I started blogging, in 2004. I wanted to be able to illustrate the recipes and stories I was writing, so I bought a little digital point-and-shoot and started playing with it. From there, photography got its hooks in me pretty quickly! I think I like it so much because it’s a natural complement to writing. It’s another way of telling a story.
Q. Do you feel that Seattle has any influence on you as a writer and/or as a photographer?
A. Absolutely. On a very basic level, this city just makes me feel like *me.* There’s no one aspect of it that I can point to; it’s all just exactly right for me. There’s no place I would rather live and work. In that way, this city inspires the heck out of me! But to be more concrete and a little less cheesy, this part of the world also has amazing light. That’s great for photography, and also for my general sanity.
Q. What made you switch from digital to film?
A. I’ve had a Flickr account for a few years, and maybe in late 2007, I noticed that some of my friends there were playing around with old film cameras. And I loved the results! My friend Hannah Huffman was using a Pentax K1000, and when I told her I wanted to get one, she gave me some pointers on what to look for and how to use it, and off I went! That was early 2008, and I’ve used nothing but film since. I now use a Nikon FE most days, though I also love my Hasselblad 500c/m, and my Polaroid cameras. I use mostly Polaroid for my blog, though I’m almost out of film. Very sad about that.
Q. Any photography heroes?
A. Oh yeah! I could name about a dozen, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll keep it to only three:
Christopher Hirsheimer. She’s primarily a food photographer, but she’s the first photographer of any genre whose work I could recognize by eye. She’s one half of the team behind the Canal House Cooking books, and whenever I get a new one in the mail, it makes my day.
Brian Ferry. Brian has become a friend, but I swear, I’m not biased! He has a brilliant eye and an incredible sense for light.
Nan Goldin. Her work was the first to ever move me physically – to really hit me in the gut and make me feel something. Her work scares the crap out of me, to be perfectly frank. It’s incredibly brave. And beautiful.