It’s always exciting for me to read blogs by chefs or bakers. I get a glimpse of their lives working in restaurants, kitchens, and bakeries. And that’s one of the reason why I do what I do as a photographer. The food may be important but what’s more important and interesting are the people behind the food. Please meet Julie Marie Craig, a professional baker and photographer from Northern California. Not only do you get to see amazing photos but also recipes and stories from her life.
Q. Can you tell me what you’re trying to capture when you take your food photos?
I’m trying to capture that moment when some type of food looks really amazing but not too amazing where you wouldn’t want to eat it. I like a bit of mess, imperfections in my photos. I learned photography on film cameras so with that, you learn to love the ‘happy accidents’ that always arise. I try to keep that up when I now have had to switch over to the more practical digital. Essentially, I’m just trying to recreate what I see in my head to something tangible, a photo. I generally know exactly how I want to photograph something before I do it. I don’t do a lot of planning or make sketches of how the photo should look. I just go with that gut reaction and that mental image that instantly comes to me.
Q. What inspires you?
Everything, I know that sounds cliche but there really isn’t one thing. Looking at magazines with amazing photography, movies, tv shows, farmers markets, props, light, nature, they all can lead me in different ways to having that thought, ‘oh I need to take ‘this’ photo now!’ One ingredient such as these amazing, beautifully colored eggs are my new inspiration. They are naturally different shades of pastels, with spots and bumps. I’m in love with them. I want to do a massive series of photos just of these eggs.
Q. Do you find any similarities between baking and photography?
I think when you have a passion for both there are a lot of similarities. When you are baking something you go through many steps to get the final result. It’s the same thing with photography. You can’t just take a photo and that’s it. There is a lot of prep work, set up, post processing. It’s all a process. While photos don’t have the same, ‘Put these exact things together, in these exact amount every time and you will get the same thing’ result. So I guess where that thought is going is that, photography is more like cooking, where you can throw things in and it’s not as scientific.
Q. What is photography to you?
Photography is capturing a fleeting moment in time, either on a precious negative or on a digital file. Finding the perfect light, setting, props, composition that all work in unison to create an image that you can never again. Photography is something I really love. When I haven’t taken photos for a week, I get a physical urging to take some. It’s awkward for me not to take photos.
Q. Any food photography heroes? If not any photography heroes?
Too many to count. Katie Quinn Davies can do no wrong. I am always in love with all her photos and she’s the reason I started food photography. Even some of her earliest images on her site still inspire my photos now. Andrea Gentl, who is the queen of dark photos. There are so many more, but those are my tops as of the moment. As for none food photographers, one of my old photo teachers, Ron Zack for the passion he had and made me had. He pushed us in class and made sure we cared about what we were doing.
Q. Best meal so far in 2012?
Hopefully the best is yet to come, I have had good meals that included homemade butter, cheese & bread. But no meal that comes to mind where I think, ‘That was amazing’ and still find myself craving it to this day. Unless you are counting a recent visit to Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building. Everything was marvelous and I have been known to consider cheese a meal.
All photos courtesy of Julie Marie Craig from Always With Butter