May I get the first image as a GIANT POSTER? It’s just so gorgeous! Going through Kimberley Hasselbrink’s blog gives me a sense of warmth especially right now when NYC is constantly being bombarded with snow storm after snow storm. The splashes of colors, the vibrantness of her images, the light, and the shadow are so well done. Oh…I can’t wait till her book, Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season, comes out in June.
Be sure to check more of her photos on Instagram.
Q. Can you tell me what you’re trying to capture when you take your food photos?
A. I pay a lot of attention to colors and textures – they bring images of food to life. I’m obsessed with light. I think about the structure of the ingredients too – kind of like sculpture. I’d love to inspire some kind of hunger or appetite or enthusiasm for the food that I’m shooting. Lately I’ve been enjoying just being present and capturing a moment, or a narrative, which is harder to translate into a tabletop scene. I’m interested in seeing how I can bring that back to the structure and control of the studio work that I do.
Q. Congrats on your first book. How was the experience of putting a book together?
A. Thanks! Making a book was crazy. It was like project-managing all these disparate projects: the recipe development, the writing, the recipe testers, and the photography. Photography was my happy place in all of that – the part of the whole where I found the most fluidity, the most ease. Overall it was kind of like boot camp: a good amount of the experience wasn’t fun during the process, but it feels great to be on the other side and to have learned so much. I bonded with my assistant, Stacy, who became a friend and trusted voice and confidante during the process – that reinforced the value of collaboration and peers around creative work.
Q. What is photography to you?
A. Magic! I love how photography captures the transient and the ephemeral. How it tells a story. How it records light. How it connects people.
Q. How did you get started in photography and how has your relationship with photography evolved from then to now?
A. When I was a teenager, I was kind of bohemian – very preoccupied with painting and drawing and writing. I picked up a camera and began taking these Victorian-inspired black and white images, sort of copying the work of Julia Margaret Cameron. I went to art school and wound up in a furniture design program, which I loved, because it was driven by craft, very conceptual, and really loose. There I began to learn about product photography because we had to document all of the work that we made and we had access to a lot of amazing equipment. When I wasn’t in school I invested most of my creative energy in photography and finally began to connect the dots: it was the thing that I chose to do, and that I always returned to, when I wasn’t obligated to make or do anything else. It took even longer to begin to apply that to food; up ’til then I mostly was enamored with the landscape of the American West, and documenting what I saw on my travels.
Q. Any food photography heroes? If not any photography heroes?
A. So many! I love the work of Michael Graydon, Jonathan Lovekin, Eric Wolfinger, Gentl and Hyers (Check out Andrea Gentl’s interview here), Peden + Munk, Ditte Isager. Outside of food I’m inspired by Richard Misrach, Todd Hido, Vivian Maier.
Q. Best meal you had in 2013?
A. Ohhh, tough question! Don’t they say that the last meal you had is always the best? I had a really beautiful dinner party for my birthday last December. I made a seafood feast for my friends: oysters, a crab and shellfish stew, hearty sides, lots of champagne. It was a beautiful day.
I went on a few backpacking trips last year, and after walking for miles with a heavy pack and pushing my body so hard, pretty much anything you eat tastes like the best meal ever. There was a gluten-free pesto pasta dinner that we had on a trip in Joshua Tree that was revelatory. We sat on tall rocks at sunset, feeling tired and happy and deeply enjoying a hot meal. Those are some standouts from last year.