Yossy Arefi

Yes! It’s always awesome to find a photographer that still photographs with film. There’s no room or time to fuss around with the subject when you’re shooting analog because you only get certain number of frames you can shoot with. You really need to know what works before clicking the shutter. And Yossy Arefi of Apt. 2B Baking Co. does it amazingly. Check out my interview with photographer Yossy Arefi about shooting film and find out who are her photography heroes.

Yossy Arefi

Q. Can you tell me what you’re trying to capture when you take your food photos?
A. I want to show tangible and real moments; moments that aren’t quite perfect. I want the food I am shooting to look delicious and edible, like someone could just grab it off of the page. I much prefer a photo of a freshly baked pie, bubbling away on a sheet pan to a perfectly styled and propped whatever. For my blog, I also like to show a bit of real life food prep and a bit of real mess. I think those types of shots really inspire people to roll up their sleeves and cook, which is what a good food blog should do.

Q. Have you always been interested in photography?
A. Yes! I remember discovering my parent’s point and shoot camera when I was a kid and bringing it to school so I could take pictures of my friends. They gave me my first SLR when I was a senior in high school and I took classes at a local studio, then took a couple more classes in college. I loved the magic of processing my own film and developing photos in the darkroom. I have so many memories of my first semester at college; away from home, holed up in the darkroom, watching photos come alive in the developer and listening to Pearl Jam and Sleater Kinney while it rained outside. Does that sentence make it glaringly obvious that I went to school in the Pacific Northwest? Haha!

When I moved to New York I stumbled upon a Pentax K1000 in a thrift shop and it reinvigorated my love for taking photos. I just love the heavy click of the shutter and the textures that camera and lens captures. Around that same time I started photographing food for my blog and eventually transitioned out of the kitchen job I was working at the time to freelance food photography, food writing and food styling.

Q. Moving from Seattle to NY, did it change the way you create recipes and in your photography?
A. Yes, absolutely. I had always been a hobbyist photographer when I lived on the west coast, but I really dove into photography seriously around the time I moved to New York and started my blog. There are tons of photographers living and working in New York, and I have been lucky to meet and work with some really talented people here that have helped me develop both my technical skills and artistic vision.

I have lived in New York long enough to have some roots forming here, but I still am a Northwesterner at heart. It is just so lush and beautiful there all year long. I try to spend a good chunk of time in Seattle every summer to pick wild blackberries, visit the ocean and mountains and recharge and get reinspired. I know people think Seattle is a dark and rainy place, but the summers there can’t be beat and let us not forget that all the overcast mornings make perfectly diffused natural light.

Q. What is it about film that keeps you shooting with it?
A. I love the natural texture, color and luster of film photographs. There is something about the way that film captures color and light that I find so appealing. It feels tangible and gritty and sometimes imperfect. I also really like that shooting film forces me to slow down a little and really consider everything in the frame. I have to manually focus each shot and I usually only shoot about 10 exposures for a blog post so there isn’t much room for error. When I get my scans back from the lab there is no re-touching. I mean, if you are processing your own film and developing your own prints, there are plenty of adjustments you can make, but when I get my scans back from the lab I usually just do a little cropping and maybe a contrast adjustment and that’s it. When I am processing and retouching my digital photos, I find that I get caught up in that editing process and can keep making slight adjustments forever…That said, I shoot most of my professional work digitally for ease and flexibility.

Q. Any food photography heroes? If not any photography heroes?
A. Oh man, too many. Like just about everyone you’ve interviewed for this series, I am a huge fan of Gentl and Hyers. I also am so inspired by Ditte Isager’s soothing images and Marcus Nilsson’s striking ones. I love Jonathan Lovekin’s moody photography in Nigel Slater’s books and the photography in Donna Hay Magazine by Chris Court is so simple and lovely. In the non-food world, I love Sally Mann’s evocative and intimate portraits and Vivian Maier’s street photography is truly incredible.

Q. Best meal you had in 2014 so far?
A. That’s a tough one! I took a quick trip to Philly for work a couple of weeks ago and ate a delicious meal of brightly flavored small plates at Zahav that I just loved. It was full of warm bread, fresh hummus and lots of crazy-good vegetable dishes. I also discovered that Alameda, which is luckily just up the road from my house, has the most delicious cheeseburger in the hood and a great late night happy hour. I always love a good burger.

All photos courtesy of Yossy Arefi from Apt. 2B Baking Co.
Yossy Arefi

Yossy Arefi

Yossy Arefi

Yossy Arefi

Yossy Arefi

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