I’ve been thinking again about food and photography. Taking pictures of food used to be a highly specialized skill, and now every Tom, Dick and Shirley with a cell phone does it.
There was a glorious moment in my career as a jobbing hack when I went up to Yorkshire to talk to a soup maker (Yorkshire Provender) for the Daily Telegraph. It took all day, and a photographer and his food stylist were there all the time I was. And when I’d finally had enough – at about six in the evening, having been discussing soup for 8 hours or so - the photographer was still hard at it, arranging elegant soup bowls, swirls of cream, and sprigs of chervil. I admired his focus.
This is one of the pics from Provender’s current website, though it wasn’t taken on that day.
And so to my friend Jason Oddy. He usually takes photographs that look like the one below; it’s part of Mentouri University, in Constantine, Algeria, 2013, from a series titled “Concrete Spring.”
I happened to have dinner with him in London in a Turkish restaurant called Yasar’s, in Blackhorse Road, in Walthamstow. And since he had his phone with him, and since he was the professional photographer, I asked him to take a picture of the kebabs we were eating. It came out looking austere, simple without being exactly minimalist, and definitely architectural; very much like a Jason Oddy photograph in fact. I think that’s a good thing.