After I left the Pantry to start leading culinary tours abroad, I decided to start Milly's Kitchen so past clients and cooking class students could follow along on my new adventures. After weeks of compulsive research, obsessing about brands and megapixels and lenses, I finally bought a camera. Which I then left in its case, untouched for six months.
Then, on a whim, I decided to take a food photography workshop in Portugal. I packed my gear, boarded a plane and landed in light-filled Melides. Five days later, I was in love with photography.
I had only the flimsiest grasp of what ISO and aperture and shutter speed had to do with anything. It was frustrating to try to capture what I saw in my mind’s eye only to see a flat, lifeless image on my computer screen. But the few times I succeeded in capturing a sunset or a meal or a smile with a modicum of depth and beauty, I felt intensely gratified. I knew photography was for me.
So I’ve been at it since that summer in Portugal. Shooting my way around Seattle and Paris and San Francisco. Driving my husband gently insane with my requests that he hold his hand just so or wait to eat his ice cream cone until I’ve got my shot. (Thanks, Honey!) Reading photography books and blogs and magazines. And taking as many workshops as I can manage.
Last Saturday, I had the very good fortune of taking a food photography workshop with Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle and Vanille. Aran’s work is gorgeous. Each of her photos is a small story unto itself. Subtle layers of shadow and light. And so beautifully styled--with just the right balance of formal composition and loose, casual detail.
Aran did a wonderful job of laying out the technical elements of photography. But the thing I most appreciated was how she articulated her thought process as she styled and shot. That, for me, was priceless. Just watching her at work and understanding her flow.
To all aspiring photographers like myself, I so recommend taking a workshop from someone whose work inspires you. Each time I take one, I learn how to better wield my camera and capture compelling images. But more importantly, I connect with fellow photographers from around the world and get a massive jolt of creative motivation.
And that’s the real spark that keeps me shooting and experimenting and sharing here with all of you.