Why I do what I do

seabass-sashimi

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When people ask me what I do and I say I’m a photographer, they always assume you are a fashion photographer or press photographer. I remember when I was at college, even there, most of the lecturers were surprise that I wanted to photograph food and knew very little about food photographers and food photography. Fortunately, thanks to the hysteria in food over the last 10 years or so, a great deal more awareness has been brought to food photography and food photographer world, so people are not quite so startled these days.

The next question I am asked is almost automatic; how did I get into food photography? Well, the answer to me is quite simple and it happened very naturally.

As a child I always loved food. It wasn’t just sustenance, it was a real love for the flavours, the textures, the fun of cooking and creating something that tasted great by mixing a few ingredients together. Something that could be shared with others who also shared in the enjoyment of eating it. This in itself, made you feel good of course.

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Vesta Chow Mein Pack

I stumbled across the Vesta pack in the picture above recently at my local Tesco  and it brought back a very early childhood memory.  As a child of probably about 9 or 10, I remember seeing what I remember as virtually the same pack on the shelf of my local supermarket and was amazed that you could make all this from the ingredients in the box, in a matter of minutes. I thought Wow! how amazing is that. Of course, while it was great fun to make, the taste was OK, but not great, however, at the time,  this was one of my first experiences of cooking. If you can call it that. Combined with watching my mother cook and smelling those great cooking smells in the kitchen, I soon got more involved myself.

I have always loved aromatic foods and being born in the Middle East, I guess some of that was in my blood, so it wasn’t long before I started cooking my own food. Loving spicy and aromatic food, even as a child and to this day. I remember trips to nearby Southall to stock up on spices and ingredients, not so readily available in supermarkets as they are today.

As a young teen, my love for gadgets grew and one of the reasons I first picked up a camera was not because I wanted to take photos but because I liked it as a gadget. Fiddling with the buttons and seeing what they did. As I used the camera, I got more and more interested in the image and less in the buttons. Soon, I was hooked. Setting up my own darkroom in my bedroom and photographing family members then the school play. Even making some money from this.

A professional room-set photographer had a studio not far from my home. I often noticed flashes firing off as I walked past a partially open door. So on one occasion, I decided to drop in for a chat.  Seeing a professional studio for the first time was an amazing experience and I was hooked.

In the years to come that was my number one hobby and when it came to picking a career, it was already decided. Off I went to college to learn more. A couple more years assisting, then the big plunge, setting up on my own.

The rest is history and now I work for a broad range of customers from small start-ups to major brands. This includes the likes of  Uncle Bens, Coca Cola and Dolmio, Twix to name bit a few.

Food is evocative. It enlightens the senses and gets them reacting. For me, more than any other photography does.

That’s why I do what I do.. A love of food and a love of gadgets that opened my eyes to creativity.