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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau

The Beauty of Food

I think that one of the reasons that I was first attracted to cooking was because of the pictures of food in the magazines that to which my mother subscribed, especially "Better Homes and Gardens." There were pictures of delicious desserts, main dishes, and salads that made me want to try to replicate how they looked and to see if they were as tasty as they appeared. And that is exactly why magazines and cook books succeed in their sales. A couple of the people in my photography apprenticeship group were focusing on food photography. Because our group often interacted with our mentor, I learned a lot about the art of food photography and a new appreciation of how the best images are created. When I was asked to take pictures for my women's club 2018 cook book, I reached out to one of these ladies for advice. The resulting photo shoots for these cook book pictures were really fun, and a couple of the final images have since earned awards for me.

I will never become a professional food photographer. For one thing, I don't have the necessary patience to create compelling images of food day after day because I have too many other things that attract my attention and beg to be captured. And, even more so, I enjoy post processing more than the preprocessing that is required when working with food. Like all photography, the goal is to appeal to the emotions of the viewer and to make them stop and spend some time appreciating the image. But these images are geared to do something else that is unique; they need to make the viewer want to taste. To do that, they have to make food look beautiful and inviting. That is why most people that work in this area also work with someone called a "food stylist" who actually prepares the food and literally styles it to look great and last for the length of the shoot. These days when I leaf through "Bon Appetit", "Southern Living", or any other magazines that have features about food I have an even greater appreciation of the images of dishes that attract my attention because I know more about the work that went into making them. And sometimes I will take my own food images. This was my dinner last night, a bright and colorful roasted chicken and vegetable dinner that was just the thing to have after another drab and dreary winter day. If I couldn't find beauty outside, I did find it on my dinner plate.

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