Q&A with Beth Galton, the photographer behind a delectable photo series featuring food cut in half
posted Monday, May 13, 2013 at 12:12 PM EDT
Beth Galton is a studio photographer whose latest photo series, Cut Food, has drawn praise and attention from photo blogs in the past few days. The images in the series feature food that's been, literally, sawed in half and photographed with results that are often surprising. What struck us most about the shots was how Galton, with the help of her food stylist, Charlotte Omnès, was able to not only uncover the unique geometric patterns hidden inside this bisected foodstuff, but also make it downright appetizing.
In our Q&A with Galton below, she gives us the back story on the Cut Food series and how she made it work.
(All images used with permission of the photographer.)
Imaging Resource: Please give us a little background on you as a photographer and the type of work you do.
Beth Galton: I am a studio photographer who shoots for advertising agencies, design companies and editorial magazines. My focus is on food and still life. I shoot TV commercials as well for advertising clients.
IR: Describe how the series Cut Food came about and what your goal was.
BG: This series was inspired by an assignment in which we were asked to cut a burrito in half for a client. Normally for a job, we photograph the surface of food, occasionally taking a bite or a piece out but rarely the cross section of a finished dish. Charlotte Omnès, the food stylist and I thought it would be interesting to explore the interiors of various foods particularly items commonplace to our everyday life. By cutting these items in half we move past the simple appetite appeal we normally try to achieve and explore the interior worlds of these products.
IR: Talk about the process of prepping the food for the shoots, including how you chose the food to use; how was it cut; and what were some practical problems you encountered in prepping.
BG: Charlotte approached the food in various ways. Some items were straight forward and looked great being cut in half without any manipulation. The donuts and ice cream were examples of this. Other items required food styling tricks such as using gelatin to solidify liquid in the soup cans and Kitchen Bouquet to color the bits of food in the noodle shot. Daniel Hurlburt, our digital tech/retoucher, was greatly involved and helped images that needed some adjusting and assembling all the elements we shot for the coffee pouring.
IR: Was there some food that worked better than others? Which food surprised you in either how well it worked or how it didn't?
BG: Foods like the donuts and the pickled eggs required the least amount of manipulation. They were straight forward to prepare. Many of the other foods were surprising when we cut them open. Cutting the soups in half did not look like what we expected. Many of the bits were hidden and Charlotte had to rework them to get the look we wanted.
IR: What type of gear do you use and what are you set-ups like? Do you typically work in the studio, out in the field, or both?
BG: I use a Phase One digital back on a Sinar 4 x 5 camera with a sliding back and a Schneider digital lens. I love my 100mm and 120mm lenses. This set-up was simple. A strobe head pulled away because I wanted a harder light. I work most of the time in the studio but occasionally work on location if the job calls for it.
IR: Are you going to continue with the Cut Food series? What else do you have coming up?
BG: Charlotte and I are talking about continuing this series but want to make it different. We have some ideas we are testing. We are also working on a video for cosmetics with prop stylist, Pamela Duncan Silver.