Food photography can take all kinds of shapes. In Natasha Nicholson’s case it’s geometrical forms. We had a little chat with her about her project Geo Food.
Natasha Nicholson is what you could call a professional generalist. As manager for a photography and motion studio in Toronto, she does food and drink photography, lifestyle work, and commercial direction for live action. But it’s not all work and no fun for Natasha. Running personal project is an important part of her artistic and professional development process. Such as her awarded Geo Food series.
The series Geo Food is a project in which she could act as her own client for a change. She gave herself the mission to stay connected to what she love about image making and wanted to create images that would be strong enough to submit to competitions. And rewarded she got: in 2014 she won the PDN Taste competition and she got the award for Applied Arts in 2015. The images also got featured in the FoodPrint book 2015.
The project emerged from a concept of contemporary still life. Natasha saw that bright colors with emphasis on graphic compositions, as shapes and background surfaces, were more and more present in contemporary photography, online and in editorial work, and she wanted to somehow fit that into her project.
“This was a whole new approach to how we traditionally looked at food and this excited me” Natasha says. For her work the color palettes and, of course, quality of light is dominating.
“I always try to keep things simple by starting with one light and building from there” Natasha explains when asked about her way of working.
“I try out various light modifiers to find the right look and feel. I always have a preconceived idea of what I want to achieve lighting wise”.
“I like the play of sunlight on the set as well, as it is unpredictable and gives unexpected results.”
With the use of a Softlight Reflector with grid and a Profoto Snoot with grid she could pinpoint certain areas for extra contrast and effect.
“I think the Profoto gear is perfect for the look I was going for. The lighting is always punchy giving crisp outlines and long shadows.”
“The challenging part is to make images that you are proud of”, Natasha says. “Sometimes I don’t ‘see’ the shot until I revisit the files at a later date”.
That’s exactly what happened when she shot the purple and gray series she calles Geo Food2. The end result turned out very different than she originally intended. And that’s why it’s her favorite:
“I felt the props, color scheme and food choices worked really well together.”
Even though Natasha has been in the business for a long time, she claims she is developing as a photographer.
“I think it is imperative to stay connected to my creative work to achieve balance and continue to love what I do. Creating personal work is rewarding. Pushing yourself creatively and technically even after 20 years, I am still learning. With each shoot I try to do something different and add one more tool to my toolbox.“