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Entry 7: What Food has Taught MeEntry 7: What Food has Taught MeDiary

TheTravelingSeeTheTravelingSee8 months ago
(Disclaimer: This is not a tutorial. I am not an expert on food photography nor would I ever claim to be. Feel free to ask questions if you have any, but don't assume that I actually know everything that I'm talking about. I'm learning as well. I will also most likely ramble about trivial or inconsequential things in this article, so bear with me.)

Hello again. It's been a sufficiently long time since my last entry so I found it appropriate to finally update my articles as to what I've been up to in the last seven months. Suffice to say, my last year of university among other commitments have been exceedingly time-consuming and have resulted in minimal activity in regards to my photographic pursuits. That being said, I have devoted much of these last seven months, if anything, to preparing for an all new series of photography. Food.
https://static.myfigurecollection.net/upload/pictures/2020/01/27/2374489.jpeg
https://i.ibb.co/LSpQqLJ/Miku-Food-Sig1.jpg

I am not the first to attempt to incorporate food and figure photography together. There are many photographers who have done this deceptively nuanced genre of figure photography great justice over the years and I felt as though it was time for me to follow in their footsteps.

The one photo that I can definitively say had coerced me into trying my hand in food photography was the following image made by the very talented Mushiemorphosa
https://i.ibb.co/PWQcpZC/2261045.jpg

I remember thinking at the time that the concept, the color, the clarity and the overall composition was a delight to behold and wondered what it would take for me to do something similar. Unsurprisingly, the necessary materials and resulting learning curve that differentiated good food photography from the figure photography that I had already been producing up until that point were staggering.

Food photography would be unlike anything I had produced in the past. Whereas diorama photography allowed for the luxury of a great many hours of preparation and composition time, food spoils rather quickly and loses its initial impact should a photo not be taken with haste. Composing a simple food photo also requires a completely different philosophy from that of the standard diorama photography.

For example: Top-down flatlays of food are a rather popular means to display a setup of dishes as opposed to the general straight on and or 3/4ths angles that I generally used for most of my figure photos. However, when incorporated with a figure such as a nendoroid, this style photograph is no longer possible.

Here's an example of a flatlay that I did in conjunction with the following figure photo below.
https://i.ibb.co/m50JDsK/Flatlay-Bread1.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/LR7mdLb/Holo-Roller-Sig1.jpg

As many have pointed out to me, this style of food and lighting much rather prefers the flatlay composition in this circumstance as opposed to the angle that I ended up using for my actual figure photo. Nendoroid photography in general caters more to a brighter and livelier setting as opposed to the more somber tone that I ended up going for.

Beyond composition and lighting however, food photography brought along a slue of other challenges for me to overcome. Some of these being the type of lighting that I needed to use, the "props" (plates, cups, herbs, linens, etc.) for the food, and the backdrops being used among other things. Prior to this moment in time, I was completely content with taking photos atop my kitchen table with a few lamps and some Styrofoam boarding. But with food photography, not only did I need to evolve to a complete studio setup with studio lighting, I also needed to purchase or create some sort of backdrop of which I would be able to take my photos in front of.
https://i.ibb.co/ZfhRxNM/DSC04207.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/jHSv1XZ/DSC04202.jpg

I eventually settled for the Square Perfect 1002 Sp-160 studio lights to test my hands with some older tech that my father had lying around. I eventually bought my food photography surface from Erickson Surfaces to give me the best possible quality that I could manage. (The below photo was taken from their website)
https://i.ibb.co/f9xtzyC/Erickson-Woodworks-JStrutz-170809-0339-2048x2048.png

After having gathered all the necessary materials and equipment for my new series, I then proceeded to... stall for another few months without any updates as to what I was doing. I more or less disappeared from social media for those six months that I'd been prepping for food photography. I didn't really want anyone to know what I was doing nor what I was planning. Once I did have everything I needed however, I felt such a resounding pressure to produce an amazing initial photo for the series. It was as if I had to sell to everyone the idea that figure food photography was worth their time to view.

This anxiety carried on for a good long while. Ironically, the more I waited, the greater the pressure I felt of needing to produce something excellent. I did correspond with some fans during this time, but never made mention of what exactly I was doing other than "I've spent a lot of time and effort preparing," or "it'll be big."

I quickly realized that I was trying to convince myself that food photography was worth my time, effort and money and was more or less afraid that I'd hyped something up that might not have even come across as visually appealing to anyone. Additionally, I'd also noticed that I did not have the same drive for the hobby as I did before. I was burned out, and had little to no inspiration remaining.

Evidently, I really grappled with myself while producing the first few photos of the series (pictured above). The sense of inadequacy ate at my mind, but in effect, made me strive to improve. Eventually I realized that the flatlay format could be used to decent effect with the dolls that I own.
https://i.ibb.co/zX47LRt/Mirai-Flatlay-Sig1.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/zS2GzxZ/DSC04249.jpg

I believed that these photos were a step in the right direction. But after another somber photo, I wanted to create something brighter and with more impact. The following photo was the result of this.
https://i.ibb.co/C58xqkN/Floating-Macaron-Sig1.jpg

This photo was received rather well. Many people praising the colors and composition. I myself was rather satisfied with the photo... Until I looked back at my first macaron photo that I had taken back in 2018.
https://i.ibb.co/QvvDTTk/Macaron-Nendo1.jpg

It finally occurred to me as to why so much of the passion and inspiration had faded by the time I had started this series. In the beginning of my figure photography "career," I had simply tried my best to place nendoroids in as many fun and or interesting situations as possible.
https://static.myfigurecollection.net/upload/pictures/2018/11/04/2089849.jpeg
https://static.myfigurecollection.net/upload/pictures/2018/05/28/1989520.jpeg
https://static.myfigurecollection.net/upload/pictures/2018/06/22/2005120.jpeghttps://static.myfigurecollection.net/upload/pictures/2018/03/24/1948374.jpeghttps://static.myfigurecollection.net/upload/pictures/2018/05/06/1974781.jpeghttps://static.myfigurecollection.net/upload/pictures/2018/07/29/2028885.jpeg

But recently, all I really focused on were my ability to achieve higher technical achievements such as my advancements in lighting and editing. Over time my photography felt bland to me for a reason that I couldn't quite define. In essence, although I had grown to become a more technically sophisticated photographer, I had lost the soul that gave appeal to my older works.

And so I decided that a change was needed. Something that maintained the character of my past photography, yet still showcased the newer skills I'd picked up from my months of photographic study. The result is pictured below.
https://i.ibb.co/v16KyPb/Experimental-Macaron-Sig1.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/SscPgYM/DSC04285.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/3BPjfGX/DSC04306.jpg

This was likely one of the most difficult setups that I'd ever done. And although I don't think it's amazing by any means, I do think that it's a step in the right direction for bringing back the childlike whimsy and wonder that the hobby brought me when I first started two years back.

Thank you for reading into some of my thoughts that I've had over the last seven months. It's nice to get everything down on paper every once in a while to evaluate as to how I'm progressing with this hobby.

Recently, I've been accepted to participate within the Figubo Exhibition. Which is a collection of photographs from some of the most talented figure photographers around the world that are to be displayed in a photo gallery in the Czech Republic. It was a long-standing goal of mine to be accepted into this exclusive group of photographers, and also a high honor.

Despite this achievement, I cannot become complacent with my abilities. The moment we stagger in our self-improvement is the moment we die as artists. I will continue to toil and produce high quality photography for everyone to enjoy. I thank you all again for reading and hope that you stay tuned for the next update.

Cheers!

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Comments19

IchirakuPhoto8 months ago#75800199How did you get the wire out of yours shots? Love your unique style and how you were able to transform food photography and figure photography!!

Thank you for your comment! ^^

There are a couple ways to remove the wires out of the shot via the use of Photoshop (which is the application that I use to do so). The two primary ways that I usually remove them are via the "clone-stamp" and "spot heal" tools on the Photoshop tools bar. You can find plenty of tutorials online about them on YouTube if you looked them up. There are more ways to remove the wire that are a little more involved, but I don't know if you wanted to sit through another essay ><

Here's a BTS video of how I edited my most recent "Falling Macarons" photo though!
8 months ago
How did you get the wire out of yours shots? Love your unique style and how you were able to transform food photography and figure photography!!
8 months ago
Jnk12968 months ago#75799760I think they were making in joke / implying that they want you to make a figure calendar. xD
On a different note, could I ask what kind of wire that is you're using to do your suspended/floating shots (like the falling macaron picture)? :o I've seen people use fishing line but that's different!


Thank you for your comment! ^^

I've never used fishing line. I see why people might like it, but I already know that if I tried to use it, it'd be much too unruly and difficult to manage. I use standard gardening wire that I buy from my local arts and crafts store (Michael's). It's thin and the rigidity helps with posing the figures (and macarons in this case). I personally believe that this wire has helped me to create more scenes that another photographer likely would've given up on as posing with fishing line could become rather troublesome.
8 months ago
TheTravelingSee8 months ago#75770300Thank you for leaving a comment, but I'm not sure what you are referring to. What figure calendar?

I think they were making in joke / implying that they want you to make a figure calendar. xD

On a different note, could I ask what kind of wire that is you're using to do your suspended/floating shots (like the falling macaron picture)? :o I've seen people use fishing line but that's different!
8 months ago
eviljackspicer8 months ago#75770294When can we expect the 2021 Figure Calendar?

Thank you for leaving a comment, but I'm not sure what you are referring to. What figure calendar?
8 months ago
When can we expect the 2021 Figure Calendar?
8 months ago
galablue8 months ago#75769945Hehe, now I'm curious -- what's the most dangerous place you've put your figures?

Hehe. I'm kind of glad that you asked.

Here is a photo I took of my doll while my family and I were on vacation in Inyo National Park. We rented a motor boat and placed her at the very bow without any real support. If she fell into the water, then I'd have to dive in to get her. Mind you, this is glacial water at 9000 ft (2750 meters).
https://i.ibb.co/fYym18q/Boat-Lookout-Sig1.jpg

Here's another one of the same doll standing on the railing of a long walkway in Bolsa Chica, CA.
https://i.ibb.co/2dgFSGD/Redcoat-Sunset-Sig1.jpg

Here's one of my nendo buddy Aoi when I was first starting out with figure photography. It looks like she's in a river valley but this is actually a drainage pipe that leads straight into the ocean. Right after I took this photo, a large wave crashed in and almost cast poor little Aoi into the sea. I almost lost my camera to water damage that day too ^^
https://static.myfigurecollection.net/upload/pictures/2017/07/23/1797930.jpeg

Here's another one of my Miku being suspended over a fountain. Not nearly as dangerous as the other photos, but one tumble and I would've had to dive in for her too!
https://i.ibb.co/VwnpXnW/Senbon-LASig1.jpg

I liked to have fun and take some risks with my figure photography. It gives me a challenge and makes sure that I always appreciate these little guys. They're just so darn cute! ><
8 months ago
TheTravelingSee8 months ago#75769930Thank you for taking the time to comment.
I've placed my figures in more dangerous places


Hehe, now I'm curious -- what's the most dangerous place you've put your figures?
8 months ago
TheTravelingSee8 months ago#75769931I'm surprised people remember it ^^
When I look back at that photo series I actually cringe a little bit for some reason. A lot of the photos just weren't that great. The series itself wasn't that great either to be honest. But after having returned the article that I wrote regarding its creation, I remembered as to why it was so importamt to me to begin with.
Anywho, thank you for taking the time to comment! ^^

Thank you for the response! I think it's the thought that counts and how you transform your ideas into art. What also counts is people liking your works. Artists eventually improve from time to time. You've come a long way now and your photos are getting prettier and prettier!

It's ok to cringe at your older works. A few months ago I was PM'ing a friend because she wanted to see my older artwork. I definitely cringed at some I've added to the PM and was thinking ,"why did I make this?" XD
8 months ago
D_A_R8 months ago#75767064Food and figures - 2 of my favorite things. :D I think you did a great job capturing your passion for it in your photos. You put a lot of work in it and the result came out great. You can be proud of yourself. I think the result could easily be an ad for a japanese café.
Keep up the good work.


Thank you for taking the time to write a comment ^^

I don't think I'm that good yet >< Some people have approached me to ask if I usually charge a rate for my photography. In my opinion though, once you start charging for your hobby, it isn't a hobby anymore. You should do it because you want to, nit because you're getting paid. That's not to say that we shouldn't ever get paid for our photography, simply that, at this current point in time, I must improve to the point where I am worthy of getting paid for my photography.

As I am now, I am simply not good enough.
8 months ago
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