Portfolio Review, Danielle Wood

I was truly delighted to receive the following portfolio review from Danielle Wood. Clearly she had invested time and effort to provide a constructive, informative and generally very helpful review in response to Assignment one, Sustaining Your Practice. Thank you Danielle.

Robin Stewart – Portfolio review
Thank you for emailing over your portfolio for me to review. Looking through the images I can clearly see that you have a passion for food and photography. You have experimented and created a body of work that reflects the various artists that have inspired you. You have exhibited an understanding of photography and lighting in both location, studio, and portrait photography. As a trained chef you have an eye for detail and create food that looks polished and professional. I can see this lends itself to more still life food photography. Your location shots have a different feel, they are more relaxed and atmospheric.

I really enjoyed the shot of the game birds in slide 72. The lighting, colours and tones work well and create a very atmospheric shot. You could add to this by shooting a dish that has a similar feel with the lighting and tones. The two shots together would create a story either by seeing the produce and the final product or through the composition and tones being similar.

The plated scallop in slide 3 feels graphic and has been styled beautifully. The shot feels dynamic, modern, and inviting. The food looks interesting and really is the star of the show as the props are very paired back.

The portrait of the man with the glass of wine in slide 8 displays your use of focus in photography. I like how you draw in the viewer by focusing on the man, the shallow depth of field blurs the rest of the image but maintains enough focus so the viewer can identify the surroundings. The image has depth and I feel you can experiment with this more. You could have a heroic image of wine to go with this shot.

I like the bowl of fruit in slide 90, perhaps you can do more in this style to create a series of work. I like the pears in slide 91, the reflections add another dimension to the shot. Both images are shot at a lower angle making the subject heroic, the black background adds to the drama.

I like the photograph of bread in slide 93. It feels modern and the food looks delicious. Being close in makes the shot abstract and you can see all the detail. Can this be pushed further by adding a drizzle of oil that has run down the front of a piece of bread to make it even more unctuous?

I love the cyanotypes! The salt creates abstract shapes which is both fun and interesting. The konbu looks elegant, both images remind me of a Man Ray.

Looking through some of the photographs of plated food you have kept the focus at the front of the image. Experiment with the focal point, perhaps push it back a little to create softness at the front of the food to add depth.

This is a competent body of work that displays skill and technique. To build on this and progress further I would look at the latest food magazines and cookbooks. Look at what is on trend and how features and books are put together. Is there a produce shot next to a cooked dish? What textures, colours and tones are used
for the different seasons? Are the props rustic or modern? What angles have been used.

I would recommend testing with another chef or cook and perhaps a prop stylist who can bring another dimension to your work. This allows you to focus just on the photography and will allow you to experiment with the composition and creating a story. Think of a theme and produce just three or four images in a day, spend time playing with props, lighting, angles, the focal point, and depth of field.
How can you tell a story through your photography? I can see you have shot a lot of travel photography, teaming this up with a cooked dish or drink could create enhance your work. Food photography is always evolving. Through technology to the ever-changing trends, from looking natural to being quite stylised. I would experiment with creating a style that is an extension of yourself. This can be with lighting, colour, texture, and composition. Do you like creating images that are more stylised as in slide 3, 90, 91 and 93? How can you push
this further?

Well done Robin I really enjoyed looking through your portfolio. Good luck with the course.

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