A day with Jonathan Gregson
As you may be aware this isn’t the first time we have had the honour of interviewing food photographer Jonathan Gregson! You can read about his passion for photography in our December 2014 post.
In 2015 Jonathan’s image ‘Salted caramel and pear cakes’ (left) was the winning image of our Marks & Spencer Food Portraiture category.
The image formed part of a vegetarian recipe story for Red Magazine, which he said, ‘the recipes were written by the wonderful Alice Hart - a good friend who I have the pleasure of working with regularly. Food styling was by Sunil Vijayakar and prop styling was by the equally fantastic Lucy Attwater'.
Technical: Hasselblad H4D-50
We recently heard the exciting news that Jonathan has founded Montford Place Studio. A 900 sq ft daylight photographic hire studio in central London. So we decided to catch up and find out more:
What made you decide to open your studio for others to use?
I had always wanted to put my experience over the last 15 years into a studio space. I felt there was a gap in the market for a beautiful lifestyle studio aimed specifically at food photographers. When I came across the building which is now Montford Place Studio, I fell in love with it.
Historically, it was a Victorian glassworks factory, but I knew, with the right renovations, it would make a wonderful shooting space. It is perfectly located just a stone's throw from the Oval cricket ground.
What were the key design considerations in developing the studio?
I wanted to appeal to photographers, food stylists and clients alike, so it was key to get all areas working hard. The kitchen has been kitted out with top of the range appliances by Neff, the work surfaces are all natural stone, and the kitchen was crafted by an amazing carpenter in American black walnut. The mezzanine is the client area, where clients can work undisturbed but still see the shoot unfold below. There is a gate built in to the mezzanine balustrade so photographers can get a rarely achievable elevated view of complete table settings, or a bird's eye view of prepping recipes on the moveable island unit. There’s super fast broadband, Spotify integrated into the sound system, a tea & coffee station, and electric full blackout blinds amongst other features too!
Please tell us about a typical day with Jonathan in the studio
Sadly I don’t get to shoot in Montford Place Studio, but I work from my other studio nearby at Tower Bridge. Generally the day starts with coffee as the props are unpacked and the food stylist gets settled in. It is important for me that the kitchen, props, and shoot area are all close to each other so that while we work, we are in constant communication. In conjunction with the art director and client, myself, the prop stylist and food stylist will run through the shot list and establish a shoot order for the day. Mostly the shots aren’t set in stone, but it is good to get an idea from the offset how the day may unfold. Generally we are able to adapt the photographs when the food comes on set so that we shoot each dish how it looks best. At the end of the day, the perk is eating what we have photographed!
I have just returned from my first commissioned trip of 2016. I travelled to Peru where I photographed women coffee growers for Taylors of Harrogate. It was an incredible trip into the Andean jungle to document the great work they do with women producers there.
Also, in June 2016 a book I photographed will be published by Headline - 'A Handful of Flour: Recipes from the Shipton Mill’. Written by Tess Lister, the recipes were amazing and I can’t wait to see it in print.
To connect with Jonathan visit:
All image credits: Jonathan Gregson