Double Stage Appearance!
After four years of entering Pink Lady® Food Photographer of Year, Tiree Dawson took home the category award for both Pink Lady® Apple a Day and Champagne Taittinger Wedding Food Photographer of the Year!
Description: The image is inspired by Vermeer's work and use of light.
Technical: Canon 5D Mark IV, 50mm, f6.3, 1/8 sec, ISO 800
Tiree, tell us a little bit about your background in photography and our awards.
I’m a self-taught photographer and I started out by doing shoots as favours for friends, in return for things like babysitting and roast dinners!
I've now been a professional for over 10 years and currently shoot around 80 weddings each year and produce images for more than 40 commercial clients. I love the variety of scenes I get to shoot - and also the simplicity of the fact that whatever it is I approach it in much the same way – aiming to capture graceful and beautifully composed images that tell the story of the subject as it unfolds, without interrupting it.
I first entered the Pink Lady® Food Photographer Awards in 2014. I had begun to do some photography work for local restaurants and bakeries and finally felt like I had something that I might dare to enter. I don’t think I was shortlisted that year, but I did manage to view the exhibition and was hugely inspired by the level of the entries. In the following years I went on to have images shortlisted and in the exhibition, but it was only after 5 years of persevering that I finally got to go up on that stage!
As the winner of our new Champagne Taittinger Wedding Food Photographer category, tell us a little bit more about your eye capturing image.
Preparing For The Nightshift
Technical: Canon 5D Mark IV, 35mm, f1.8, 1/200 sec, ISO 1600
I think I can probably admit that up to that point in my wedding photography career I had never really paid a huge amount of attention to food at weddings. More often than not the part of the day when everyone sits down to eat is the time when us photographers grab a much needed rest – and without feeling guilty about it given that people eating is generally not very flattering and taking photos can feel quite intrusive!
I enjoyed having a new challenge last year - working out ways to document wedding catering. After all, food and drink is a huge part of the celebrations (in terms of both budget and time) so it makes sense to try to do it justice in a creative way.
The winning shot was taken at the end of a wedding day in the Lake District. All of the formalities had happily unfolded and been ticked off, the dancing was in full swing and all that remained was for the evening snacks to be prepared. I wanted to give a behind the scenes feel to the shot and liked the composition of the couple carefully decorating their van. Wedding suppliers work tirelessly to make sure their couples and guests have the happiest day they can, so I like to try to include shots of them creating their magic too!
Who, or what, has been your biggest influence?
As much as I love to follow the work of other photographers, I generally find my inspiration comes from a wider field—paintings, films, TV series, shop window displays—all sorts of places. Street photography has been a real passion of mine for the last few years. I love being based in the remote English Lake District, but I also love plunging myself into chaotic urban environments and seeing what I can come up with using the same tools!
You said that the Awards have had a positive impact on your shoots and where you travel…what exciting projects have you been working on recently?
I am continually inspired by the variety of the finalist shots - they have made me desperate to broaden my horizons and travel as much as I am able to. I’ve adapted trips for both work and pleasure to make sure that they include some element of food photography – whether it be an early morning trip to the local markets or booking onto a vineyard tour. Being brave enough to take a diversion off the beaten track can lead to all sorts of exciting discoveries and being bold enough to ask if you can document them with your camera makes it even more exciting.
Why should our entrants keep on entering?
Because you never stand a chance of winning if you don’t…and because getting up on that stage as a winner is the best feeling ever!
Also from a business point of view, even being shortlisted brings great PR. Over the last few years I have had some great opportunities come my way as a direct result of being featured in the awards – from coverage in local and national press to being commissioned to write paid articles for magazines and signing a contract with a stock image agency.
Some awards can feel a bit cut-throat or over commercialised, but with Pink Lady® the atmosphere is very positive and supportive throughout. It is a great community to be a part of. I’m already thinking about my entries for next year, though I also hope that someone else gets to go up on the stage for the first time and feel that excitement of winning!