Eat the Art

AMBER 1We are delighted to welcome Amber Locke to our 2019 Advisory Board, to help select our short list pictures. Amber runs a creative photography and design business from her home in a small rural village in Derbyshire, UK and specialises in artwork and design using fruit, vegetables, flowers and other natural elements. Known as ‘Raw Vegan Blonde’ on Instagram she has a following of nearly 100K.

She has recently joined forces with Theo Randall for an ‘Eat the Art’ promotion where restaurant diners can simultaneously enjoy both an exclusive menu (cooked by Theo Randall at the InterContinental London Park Lane) and artwork (designed by Amber) using the very same ingredients in a novel synthesis of their different creative talents.

We have invited her to the blog today to find out a little more….

Welcome to the blog Amber, we’d love to hear more about your background?

Hi, thank you. I’m so delighted to have joined the Advisory Board and really look forward to the judging in February.

I run a creative food and photography businesses from my studio at home in Derbyshire and offer a bespoke design service to clients both in the UK and abroad. I’ve written and photographed two recipe books, ‘Nourish’ and ‘Savour’ published by Octopus Book in 2016 and 2017 respectively (which have been translated into nine different languages) and I also sell my artwork on-line as limited edition prints.

I’m passionate about fruit, vegetables and healthy eating and to me these ingredients are not only really good for you nutritionally they also have a wonderful aesthetic appeal too. My artwork predominantly features fruit, vegetables and flowers and aims to showcase their unique qualities, reflect the changing seasons of the year and also to be a celebration of delicious, healthy living.


How did you first get into photography?

It really happened by chance. I’d always had a vague interest as my father was a super-keen amateur photographer and I remember as a child being fascinated watching him develop his own photographs in a dark room with all the strange trays of chemicals and a spooky red light! However, it all seemed incredibly complicated to me so I wasn’t really tempted to pick up a camera myself until much later in life and in fact, it wasn’t until I had my first iphone that I really started to enjoy photography as I suddenly found I could take reasonable quality pictures with the little gadget I carried in my back pocket!

I loved the freedom of it and I started using it to take photos of my artwork for Instagram. I’d precariously stand on a chair hovering above my compositions with my arms reached out to take the photograph. This process worked perfectly well for me, however when I got my first book deal a few years later my publisher suggested I take all the photographs for the book myself and it was then I knew I had to finally take the plunge, invest in a proper camera and learn how to use it.

I started with a Canon 5D MkIII and a nice lens and enlisted the help of a friend who was a professional photographer to give me a quick crash course. From then on I taught myself and gradually became more confident and when other people began commissioning me to create artwork for them the photography element became a natural add-on to the service I offered and when larger brands became interested in my artwork and photography I knew I must be doing something right!


What inspires your work?

Nature.  Fruit, vegetables, flowers and other natural elements are what I gravitate to and I’m always in awe of the infinite varieties and different colours, shapes and textures of these ingredients. Unless I’m working to a client brief it’s often not until I start to cut up them up that inspiration strikes for a style of artwork and once it does I’m off in my own world, in my zone until I’ve finished and I often step back to look at what I’ve created and wonder how I did it! Thank fully I’ve got a camera to capture the composition and prove that I did and if I’ve been running a time-lapse video while I’ve been working then it’s always interesting to watch it back and as see the composition come together.


Do you have any tips for entrants this year?

As a self-taught photographer I don’t feel it’s my place to give any technical advice but from a creative point of view I’d say really just try to be yourself. Go with your flow but also try to find a distinctive niche in it and don’t be apprehensive about to trying out new ideas either, however quirky or crazy they may at first seem. You never know where they might lead!


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