Food Photography Palate

While the English summer prevails, we thought what better time to talk to Darren Eastwood-Hickson, winner of the Marks & Spencer Food Portraiture category in 2017 for his image ‘Salad Plate’. Described as ‘A metal plate, with a mixture of leaf salad and tomatoes on a paint splattered background. A metal pouring jug and a metal fork.’

Food Stylist: Clover Hutson

Technical: Mamiya 645DF/Leaf Credo 40/80mm Lens
How does it feel to be a Finalist for the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2017?

It’s amazing. I've entered the competition every year since its launch and have been shortlisted once before. But now to be a finalist chosen from some of the thousands of incredible images received is very exciting.

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Please tell us more about capturing your Finalist image. For example; what was happening around you, what inspired the shot, what time of day, challenges you had in capturing it.

I'd recently moved into an incredible old house with beautiful big windows that produced lovely soft light throughout the day. I wanted to experiment with the light in a more natural setting rather than the light in a studio. We had been shooting some promotion shots and created this with ingredients that had been left over from earlier in the day. It was my "one last shot" moment before we lost the light completely. This was the result.

What was it about the image that you feel fitted the category so well?

It felt like a portrait in the true sense of the word. It felt composed, considered but still very natural with a great depth of colour. I loved that it was so very different and vibrant.

What would you say attracts you most to the photography of food?

The whole process has always really appealed to me, planning the dish or recipe, sourcing the backgrounds and props. When you find a special item, perhaps a fork or a plate, it can really make an image come to life. I also love the variety food photography offers you, there is always something different to shoot and new ways to present dishes.

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What are your thoughts on the cultural impacts of new smartphone apps on the photography sector? Positive, negative, no impact? Why?

It's made everyone a photographer, people are always taking pictures of what they are eating no matter where they are or what it is. I think some of the effects you can achieve are really interesting but I prefer my work to have a more natural feel.

Which photographers, if any, have most influenced your work?

Photographers that have influenced me, Don McCullin, Bob Carlos Clarke and David Loftus.

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Please tell us a little about where you live and if, at all, how it influences your photography.

I live in Wakefield in West Yorkshire, which forms part of the rhubarb triangle. I grew up in Manchester and have worked there my entire career, it’s a great hub of creativity in the North of England and food has been central to the development of the city.

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Darren, it would be great to hear about any of your latest work or projects that you would like our audience to hear about?

I’ve had lots going on with some major brands, and I’ve noticed a higher demand for more social photography as brands get more and more competitive on social platforms. Recent projects include the likes of Instragram photography for Aldi and Photography from Lakeland’s social media channels. We had a head-start on Christmas with Coop Christmas, which produced some really nice, festive images. We recently won some really big clients as well – one of them being Häagen-Dazs ice cream which I feel came as a direct result of the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year award.

If you would like to connect with Darren visit:

Website: www.stmphotouk.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/STMPhotoUK/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/STMPhotoUK

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stmphotouk/

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