Food Photography Powerhouse

In 2018 Joshua Shilvock took 2nd place in the Student Photographer of the Year category for his image entitled ‘Spears of the Earth’.


Description: A bundle of freshly hand cut asparagus, taken during an early morning visit to a local asparagus farm

Technical: Canon EOS 6D, EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM

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 was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit a local asparagus farm to see the crops being traditionally grown and harvested. I was drawn to a freshly cut pile of asparagus lying on the ground at the side. Although they were the rejects, I found them to show more character than the 'perfect' ones. I intentionally showed how they were cut rather than the spears due to the vast array of colours and textures. The image was taken mid-morning as the asparagus pickers started early. I found some challenges in finding the ideal light I wanted due to the cloud cover at that time of day. That and not treading in manure.

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

I felt the simplicity of the image and the fact that I used natural light rather than studio light created more of challenge and the fact that I am still a student.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your background in photography

It started out as a childhood interest which grew into a passion and then into something more, and hopefully into a commercial career. I'm a 20 year old student studying Commercial Photography at the University of Derby and have a passion for food and cooking, alongside this I'm a keen Ballroom and Latin Dancer.


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

Rob Grimm, Sasha Ferrier, Bryn Griffiths, Martin Wonnacott, Andrew Scrivani, Penny De Los Santos.

Not long after the competition we connected Joshua with fellow Finalists Powerhouse, based in Leeds to arrange work experience in a professional food photography studio.


Please tell us about your visit to Powerhouse and what activities you were able to take part in?

Kay, the studio manager, welcomed me on my arrival. I was then introduced to Justine, who showed me around the studio and introduced me to people that I’d be working with along the way. My jaw hit the floor when I saw how many props they have; all of mine would fit onto one shelf in there. I had been arranged to shadow and assist Silas, a senior photographer, with a photo shoot for a large cheese supplier. Assisting in the setting up for the shoot as well as having some aesthetic input was all part of the experience. It made me feel like an important part of the team, being encouraged to participate in the discussion element as much as possible. A perk of the job was sampling some of the items that were photographed throughout the day, taking a particular liking to the Char Coal Cheese. I learnt a lot from my short time at Powerhouse and in the end, was reluctant to come home.


A big thanks to all the staff at Powerhouse Photography for making me feel welcome whilst there and a special thanks to Neil Adams and Caroline Kenyon, for making this all possible. 

What were your thoughts after the visit, would you like to pursue a career in food photography?

I’m grateful for the experience of working at a top class Commercial Photography studio and left feeling inspired. When I complete my studies at Derby University, I intend to pursue a career in Photography and will concentrate on Food Photography as my speciality: a subject that I’m passionate about. I’d like to keep in contact with Powerhouse and hope to be allowed to attend some shoots in the immediate future as I pursue a career in the field. Currently, I’m putting together my entries for this year’s Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year.

To connect with Joshua visit:


Twitter: @josh_shilvock

Facebook: Joshua Joseph Photography

Instagram: @joshuajosephphotography


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