Swiss Chard Forest

In 2017 Sally Ann Stone’s image ‘Swiss Chard Forest’ was the winning image of our Food in the Field category.

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Image Description: Beneath the dark green canopy, the Swiss Chard stalks reveal a spectacular display of colour

Technical: Canon 7D, 24 mm, ISO 320, 1/60 sec @ f8

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.

Swiss Chard Forest was taken in my friend's garden on a sunny day back in August.  We were picking salad vegetables for lunch when I spotted the bright colours of the swiss chard in the garden. Fortunately, I had my camera with me, so this was an opportunity I could not miss and lunch had to wait. Getting the shot was really challenging as I had to line up the camera with the base of the Swiss chard whilst being careful not to stand on the other vegetables growing alongside.  In the end, I was kneeling in the garden, leaning over the other vegetables when I managed to get the perfect shot after many attempts, the super low angle works well plus the vibrant colours of the stalks together with a hint of the blue sky are what make this image a success.

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

Food in the Field category suggests that the crop is still ‘in the field’ and in its growing state. The is still the case for the Swiss chard with its vitality of colour and visual culinary appeal.

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How did it feel to be a Category Winner for the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2017?

I was so thrilled and surprised when my name was announced at the awards evening. I was with my grown-up daughter Rebecca, who exclaimed ‘Mum, it’s you!’   Rebecca is firm supporter of my work and was especially excited to accompany me to London and admire the high standards of work this year. I never thought I would be able to proudly say that I am one of the finalists for a second time.

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

I love to photograph food whether it is something which has just been baked or just dug up as I grow my own vegetables at home. Whatever it is food-wise I will photograph it if I can, my family are very patient with me at the mealtimes.  Away from the table, and in the photographic studio food photography can also be quite complex when working with light, shadows and textures to reveal and suggest the smell and taste of what is in front of the camera. You must be a very good storyteller as well, but I enjoy a challenge.

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

I currently teach photography to 16-18 year olds at a local college, so together in the classroom, we are always looking for both historical and contemporary photographers to research and get inspiration from when working on projects. We have recently been looking at the food photography of Irving Penn which to me is a collection of timeless masterpieces in still life photography. I have plenty of keen food photographers in my classes and I am hoping they will enter the ‘Student Food Photographer of the Year’ category this year.  In terms of still life food photography, I draw inspiration from the work of  the 19th century photographer Charles Jones and his subtle use of ambient light to reveal remarkable form and texture within his fruit and vegetable photography, surely this is what food photography is all about in the twenty-first century.

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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 a rural part of Hampshire in the South of England and I am a keen walker and club runner.  I frequently photograph on my walks and runs whilst enjoying my local countryside through the changing seasons.  Recently, I have been visiting some local gardeners in-situ at their allotments throughout the year to record how they plan and grow the crops, harvest and even sell the homegrown produce on a weekly basis.  At best I enjoy photographing anything associated with nature and whether it ends up on the plate or simply to view and enjoy.

Sally, we would love to hear about any recent projects that you have undertaken?

I am hoping to develop and expand my ‘homegrown and allotment’ project as I come from a family of ‘homegrowers’ plus I still have a vegetable plot in my own garden. However, and more recently since winning the Food in the Field category, I have been developing my photography skills further both in the studio and on-location, I am currently a volunteer photographer for a local organics small-holding in my spare time.

If you would like to connect with Sally visit:

Website: www.sallystonephotography.com

Twitter: @SallyAnnStone

Instagram: @sallystonephotography

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