What comes to mind when someone says "food stylist"? Tweezers, tools, and kits. What they represent is precision control. While tweezers are extremely handy, sometimes I feel like my fingers work just as well as any utensil. Yes, you get sticky, gooey, and sometimes even smelly when you use your fingers rather than utensils but there is something hypnotic about actually feeling the food that you're working with. So often as a stylist I get disconnected with what I am preparing and get completely consumed by the exact placement of every tiny element. That leads to overworking the shot. Lately, I have been trying to relax my styling. I have found that starting the process with a loose gestural approach and ending with just a few decisive strokes leads to a more honest looking outcome. It is very reminiscent of drawing class. "Start loose and then tighten up" my teacher would always say. The only difference is that now my hands are left with a coating of olive oil and parsley rather than graphite and eraser dust. Thanks for the advice Professor Nemcosky, I am trying to loosen up!
photography by Nathan B. Harrmann © 2009