Photographing Pie

Where’s the best light in the house? We need an interesting background, maybe this wooden floor? What about a dishtowel around the pie to make it appear that it’s just out of the oven and has been left on the floor for some reason? These are the things you’ll wonder while taking over a hundred photographs of a single pie.

We did this on Monday, took a ton of pie photos. Ariana Lindquist, a wonderful photographer and a fantastic teacher, was on hand to offer guidance and advice while we wandered Molly’s house, pies in tow. I like food porn as much as the next Instagram user, but my previous experiences as a food photographer were limited to quick snaps on my iPhone 4 before digging in.

With a serious camera in my hands, I took more time. I don’t have a DSLR, so the borrowed camera weighed heavy around my neck and upper back, reminding me to compose my shots and work carefully. Spending this much time with one pie felt weird and fun and a little silly. Claire got really into it, and we could hear other pairs throughout the house discussing how best to showcase their pies.

What are we really trying to do when we share photos of food? Make others jealous, show off, provide instructions, document an occasion or practice, trigger memories, make people feel something. A great photograph can do that, make you feel something. Ariana’s anthropological approach to her photography, food-focused or otherwise, endowed her work with humanity and a level of intimacy.

Now I have a ton of pie photos on my computer. I don’t know what I’ll do with them. I don’t know if they inspire any feelings. I suppose I’ll keep placing pies on floors until they do.

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