Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Through the Lens

One of the things I love about magazines and cookbooks are the mouth-watering photographs that accompany each recipe. In fact, I don't think I've ever tried a recipe where there wasn't a corresponding picture to inspire me. I love that a good photographer can make a hotdog look gourmet.

As it turns out one of my students, Melina Hammer, happens to have an eye for capturing life behind the lens. We've collaborated on a few projects together (most recently on the fabulous late summer harvest pasta extravaganza) and each has encouraged me to be more adventurous in how I present the food I make. We rummage through my cupboards and pull out plates and flatware I usually save for special occasions. "My life philosophy is that there are stories to be found everywhere, from the abandoned or mundane, to the epic", says Melina. I love the idea of turning precious pieces into everyday objects (and visa versa).

I asked Melina where she seeks inspiration for her work. "The lines and forms in nature are a constant inspiration. Nature's patterns–like honeycombs, for instance–embody a perfection that is complete and uplifting. In my daily routine, I'll be shopping for food at the farmers' market and come across the most gorgeous vegetables or fruits and all of a sudden I'm neglecting the shopping list, taking things home specifically because I want to photograph their special beauty. It's almost a compulsion"! (I have the same problem, except I'm eating the food instead of photographing it.)

Her list of top-five must-haves are right up my alley: chocolate (yes), avocados (the foundation of my food pyramid), organic lavender-orange skin balm (sounds lovely), her handmade metal jewelry (gorgeous...she made a fellow teacher's wedding ring and it's so beautiful) and her camera (whether it's her professional studio version or simply her iPhone).

Melina's a yogini to be reckoned with. See the photo below (taken by her hubby: another genius behind the camera)! I wanted to know what pose she was working on at the moment, to which she responded "Anjaneyasana" (crescent moon pose, or low lunge). "I focus on striking that balance between grounding down and forward towards the front leg without sinking; trying to unstick the hip point away from the front thigh (argh); and lifting up and back into the backbend without straining my neck - so hard"! I hear ya, girl.

It's so fascinating to see the world through someone else's eyes. I'm grateful to peer through Melina's and catch a glimpse of her vision. She said it herself: "Inspiration is everywhere".

1 comment:

  1. I love her work! Thanks for giving a glimpse into her inspirations as well.

    Sunshinemom of Tongue Ticklers