What a difference a day, or should I say a geographical life change, makes. I made a bold move recently from New York City to Maine, spending the winter in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in the interim. It’s been several months since I’ve settled into a lovely mill town between Portland and Kennebunk, Maine. I have found the food and product scene here to be very creative, diverse and incredibly healthy given the abundance of organic farms, fresh seafood and the passion behind the creations of beautiful and delicious food products and packaging. As a food photographer, I see Maine in the same way as having a big chocolate cake in front of me, highly irresistible to say the least. Lobster and seafood, blueberries, maple syrup…the list goes on. Most of the restaurants here serve wild harvested and organically grown foods from farmers, fishermen and foragers from all over Maine and other parts of New England. You haven’t eaten lobster until you’ve eaten Maine lobster, no doubt about it! As a product photographer, the majority being food products, I have seen so many creative, organic and rustic packaging that is in alignment with the deliciousness of the food inside. This has a been a busy week as I have several food and product photography shoots confirming through the summer months. Product photography is one of my niches and given I have a passion for lighting in my studio I lose myself in the process. I tend to get a little obsessed with getting rid of reflections on bottles and other highly reflective materials, which so many food products utilize. Let’s face it, it’s easier to get it right in the camera than have to manage it after during the post production phase. I’d rather be eating a delicious meal at a local restaurant than working in Photoshop at my desk. Although I do love Photoshop. :). My website has a lot of examples of the types of food and product packaging I photograph. So happy to be a part of New England and all it has to offer. There is a reason the official slogan for Maine is Vacationland.
I was recently interviewed on White Mountains TV in New Hampshire and here is the video of it. They haven’t had a food photographer on the show before so they thought it would be a fun and different perspective. Hey, who doesn’t like to talk about food, right?! This area in the White Mountains is huge for weddings so there are a lot of wedding and portrait photographers here but not many that are professional food photographers. The host Rob Clark was very animated and asked some great questions about the product photography and restaurant photography that I’ve been working on. We started off talking about my shoot in Sicily for a luxury olive oil company and estate called Mandranova and showed some images of the villa, the olive harvest and the food that will be in the book they are publishing this year. Since I do a lot of bottle photography in my studio we touched on that as well and I was able to show some samples of my work and explain the importance of lighting and how it can make a dish look appetizing or not so appetizing. It was broadcast in standard definition so the images were not crystal clear but hope anyone interested would check out my website. I now work out of New York and New Hampshire and am working on capturing some business from Maine. There are so many restaurants and foodies in Portland, Maine so I spend quite a bit of time there as of late. Thanks for watching and check out more of my work and passions on my website at www.lesliebrienzaphotography.com.
Last month, I was commissioned by Mandranova, a luxury villa and olive oil company in Sicily, to photograph the olive harvest, the estate and the recipes for their forthcoming book. This book will celebrate and coincide with their tenth anniversary and will include many of the authentic Sicilian recipes they prepare for the guests like Cannoli, Timballo di anelletti, and Pasta con le sarde a mare. These are some of the images from the harvest to the finished product. More of my work, including food and wine images, can be seen on my website. Thank you for letting me share this short photo essay with you. If you have any food, product or lifestyle projects please contact me below or visit my website at www.lesliebrienzaphotography.com
The method of collecting and gathering the olives on nets in Sicily
A worker gathering a handful of Nocellara olives during the harvest
From tree to mill as quickly as the baskets can be filled. Always a tractor standing by to guarantee the freshest oil possible
A peaceful and contemplative scene in the mill. My job was to capture moments like this and the way of life in Sicily
Always enjoyed photographing in the production facility especially when I could hold a small cup under this fresh and warm stream of olive oil
They also produce a blend. This is the new bottle from the 2015 harvest. Bottle photography is one of my specialties and all the magic happens in my studio
Four olive varieties are grown on the property, Nocellara, Giarraffa, Biancolilla and Cerasuola. All native to Sicily. This is one of the styled bottle shots of the Giarraffa I shot in my studio