Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University. This Friday’s #ArtCrush is Natalie Wainewright, a fourth year student majoring in Photography.
In this issue, Morgan and Natalie talk about lighting in food photography, collaborating with other artists and the influence of instagram within the realm of photography.
Who or what are your main photographic inspirations?
This year I’ve been looking at a lot of commercial food photographers such as Maya Visnyei, Ditte Isager, and Eric Wolfinger. However, I’m also very influenced by artists such as Laura Letinsky and especially by being surrounded by the work of other students.
What is your favourite lighting set up and camera/lens combination?
I tend to shoot with one light with a medium softbox and reflectors as needed. I use a Nikon D750 and a 28-300 lens but usually shoot at 70.
How does your shooting style change on location vs. in studio? How do you see these two options as changing the mood or lighting of your shoots?
For me, shooting in studio provides a lot of flexibility as you can experiment with the light and change the set up around the fixed light, but shooting on location requires good timing and waiting for the light. I like to plan shoots and lighting in advance, so it is helpful knowing that the shoot can go on in bad weather. However, approaching summer means that there is more opportunity to experiment with natural lighting.
What subject matter do you tend to spend the most time working on?
Although all of my shoots involve food, I like to incorporate some human aspects and more of the food-making process as well as some general still life for some variety.
Do you collaborate with any other artists or food stylists? How does collaborating change the way in which you approach your subject?
Collaborating with other artists and people in general is one of the best parts of being involved in photography because it always gives you multiple perspectives and pushes the work further. It is also nice being able to work through ideas with other people who have a different styles and experience.
With the rise of instagram and with so many people taking iPhone photos of their food before they consume it, what do you think is the value of professional food photography? How does this change your creative insight into photographing food, as we are already inundated with images of?
I think Instagram is a powerful tool for photographers and being able to see so many food photographs can provide inspiration. Professional food photography has the potential to say more about food and the issues surrounding it than the average food photograph you run into online because of the time spent with the subject. I hope to be able to bring this into my work and find it an important part of considering the impact of commercial food photographs.
What do you think is essential to know or show in food photography?
I think the process of preparing food and the social aspect of it is important to bring into photographs and something I am working towards. It’s interesting when food photographs offer a different perspective to the everyday.
People often talk about the tricks of shooting food, how to use different materials or other options than food itself. What are your tricks for photographing food that look fresh and new?
Personally, I just work with fresh food and use edible materials to add to the food to keep waste to a minimum.
What are other subjects or places that you like to shoot and how does this tie into your general artistic vision?
I love to work with people and shoot the landscape with film. Shooting portraits definitely influences how I work with people in food photography and hopefully I can tie in shooting with film and some on location shoots in the future.
Where do you see your career path going and who would you most like to work with/for?
I’m hoping to work as an assistant for a commercial food photographer after school and eventually start my own business to work with publications.
Sweet Potato, 2017
What is your advice for artists who are looking to make their art practice into a business?
My advice would be to be open to collaborations and change in work and to always be looking for people to look up to.
Are there any specific OCAD U Faculty who have influenced your work? A specific discipline or course?
Every course I’ve taken and prof I’ve had has influenced my work, but I’ve become especially interested in working in book format over the past couple years.
See Natalie’s work at the
102nd Graduate Exhibition at OCAD University, May 3rd-7th.
Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University.
Interview by Morgan Sears-Williams
About the writer: Morgan is a fourth year photography student and runs the Friday #ArtCrush series on the OCAD U Photography Blog. She loves speaking to other artists about social justice, how to break barriers within artist communities and nurturing the arts in alternative spaces. She is the Art Director for The RUDE Collective, a student representative on the Photography Curriculum Committee and has done workshops on intersectionality and allyship relating to LGBTQ folks. To see more, you can visit her website or her instagram.