It has been awhile since I posted the brownies food photo/kitchen stories shoot with dear friend Leah, but I have been slowly plugging away at my friends and food photography project (or I was, until Covid made it ill-advised to be inside with people outside my household), and I’m thrilled to share these pre-pandemic photos from gnocchi-making with Estlin McPhee.
Estlin is poet and a veritable legend in East Van queer circles for their cooking, preserving and general magic-making. I could hardly contain myself when they brought out this beautiful gnocchi board to make their Nona’s favourite meal.
Food is so central to my idea of home that it anchors not only my memories of growing up but also my visits and conversations with family to this day. My dad will send me a picture of whatever he’s got on the smoker for dinner and ask how I’m doing, and my sister recently texted for the Flegg family mustard recipe (it’s so good I can’t even tell you. Sweet and hot and thick.) along with updates from her garden. My aunts and I compare bread recipes and my great-grandmother made the best varenky (Mennonite perogies) anyone ever ate, I’m sure of it. Food traditions in Canada come from so many places, and I’m always so curious about everybody else’s food stories and food traditions.
Meant for Sharing
In case you can’t tell over the internet, I’m a pretty introverted person. I’m not a big talker, and I tend to be drawn to people who aren’t either, so I look for different of ways for us to connect. In my experience, food is almost foolproof. It gives us a place to start and a story to work with and share. Food creates space for us to talk if we want to or sit quietly as ingredients come together and things take shape.
It also answers the age-old question “what do I do with my hands?” I have my camera with all its manual knobs and dials and things to wind and adjust. It’s only fair that you also have something to fidget with.
These shoots serve my dual loves of food photography and family photography, and it’s one of the reasons I encourage a cooking or baking activity during family sessions. It’s a great way for us to connect and to let your family’s personality shine. Also no one ever complained about having things to snack on throughout a shoot.
Get in touch if you got your own food stories to tell! (I bet you do)