food photography

Journey to Ancient Cyprus

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at the 3rd International Conference of Photography and Theory, which was held in the ancient city of Nicosia (Lefkosia according to the Greeks), Cyprus. Here’s a gallery of some of my favorite shots from the trip, including a very post-modern Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Enjoy!

© 2014 Terry Ownby, All Rights Reserved.

Istanbul, Turkey

Recently I had the opportunity to present a paper on my photographic research at an international academic conference in Istanbul, Turkey. With limited amounts of free time during my short stay in this exotic and historic city, I made sure to avail myself of photographic opportunities at this ancient seaport. Formerly known as Constantinople, modern Istanbul still remains a mix of contemporary and ancient cultures. Once a major intersection of the world’s three major religious faiths (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), Istanbul today is home to about 14 million inhabitants that mostly practice Islam. Istanbul is a cacophony of honking car horns, strange tongues, and roasting chestnuts at every street corner.

Frontal view of the Blue Mosque (also known as the Sultan Ahmet Camii), located in the Sultanahmet Square, opposite from the Haghia Sophia. This mosque was built between 1609 to 1616 CE. © 2012 Terry Ownby

Frontal view of the Haghia Sophia, also known as the Church of St. Sophia. Presently called the Kariye Museum (Kariye is the Turkish version of the Greek word “khora”, which meant “rural area” or “country”. Located in the Sultanahmet Square, adjacent to the old city market area of istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Olives, cheese, and sausage being sold at a small shop in the famous Spice Bazaar near the sea port of Eminonu, Istanbul, Turkey. This is located next to the New Mosque. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Dried fruit and nuts being sold at a small shop in one of the back alley’s of the Spice Bazaar. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Typical street vendor in Istanbul selling roasted chestnuts (kestane). At other times, his cart is used to sell the popular snack of steamed or roasted corn-on-the-cob (misir). In background is another vendor selling the ubiqutous simit (bagel) coated in roasted sesame seeds. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

At the crowed seaport of Eminonu, passenger ferry boats arrive to disembark their human cargo, only to repeat the process across the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Straights. On the distant hillside are the rooftops of the Topkapi Palace. Light rail trains can be seen in the background. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Panoramic view of the lower half of the famous Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) in the Old City section of Istanbul, Turkey. The reference to “blue” comes from the use of the blue Iznik tilework throughout the mosque’s interior. This mosque, or camii, was built between 1609 and 1616 by Sultan Ahmet I. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Bringing autumn into the studio

As the wheel of the year slowly turns, autumn is my favorite season during that cyclical journey. The drop in temperatures, the clearness of deep blue skies, the changing leaf colors, the rustle of falling leaves and their musty smell when kicked under foot; all these descriptors fascinate me and some times I attempt to bring these sensations into the studio.

Fortunately for me, I have a project in my advanced studio photography that challenges my students to create scenes in the studio that could be perceived as having been photographed outdoors on location. Not only do we need to consider appropriate subject matter, but also we need to give attention to the details of props, backgrounds, and most importantly, the lighting. All these elements should work in concert to recreate a believable fluid outdoor environment inside the controlled parameters of the studio.

This past week I demonstrated to my advanced studio class techniques to control the mixing of various Kelvin temperatures of light sources to help achieve the believability of an outside/inside shot. I included natural elements as part of my supporting props to help create the sense of being outside. After the class demo was completed, I remained in the studio another hour and kept fine-tuning the shot. It was a short period of involvement that allowed me to slip into the creative right-brain mode of working and to forget about daily problems, schedules, dinner, and all the mundane minutiae of life. Photography therefore, can function as a catalyst for not only our visual pleasure, but in some instances, for all our sensual encounters, whether in the studio or out in the environment.

Below is a simple still-life shot from my class demo, followed by a similar shot produced the prior year for the same assignment.

"Harvest table, Autumn 2011" © Terry Ownby. Lighting demo for my advanced studio class using mixed Kelvin temperatures.

Behind the scenes of "Harvest table, 2011." © Terry Ownby.

"Harvest table, Autumn 2010" © Terry Ownby.

Vineyard Project Update

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since I started my vineyard book project! For all practical purposes, the photographing is finished and now I’m focusing on writing the text. My goal for completion of the book is by the end of the year. In the meantime, I’m hoping to sit in on a publication design class starting next week to help refine my Adobe In Design capabilities. This week I finalized shots inside the winery and the tasting room and here are a few samples from that session. The owners of the vineyard and winery have been a delight to work with and I’m going to miss not spending time up there! Maybe they’ll let me come up for harvest!

© 2010 Terry Ownby

© 2010 Terry Ownby

© 2010 Terry Ownby

Photographing a cookbook in Wisconsin

A family friend has been cooking up some of the most incredible dishes for quite some time. Julie O is a native Wisconsinite, living in Madison and I’ve known her for well over a decade. Her fascination with cooking goes back to her childhood when she and her siblings would sit on their little colored stools in front of their mother’s oven to watch the magic of baking popovers. Her love for cooking eventually led her to being a part-time pastry chef at Quivey’s Grove on Madison’s southwest side. Today, at her day-job at Wisconsin Education Association Council, she has endeared herself to countless fellow employees with culinary treats. Often times she spends hours baking and cooking tasty morsels for fund-raisers and charities.

Not surprisingly, her friends and co-workers have pestered her for years to share her kitchen secrets. This past fall Julie decided to take the plunge and write a cookbook. Her co-workers and friends immediately started placing orders for a book not even written or produced! After hearing about her project, I pondered at length the idea of possibly getting involved. And so, I volunteered my photographic expertise, which happens to be food photography. Needless to say, Julie’s response to my offer was one of excitement! So, during my winter holiday break at the university, I headed up to Madison with a truckload of studio gear and transformed her dinning room into a Hollywood set! We only had a short time to stay up north (with 1.5 feet of snow and more falling), so we produced 24 food shots in three days’ time. No food stylist or photo assistants like in the old days. Just me and a driven chef! Below are some samples from our endeavor. Enjoy!

© 2009 Terry Ownby

© 2009 Terry Ownby

© 2009 Terry Ownby