I've been admiring Pigamitha Dimar's photos on Tumblr for a while now. It's too bad that I don't spend enough time on Tumblr because there are so many great photographers on there. For Pigamitha's photos, I really love the dark shadows and especially the step by step photos for her recipes. And then when I found out that she takes most of her photos in a small area of her room, I was completely intrigued. This is still something I'm learning. Go where the good natural light is instead of trying to recreate it with lamps and stuff, even if it's just a small corner in your room.
Q. Can you tell me what you’re trying to capture when you take your food photos? A. I’m trying to demystify food. Some people get so intimidated by the idea of cooking that they don’t even bother to try. I take photographic breakdowns of each dish by ingredients and method, and then photograph the finished product in its simplest state with minimal props. I’m trying to show that plain white plates and pieces of parchment paper can look just as good as fancy Chinas, providing that you’ve prepared the food with effort and give it dignity. And I’m not going to apologize for burnt edges, uneven frosting or cracked surfaces. What you see is what you get. It’s all part of the learning process.
Q. What is photography to you and has that idea changed ever since you started your Tumblr? A. When I first got into food photography I was an impressionable 15 year-old, so it was all about going mainstream. I remember that studio-lit, shadowless, clean-styled photos were all the rage at one point and I wanted to jump on the bandwagon. There was just one little problem – I didn’t have any of the tools or equipments required. You wouldn’t believe the lengths I went through in attempt to achieve the same look. It was all very exhausting that at one point I decided to call it quits.
That was then. Photography to me now means coming to terms and accepting the circumstances that are presented. After that’s done, then it’s just a matter of understanding your work area and learning to work with limitations and achieving the best possible results.
Q. Have you always been interested in cooking? A. Always. I was about 7 when I saw this movie that got me into the world of gastronomy. It was a scene where a guy came inside a diner looking for a job. The owner then asked him, “Do you know how to cook an omelette?”. He then started to chop up green peppers and onion, and then beat an egg with a fork inside a metal cup. He proceeded to make a fluffly omelette in a whirl of movements, which the owner took a bite of. Of course, as it would in all movies, he got the job. I never did find out the title of that movie.
I couldn’t sleep after watching it. The next morning while my mom was out, I turned on the gas stove (after much restless thought, I was scared I might burn the house down). I wanted to imitate his swift movements so I took two eggs and slapped them on the side of the pan, watching the shells break and the eggs sliding into the hot oil. Some of the shells fell in too, of course. It wasn’t much. It wasn’t even an omelette; more like a cross between scrambled eggs and messed up sunny side-ups, but I ate the finished product happily with my then 5 year old sister, occasionally picking away the shells. From then on I’ve continually raised the bar for myself in terms of techniques and the varieties of ingredients used.
Q. Any food photography heroes? If not any photography heroes? A. Some of them you have right here, so this is a very humbling experience for me. I remember being mesmerized by the works of Aran Goyoaga and being over the moon when Melina Hammer commented on one of my works. But the photographer that I look up to the most is Katie Quinn Davies; her entire body work is simply magnificent.
Here's a list of other outstanding photographers that she thinks you should check out! - Jeanine Donofrio of Love & Lemons - Linda of Call Me Cupcake - Caitlin Van Horn of Roost Blog - Kelsey Brown of Happyolks - Kwestia Smaku with her namesake blog - Phi of Princess Tofu and fellow Tumblogger William Valle of French Cuisse
Q. Best meal in 2012? A. I don’t eat out often so I’m tempted to name something that I’ve cooked. But my parents were here recently and we went out to eat at a nearby seafood restaurant and had all the fixings. We ended the evening with cold durian pancakes and the combination of the atmosphere, the company and the relatively good food overall made it one of the best meals I’ve had this year.
All photos courtesy of Pigamitha Dimar of Notions & Notations of Novice Cook