If you're a fan of Food52, like I am, then I'm pretty sure you're also a fan of James Ransom's photography. He is one of the few main photographers working along side with founders, Amander Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, to shoot amazingly beautiful food photos. What really caught my eye was his use of shadows and dark backgrounds. It's quite rare to see that and it just shows you that food photography doesn't have to be "clean" or well lit or "must not have shadows."
Q. Can you tell me what you’re trying to capture when you take your food photos? A. When I'm photographing anything, edible or not, I'm trying to make the viewer feel something. I'm looking for an emotional response. Usually the viewer I'm most concerned about is myself. I can tell when an image is good because it just feels right.
Q. Just looking through the food photos on your site, there tends to be lots of dark colors and shadows. I think it's great that you're doing that because to many photographers, shadows in a photo are bad. Like good lighting, good shadows can add so much to a photo. Why did you decide to do that? A. Maybe it's a reaction to having spent so many years shooting objects on a white background ;) Actually, I really like how subtle colors pop on a dark background. Some colors tend to disappear in lighter environments and lose their richness. I love color and so I try to bring it out in my work.
Q. What makes a good photo? A. I think a good composition goes a long way. If an image feels off-balance it can make the viewer uncomfortable. With still life and food photography, especially, I find myself spending most of my time on the composition. Once that is figured out everything else seems to fall into place.
Q. What inspires you? A. Traveling and experiencing new cultures. Working with creative people. Sitting in a subway car with people from all over the world. Looking at great photography.
Q. Any food photography heroes? If not any photography heroes? A. I love the food photography of Con Poulos.
Q. Best meal so far in 2011? A. I had the most amazing ham and cheese croissant in the Lima, Peru airport this summer. I know that sounds lame, but it's been on my mind ever since.
All photos courtesy of James Ransom