“Oh you’re like Peter Parker!”
More often than not, when someone is quizzing me about my work they often compare me to Spiderman’s plainclothes character of a struggling photojournalist trying to get his photos in the city newspaper. Parker’s pleas were a bit off.
It’s hard to explain my job to people who chat me up in the elevator pointing out my gear. They must think I’m on some kind of photo vacation every day. For those curious, I’ll try to explain:
I was hired by one of my repeat clients to photograph 5 restaurants for a review that one of their food critics was writing. The critic came to Sin City looking for terrific eats that could be found off-the-Strip, and he found some real slices of amazing cuisine in our little big town.
I was given a list of restaurants and a blurb on each from the critic. The rest was up to me to deliver before my deadline of a week out.
The first days I had free, I spent researching restaurants; contacting public relations firms and restaurant owners; making phone calls; writing emails and driving by a few of the properties. I had to line up each shoot before coming in during a busy dinner hour armed with cameras. I ended up visiting restaurants two or three times because it was not easy to get food shots when the restaurant was busy. Empty restaurants make for stale photos. Furthermore, people eating do not like their photograph to be taken.
Also, I was told to shoot interiors, exteriors, ambiance, specific food dishes, and the head chef for each restaurant. Some restaurants had language barriers, and one had no signage at all on the building making it difficult to find. In total, some 1,500 images were shot and edited. 69 images were toned, thoroughly captioned and filed electronically a day before my deadline.
Peter Parker would poo his pants.
The workload is a reality, and I eat it up every day. Sure, some days are more fun than others, and food really is quite fun-even if I don’t get to eat it.
In addition to the generous two-page spread that ran in the New York Times as the section cover, a few of my personal favorite images were not selected. I’d like to share these outtakes. (Please refrain from licking your computer screen.)
A superhero I definitely am not, but I treasure my job as if I were one.