Local Food, Local Photography
- August 30, 2013 -
Kathleen happens to be one of my food and prop stylists, and her personal sense of style is apparent throughout her restaurant. One of the reasons her customers visit her restaurant is as much for its quirky character as for the unique food, both of which are all about twists on tradition...little surprises here and there.
One of my good friends, Kathleen Day, owns a restaurant in our hometown of Columbus, Ohio. She named her restaurant “Katalina’s” because when she first started cooking in the tiny space (an old gas station), the Mexican cooks she hired called her “Katalina.” She likes to call our hometown “ColYUMbus” (she’s actually in the process of having it trademarked!) because she’s intent on putting us on the map as a food destination, despite a misconception that we’re all about fast food (we used to be, but times have really changed in recent years). Katalina’s serves healthy, homemade food with a bit of an attitude but none of the pretense, which is kind of how I’d describe Kathleen herself!
Kathleen happens to be one of my food and prop stylists, and her personal sense of style is apparent throughout her restaurant. One of the reasons her customers visit her restaurant is as much for its quirky character as for the unique food, both of which are all about twists on tradition…little surprises here and there.
One of her most famous dishes are her pancake balls, which come in flavors from Nutella to dulce de leche, reflecting the restaurant’s Latin touch, just like the Katalina name. They’re pictured below, and I can tell you from experience that they’re as tasty as they look. As with all the food here, Kathleen added no artificial styling elements, and my retouching was minimal, so the food really is as good as it looks!
To capture the Katalina’s spirit, I approached the shoot with simplicity, using only a Westcott silver reflector arm and Manfrotto stand. I didn’t use strobes or any manufactured light, which obviously would have been too much for the authentic feel and flavor of the food and setting. I shot with my Canon 5DIII camera and used my 24-70mm lens for most of the shoot. Typical of shots that Kathleen styles for me, each item is purposefully placed within each frame.
Kathleen plans on using the shots on her restaurant website, in advertising, as well as on her online styling portfolio. There’s also wind that they may appear on Country Living’s site, one of Kathleen’s favorite national decor magazines (she also finds time to decorate homes and businesses!) She assures me that the title is a misnomer and that there’s little “country” about it (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I guess!).
I call on Kathleen’s styling skills when I need to add an authentic edge or a witty wink to photos to push my own style in a particular way. In turn, Kathleen says she likes my personal photographic style as representative of the Midwest—clean and streamlined with a bit of vintage grit added when called upon. Sure, I love to shoot technically advanced shots or pictures that are more polished and perfected or that pull you in because they’ve been manipulated in some way that tricks the eye. But in the end, I lean toward pictures that are as straightforward and wholesome as the food from Katalina’s and what she calls our hometown of ColYUMbus.