Sunday, January 17, 2010

Behind the scenes, Food and Wine Feb cover

Often I will get asked to do a cover try, sometimes it is a series of cover tries that can be done throughout the duration of a day, This can mean creating different approaches to the same subject matter and sometimes totally different options all together. It is an interesting process and one that only really became familiar to me when I moved to the U.S.

In Australia we often shot something on a shoot if we thought it would look good as a cover but more often than not, a suitable image is chosen from the array of images available from that particular issue being shot that sings as a cover from rest. In the U.S, that chance is not really taken that often, some magazines do work like this and but most will devote a day or two even to get the image they feel is right, This can be based on a whole lot of things, Market research, focus groups or simply what the Editor or higher management like the best. Some argue that it means the image is more labored, not as fresh and spontaneous, but I feel, whatever works for the magazine, The sales on a cover in the U.S magazines cover can make or break it, so there is more riding on getting the perfect formula working for that product than elsewhere, the culture is also different.

For this Food and Wine cover, we actually tacked it onto the end of another shoot, I knew well in advance though so I was able to collect many options for propping and I treated it like a totally separate shoot. I knew we had to shoot chili in a bowl, For non American readers, Chili is a bowl of Chili Con Carne, which literally means "chili with meat" It is a spicy stew that has a long history in the States, Chili Con Carne is the official dish of the U.S state, Texas. It was first introduced in the 1600's and it's exact origins are a bit of a mystery, but seems to be a variation of a Spanish or Mexican dish.

I set up various options that you can see from the behind the scenes shots, My main brief was to use unexpected combinations of color, so I mixed various clashes of color on purpose, treating the palette in almost a painterly way. It is a February issue so in the U.S, It is still Winter, so it had to be evocative of the season as Chili is the perfect dish for this time of the year.

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