A few months ago I had the privilege of working as a food & prop stylist for Southern Season alongside photographer Lissa Gotwals. The shoot was for an advertorial that is featured in the December/January issue of Garden & Gun Magazine.
If you don’t know much about Southern Season, they are a gourmet food mega store that has been based in Chapel Hill since the eighties, and recently expanded to open a second store in Charleston, SC – with another shop slated for opening soon in Richmond, VA. Their massive retail space offers a huge array of cooking classes and every kitchen tool & ingredient you could imagine.
This was a fun three day shoot that involved me scouting out a lot of props and materials in their shop: think table settings, plates, vessels, flowers, the like. Typically, I am running around to a number of different shops sourcing materials in the days before the shoot, this job was great in that I could “shop” their store so to speak. Although as always I brought in my own materials, backdrops and fabrics to use as well.
Like all shoots this one involved a lot of lugging props up and down stairs, standing on furniture, collaborative working and thinking quickly to achieve the best look for what the client was going for. I absolutely love the physicality, the creativity and the demands of the job. It encapsulates my skills and passions perfectly and the work inspires me.
Styling is one of those jobs that if you are doing it really well, it looks easy, but is in fact the opposite. It’s a very intentional, designed and planned out process. One that involves thoughtful consideration for colors, textures, lighting, layouts and an ability to intuit how the final piece will look through the view of the lens. Often too, it means holding something “just so” so it looks natural to the environment but is anything but. More often than not there is a chaotic mess of props, food, lenses and so on just to the side of the frame.
I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed creating these environments. And kudos to Lissa Gotwals, I had so much fun working with her again, and she’s a great photographer, isn’t she? Thanks too to Southern Season for hiring me for this great project.