February 13, 2018

Love, Donuts and Butterflies- oh and whippings- Just in Time for Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day. Being a person who is fixated on truth and originality, I always find myself wanting to reveal the origins of everything. Peek beneath the surface. Wanting to know why are things this way. I wanted to know the origins of Valentine's Day. Not just the Hallmark Card version of the holiday.  I discovered that between Feb 13-15 the Ancient Romans used to celebrate a feast of Lupercalia.  The men would whip women with slain animal hides (lovely!). The women considered the whipping to make them fertile.  The celebration included matchmaking by drawing names from a jar which led to "coupling" for the duration of the festival.

The name Valentine is thought to have come from the Roman executions of two men named Valentine on Feb. 14 of different years. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the Celebration of St Valentine's day.

I chose to honor the day slightly differently- with color. Love of color and whimsy. Here goes- Donuts done differently. Drenched in color. Happy Valentine's Day- no whipping or execution. Just color!

All images are ©2018 Leigh Beisch.  Permission is required to copy or use any of these images.

February 12, 2018

Artist Inspirations- Chantal Joffe at Victoria Miro Gallery in London

I find it important to continuously expose myself to ideas, whether it be about business, marketing, parenting or politics. Of course I find ideas about art the most interesting because they take all these things and make it visual, relatable. I was recently reading about the artist Peter Doig, whose work I have come to really admire for it's sense of allegory and courting risk, how it walks the line between repulsion and attraction. Reading about his work, led me to look up the London gallery Victoria Miro.  This galleries seems to show a good example of really good contemporary art. I fell in love with the work of painter- Chantal Joffee. Please check out the links and view her outstanding portraits.  I also loved watching the video of her talking about her recent project for the London Tube station Whitecastle.

"Chantal Joffe brings a combination of insight and integrity, as well as psychological and emotional force, to the genre of figurative art.  Her paintings alert us to how appearances are carefully constructed and codified, whether in a fashion magazine or the family album, and to the choreography of display. "

July 26, 2017

An Assignment that Hits Close to Home

Many people know me as a photographer specializing in food, but I also have a series of fine art landscape photography that I have been shooting over the years. I  have gotten a lot of satisfaction shooting this work as it allows me to get outside and really work with light, color and form in the context of a landscape. It was a wonderful surprise when a valued client who normally hires me for my food work, asked me to shoot some of my landscape work for an interior design project. It wasn't just any project, ironically enough the redesign was for the radiology department of Mass General Hospital in Boston. This is the hospital that my mother, who passed away from Breast Cancer, spent a good 20 or so years of her life on and off, getting screened, diagnosed etc. I was very excited to think that my images could be used to help create a space in which would help soothe a patient, like my mother, who might be feeling stressed by being in a hospital setting and the thoughts of being ill. I applauded the center for wanting to create this spa like setting for their patients and to understand the power of artwork, and landscapes to inspire and hopefully heal.

Two weeks ago, I travelled back to Boston and spent a number of days shooting around the area. I was up and out shooting the Charles River at 7am, ferrying out to some of the many islands in the Boston Harbor, driving out to historical Concord to shoot Walden Pond and Great Meadows. I was hired to come and shoot Boston, but in a way as not to be too specific with the imagery. It has been a very interesting assignment to say the least. Very emotional, very challenging and completely inspiring! I have seen some of the schematics on how the imagery  will be used. Some will be large murals behind reception desks, some will be framed pieces near patient areas or even nurses stations. I can't wait to share when it is all complete.

I am so grateful to my client for recognizing my personal work and involving it in such an important project.

June 26, 2017

Celebrating with a Client

Last week one of my longtime clients, Chronicle Books, celebrated their 50th anniversary. They held a colorful gathering in their offices in downtown San Francisco. I enjoyed attending the celebration and hearing the insightful speeches that were given. Since I have been shooting cookbooks for Chronicle, I have seen them evolve and grow, so it was interesting to hear them recap their history and reasons for their success. They discussed the hardships that publishing has gone through and attributed their success to the ability to be flexible and change with the times. They also gave credit to the collaboration with good teams of people from distributors, to writers, photographers, designers and many more. I know I talk a lot about this, but I find that creating great teams is one of the more important pieces to my business.  Not only finding great talent to work with, but also surround yourself with. Being inspired by the talent around you is almost just as important. That is why I find myself working on various projects with people whose creativity I admire.

April 19, 2017

March 15, 2017

Collaborating with Fellow Photographer David Martinez to Create Stills and Video for Beer Campaign

A recent project came my way that required stills and video. The project was with an Art Director who I had worked with in the past, who knew my style and thought that I would be a good fit for the project. When a client shows me that kind of support for my work, I will pretty much give up my first born for them. The project grew to require video as well as still work done. While I have shot video before, I felt that I wanted my main focus to be on shooting the stills for the campaign, so I looked for a videographer to partner with. My rep, Heather Elder suggested another one of her photographers as someone to collaborate with on the video portion. I have known David since we both shot for Health Magazine (he shot the yoga shots, I shot the food,) so felt that we would work well together. I like the idea of photographers working together. Here is a few snapshots of the shoot (which was so much fun! Hard work, but so much fun!) I can't share the photo we took just yet!

February 13, 2017

Creating Work for Valentine's Day

As a photographer, you have to be a visual problem solver, but also a creative one too.  Whenever Valentine's day rolls around, as a food photographer I try to resist the typical Valentine's day subject matter. I try to think about what a day like this means, both visually and conceptually, and how that would take form in a still life image.

Valentine's day is a day to celebrate love.  It has a curious history that started with Christian Martyrdom and then evolved into a day that celebrated romantic love during 18th century England when courtly love flourished and it was common to lavish affection with gifts of flowers, sweets and greeting cards.

I was struck recently by a speech during Harvard Graduation in which a poem by Raymond Carver was read.  It is a poem that asks what is the most important thing in life- and answers- to feel BELOVED. I think we all recognize how important it is for humans and animals to feel that they are loved. Sometimes we harden ourselves to this need and say it isn't that important, or we forget how much we need it. Valentine's day is a day to remember that need. To appreciate the love that you both give and receive. And I'm not talking just about the love you are feeling for the decadent chocolatey goodness in this photo!