Creative Food Photography Inspiration: Peden + Munk

NY-based photographer/director duo Taylor Peden and Jen Munkvold – otherwise known as Peden + Munk – shoots a visually appealing mix of food and lifestyle photography that sets itself apart from the monotonous mediocrity of so many creative diets. self-recognized photography.

Creative food photography by photographers Peden and Munk

Powerful composition, excellent color sense, suitable lighting and delicious and healthy food: the ingredients that make up truly creative food photography are surprisingly simple

While many mid-range photographers seek lazy saccharine pleasures and close-ups of diabetes-inducing mainstream culinary exhibitions, Peden + Munk instead concentrates on food made as nature intended: simple ingredients skillfully combined. The food is unpretentious, simple and real; and served on plates to match. This is a truly appetizing dish, without resorting to the lazy allure of cheap sugar rushes or mainstream oil injections.

The above is of course largely a question of food style, and for all we know it may be more to the caliber of commissions the duo received than testimony to their own flair for artistic direction. But there’s also a healthy simplicity to be seen on the photography side of things. Indeed, while always stylized, well-framed and exhibiting excellent color awareness, it is truly creative food photography that stems largely from its strengths in no more complicated than depicting the simpler pleasures of life.

An excellent example of creative food photography by Peden + Munk

Great food, simply prepared

In fact, if food photography could be described as flat, this would probably be it. While always stimulating to look at, the pair eschewed the kitschy romanticism and heavy retouching techniques used in so much food photography, approaching their subject in a way that could almost be described as phenomenological: the food itself.

Despite – or perhaps precisely because of – this, their photos often send flashes of taste, touch and even temperature to familiar viewers. Indeed their work clearly demonstrated that the pair had developed tactile and sensory sensitivity. This sensitivity also extends to the use of light: whether it’s intense sunlight or, more often, indirect, diffused light from a leafy shade, Peden+ Munk’s photos are always well-lit.

An example of Peden and Munk's creative food photography

Peden + Munk excels at creating compelling visual narratives

The duo also have a good eye for creating striking visual juxtapositions, combining images of food in various stages of preparation with serendipitous “chunks” and surroundings that help suggest a compelling narrative beyond the plate.

An example of creating a narrative in creative food photography

The Oaxaca series from Peden + Munk started off strong

However, while some series of photos start out clearly thought out and in varying order, some of the later edits inexplicably continue to assume groupings that appear increasingly random as they progress – as if the photographer didn’t have enough time or concentration to look. process to termination.

Occasionally, sequences will even disintegrate into sequences that seem to owe more to the chronological numbering of the file names than to narrative intent or artistic vision. An example is the case with the Oaxaca series, where some of the graphic shots of the cactus have been simply thrown out at the end – as if an afterthought of the more traditional creative food photography that came earlier.

A powerful example of creative food photography

Peden + Munk’s flair for casting and sequencing makes for an engaging visual narrative

While there is certainly always a risk that this kind of editorial lifestyle imagery will veer too close to stock photo territory to remain truly credible, which is laudable, Peden + Munk manages to avoid the worst of these pitfalls. So while there are plenty of group shots of the no-nonsensely stylized “creative types” lounging in secret outdoor idylls, we’re not given any of the flimsy clichés that so many less-talented photographers instinctively use when depicting such scenes. Indeed the beautiful people who inhabit the world of Peden + Munk are an altogether more convincing and sympathetic breed than the one-dimensional hipsters of standard “aspirational” lifestyle photography.

Some may question whether Peden + Munk can really be considered a food photographer. But it’s not easy to see how a question like that adds something of value to the conversation. They take photos; many contain food. Either you like their photos, or you don’t. And here at Best Food .Photography we definitely fall into the first of these two categories. Of course, we would sooner see some of their lively and stylish culinary-themed visual narrative than a bit of food photography by the numbers.

While many so-called creative food photography are often anything but creative, Peden + Munk can claim the title with good enough reason.

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