The dark and moody photography style or chiaroscuro is a play with light and darkness. It creates a stunning a strong visual impact. The result many be a little melancholy but in a good way, something that translates into a longing in the viewer.
Muscat-based artist, blogger, baker Rachel Eapen loves to play with light and realised she could do much more than just photograph food.
“Food is a language of love as it brings people together... and I started using it as a creative way for storytelling. This gives me some sort of freedom to unleash my creativity and connect with my viewers. There are many dark and moody photographers who have inspired me to take up storytelling through photography.” Rachel is of the view that along with food photography, she also uses self-portraits as another medium for storytelling.
Rachel says it is all about carving the light, bringing attention on to the main subject and keeping the background muted.
Rakhee Yadav (@boxofspice) influenced her hugely in dark and moody food photography. “Her images are moody, crisp, and unique and have a great storytelling element. Each of her frames and shots spoke to me in volumes,” Rachel says.
Works of top food photographers Bea Lubas, Eva Kosmas Flores have also hugely influenced her in terms of perspective and thinking out of the box.
“There is also an element of storytelling and visual storytelling in food photography is when you create an emotional connection with the viewer and the image is captured. This is achieved by the kind of light you use, the colours in the frame and the right props. Adding human elements to your food pictures and movement like splashing or pouring a liquid creates an emotional connection between the images captured to the viewer. It’s a process where you have to be constantly creative and fun at every stage. Finally, it’s all about recreating your vision to tell a visualised story and keep the capture real and about weaving stories into the captures.”
As an example she cites photographing a slice of cake, adding a few forks around and a stack of dessert plates, maybe showing a hand in the frame trying to grab that plate with cake.
Another example is while photographing tea or coffee, in which there is an additional element of steam coming out of the cup or pouring milk into it that creates a swirl. This, she says, will give a dramatic feel to the whole frame and attract the viewers.”
Before shooting she understands the emotion and vibe she would like to convey to her viewer which then translates in her capture.
Admitting that while some shots were spontaneous, she usually gets her perfect shot in 3 or 5 takes and there are times when it takes half-a-day to get that perfect shot giving her satisfaction.
A self-taught artist who experiments with acrylics and ink art, Rachel has meticulously evolved into a professional artist during the past six years taking part in several local charity exhibitions.
She admits it was solely due to art that helped her discover styles of photography.
“Sometimes I sketch out a plan and understand what my frame should look like. There is a lot of planning involved when it comes to tiny details. From the background to the kind of crockery and linens you use. Besides the right light, composition and props, it is all about executing and creating the vision I have,” she adds.
Rachel uses a Canon EOS600D and hopes to upgrade her camera later but mentions that she did not have any gear when she started off.
She generally shoots during the day to use the natural light. “I love challenging myself every time I pick up my camera. I experiment, make a lot of mistakes and keep trying and every day I get to learn something new,” she admits.
Check out Rachel’s works in @tickled_by_inspirations.