Last night was very surreal, and a huge honour, which still hasn’t quite sunk in! With award ceremonies, there is often the anticipation that you might win, tempered with the feeling you probably won’t. Either way it is an incredible buzz in the run up to the event. As creatives, recognition for our work is important, both for our own confidence, and also for confirmation of the intended message in the image. More often than not there is disappointment, but occasionally the judges see the same thing you did when you entered that particular image.
But hearing your name being called out takes it to the next level. Surprise, elation, disbelief, followed by immense pride. I won the ‘Food in the Field’ category at the 2016 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year awards. I have to keep reminding myself. To receive the award from Jay Rayner, and one of my all-time food heroes Pierre Koffmann was simply perfect. Knowing that there were 7,00 entries from all around the world from the best photographers in the world, and I was considered one of the best, was a huge honour. An evening I will never forget.This incredible wood is located near Dorchester, in Dorset. Having seen so many bluebell pictures which whilst beautiful, can seem monotonous and predictable in spring, I wanted to find something different. Wild Garlic is a similar plant, but doesn’t always appear as prolifically as bluebells. I searched long and hard for the perfect patch over several weeks, and was bowled over when I found this one, it was perfect, and only a quarter of the spread can be seen in the photo. I am not going to reveal the exact location, not for the purpose of being secretive and keeping it to myself, but for two reasons. Firstly, being such a delicate plant, it is difficult to tread lightly, and one persons positioning for a photograph might destroy the composition for others. I do not wish to encourage the trampling of such a beautiful scene. Secondly, a large part of the satisfaction came in the search, the hunt for the perfect spread. A north facing woodland with the right conditions of shade and moisture, it was all about working out where the perfect habitat was. I am sure that if anyone is looking for this wood along these lines they they will find it, but by searching they will hopefully have the forethought to exercise care and protect the landscape, even though it’s appearance is fleeting for a few weeks.
For me also, it is a synergy between the styles of photography which I know and love, which always seem to have fought against each other, and thus my identity as a photographer in the past. Sometime people say you are a wedding photographer, or a landscape photographer, or a sports photographer, or perhaps a food photographer, as if you can’t possibly be both. It is not often that people consider mixing these genres. Yet to me, my winning photograph is a landscape, yet it is also food, it is a joining of the two. And when I shoot a wedding, I include the landscape, and also the food. My weddings are also documentary, yet with a classical element included to give my clients the best possible results. To me a photographer is a photographer, and each will use their eye and creative vision to bring the best out of whatever they see in front of them.
My advice to photographers therefore is try something different with your photography, keep an open mind, and switch between genres as the mood and inspiration takes you. Go with your eye and your heart, and the creative rewards will follow!
Wild garlic pesto by Robin Goodlad, Dorset based food photographer and writer – Click here for the recipe