Category Won: Best Photography
Blog: V.K. Rees Photography, written and photographed by Vanessa Rees
Geographic Location: NYC
Running Since: August 2011
Credit: Vanessa Rees
When and how did you become interested in photography? My parents gave me a DSLR camera when I was 14 years old. I've been shooting since then and went to college for photography. About 3 years ago I began pursuing photography as a career. I was working full time at a job I hated. I was miserable. In a way I was lucky to have such an awful job because it motivated me to get my act together and start taking my photography career seriously. I spent every free moment working on building my portfolio. A little over a year ago I decided I was getting enough consistent work to quit my day job and do photography full time. I love this quote by M. Scott Peck: "The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers." I was deeply unhappy and unfulfilled and in that time I found myself in photography.
What are a few of your favorite posts (and photos) on your site? I absolutely loved shooting for Mah Ze Dahr bakery. The bakery's aesthetic is so much fun to work with and it was cool meeting Tom Colicchio. Also, the post about yogurt and granola is an important one to me. I recreated my dad's office for it (because he loves yogurt and cereal) and, well, only my brother and sister can know how much it truly looks like our dad's desk. Anyway, it's a sentimental one for me. Plus I think the lighting is nice. My all time favorite post is probably one I did recently about the creative process behind my photo shoots. It took me a long time to learn my process and it was rewarding to write it down and share it with others.
Where do you draw inspiration for your posts? Food is about so much more than the food itself. It's about where you're eating, who you're eating with, who taught you the recipe, etc. Lately I've been trying to tell a story with food photography. My goal is not to only to showcase the food, but the story behind it. So I suppose my inspiration comes from the stories behind the food. Like my dad and the granola post, or my mom and this Cranberry Cream French Toast post. Although sometimes it's just about seeing something when I'm prop shopping and just knowing I have to incorporate it into a shoot. That prop becomes the inspiration for the whole post. The chair from the Chocolate Rosemary Crackers post is a good example of that.
Credit: Vanessa Rees
** What blogs do you personally read, food or otherwise?** Oh man, there are too many to name. My favorite blog is Oh Ladycakes! I think Ashlae's photographs and recipes are wonderful. Also, I know this doesn't really answer the question but Anna Williams has had such a big influence on me that I feel like I have to share; she is my idol and all time favorite photographer. She is also a wonderful story teller. Anna doesn't have a blog but I visit her website so often for inspiration and motivation that you'd think it is a blog that gets updated daily.
Are you excited to go to Las Vegas for the BFBA Awards? Absolutely! I'm really looking forward to meeting the folks behind these incredible blogs. Thanks so much for inviting me!