Food Photography @UberEats

**I don’t seem to post too much of my food photography - although it is quite an important part of my work at the moment. I think that is because I haven’t ever considered myself a food photographer per se - but rather becoming one while trying to adapt to the demands of the market. It has probably been one of the most uncomfortable “Yes” I said in terms of photography - just to challenge myself and to see if I am able to do it. I feel I am still learning with every new session. Every setting, every restaurant table, every plate is different - and that requires of me to think quickly, be creative and organised, adaptable, flexible and understand the work flow in a restaurant kitchen.

The best part is always meeting people as passionate about food as I am passionate about photography. Don’t get me wrong: I love food, too - but probably I love for it to look great more than anything else! I feel that food cooked with attention and love deserves respect and, thus, a great photo.

There are strict guidelines that I have to follow - so there is limited room for creativity. I try to be quick and ‘functional’ - although, when I can, I spend more time than normal with the shoot, simply because the setting or the food inspires me to do so.

I enjoy colourful food, with loads of green and red in it, on simple or textured backgrounds, with natural light, if possible. I like to keep things simple and clean, although, at times, you can see me adding napkins and cutlery, then taking them out of the frame, only to add them again at a different angle, so experimenting, too, if there is time for that. I am grateful that chefs, kitchen and restaurant staff as well as business managers are always patient and enthusiastic, and I enjoy talking to them, finding a bit about their business, their views and ethos, things that I try to reflect in the photos, as much as I can. **Food looks much better with natural, filtered light but I use artificial lighting, too, because there are dishes that really deserve to ‘shine’, and sometimes the light from a window can’t provide that.

Being hired again for freelance work for the same business, either for their website updates, social media or promotions, is always nice as it confirms the clients were happy with the results and they trust me for the visuals of their new food project or advertising.

Here are some examples of my most recent work:

Thai Cuisine Express - Liverpool

JS Restaurant, Salt Beef Burger - Manchester

JS Restaurant, Salt Beef Burger - Manchester

Porky Pig - Manchester

Porky Pig - Manchester

Jarern Street Food - Bolton

Jarern Street Food - Bolton

Cube Desserts - Bolton

Cube Desserts - Bolton

Waffle Island, Manchester

Waffle Island, Manchester

Cafe at the End of the Universe - Warrington

Cafe at the End of the Universe - Warrington

Munch Express - Manchester

Munch Express - Manchester

Brothers - St Helens

Brothers - St Helens

Lemon and Lime Cocktail, Dessert Corner - Bolton

Lemon and Lime Cocktail, Dessert Corner - Bolton

The Assembly - Manchester

The Assembly - Manchester







Yoga Flow with Emma @Alexandra Park, Manchester

It is not the first time I shoot with Emma, an incredibly positive and vibrant yoga teacher from Manchester.

First time we met we tried a mixture of indoor and outdoor shots for her website - and I was amazed how easily it was to work with her!

Her classes incorporate a focus on mind and body and she named her brand V-Flow because her favourite style of yoga class is Vinyasa Flow; she also teaches Hatha and personalised private classes, and has some brilliant retreat plans for next summer.

Alexandra Park was sunny and warm; I arrived before her, and ‘scouted’ the area for best places to shoot.

I knew Emma would want something simple but a bit ‘special’ - and I found these really dramatic-looking trees that I immediately ‘projected’ her on, at least in my mind!

Despite not always being the safest of ventures, Emma embarked on this, and embraced my ideas with her contagious enthusiasm and openness. She found ways to balance on different tree trunks, to change poses and to fight the sun when we were in the open.

During the shoot, she told me she had planned to be more in touch in nature this year - and, hopefully, these photos shows how much she actually is - and how much she enjoys it!

The Fire Within Festival @Wigan Galleries

Incredible atmosphere at the launch of The Fire Within, Wigan Borough’s new cultural manifesto, an inspirational five year plan, written by the people for the people. The Festival seeks to engage, challenge and galvanise young people to take centre stage and show us new ways of seeing the world, creating new cultural experiences. Conceived and curated by Wigan based international artists, Al and AL, the entire first floor of The Galleries has been transformed for the Festival, inviting everyone to a series of performances, dance, poetry, as well as art, music and film exhibitions. Delighted to have my photo of Mary Griffiths and her team exhibited as part of this stunning event and exhibition!

Barbara Nicholls @Turnpike

**I am very honoured for having the opportunity to talk to artist Barbara Nicholls who is artist in residence at The Turnpike Gallery, and to photograph her at work. Following a 2-year investigation into the sunken mines, incendiary geology and lost heritage of the region, Barbara Nicholls’ monumental watercolours will be on display at The Turnpike from 11th of May until the 22nd of June. Barbara explained to me how these works emerge through the manipulation of pigment in water and seeing all that happening, right before my lens, was an incredible experience. Cannot wait to see the exhibition preview on Friday, May 10th, (7-9)! If you’re around, make sure you don’t miss this!

Manchester Anime and Gaming Con, April 2019

**Incredible atmosphere and buzzing weekend at Manchester Anime and Gaming Con: it was my first time attending and taking photos, I enjoyed it and can’t wait to visit again. I particularly appreciated the freedom of expression through music, dance, cosplay, etc. - and the friendly chats with many of the people attending who were eager to have their photos taken and pose for me. Thank you! Although I enjoyed listening to the talk on ‘Mental Health in Cosplay’, a real eye-opener and catalyst for an open discussion on anxiety, depression, and other mental issues that youngsters have to deal with. This is how I found out that the participants find their strength in the characters they love - they feel inspired by them, and in emulating them through the costumes, they feel protected, they feel so much better, and closer to themselves.

The Brave Ones

It took me almost two months to find inside myself the right balance and vibe to write about my photo session with Kat. Because I did not want to write yet another blog post, to show yet just some more photos.

I wanted to write from a place within myself that has become clear, positive, balanced, true; from a place where I can speak from truly about Kat.

I have started my project about people who work out in nature, outdoors, alone or with friends, without too much planning, and I was lucky enough to meet extraordinary people. But meeting Kat was special. Because of the way in which she influenced me, not necessarily as a photographer but as a human - and I am a human with my own challenges. She inspired me in so many ways, and only today I am able to say, yes, after two months of getting MYSELF back on track with the consistent training, healthy eating and positive outlook, I can write the blogpost about our meeting.

I met Kat on August 14th at Clifton Country Park - which was a special day for me as it would have been the birthday of my grandmother, Maria, who died earlier this year; I could feel her spirit joining me in this adventure, and inspiring me with her light.

Kat was smiling a lovely smile and I knew instantly she will be a great subject for my photos. But her story became more important to me than my humble photo recordings:

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In 2016, Kat began training for what she considered to be at that time the biggest challenge of her life: climbing to the Everest Base Camp:

“This was the first time I had got back into exercise, other than the occasional jog onto a hockey pitch for a few years. Years of working shifts had always gotten in the way of training or committing to sports clubs. In January 2017, I made it to base camp with my wife and a fantastic group of people, I achieved something I had only dreamt about. On days where I found it hard going, I just focused on putting one foot in front of the next and taking things one step at a time.”

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But later that year (2017), she was unexpectedly diagnosed with a Grade 2 Oligodendroglioma, a recurring brain tumour. Kat went through brain surgery and one year of radio and chemo therapy.

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“I was told I wasn't allowed to lift weights, had become my passion after training for Basecamp and that I had to limit my exercise and to think I thought I had faced my biggest challenge...little did I know.”

“As you can imagine my world turned upside down, I lost all of my independence and was banned from following my passion and exercising, which by this point had become my form of meditation and catharsis. I started to get very low and began showing signs of anxiety and found adapting to my new condition extremely difficult. As such a positive person, this was a huge blow and in spite of my positive outlook, I struggled to know that my tumour had affected every part of my life. I couldn't drive to work, see friends, the long-term effects have left me with cognitive damage which makes it hard to socialise, focus and concentrate for periods of time, I struggled and still do struggle to filter out noise or distractions.”

“At this point, I began looking at all the negatives as against considering what I did have. As such, I put my bike on a turbo trainer and started turning the cogs. Similarly to the trek to basecamp, I focused on turning one leg at a time and dreamed of being out on the road and the freedom that afforded me.”

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“Months later, I am now finally back out on my bike and in the gym, I love to exercise and am passionate about inspiring others to don their lycra or joggers and get outside to keep fit. It doesn't have to be riding for miles, or conquering Everest Basecamp, it could simply be walking further than the day before or going out more often. Find something that gets the coals of your soul burning and do more of it.”

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“Believe me when I say, if I can, so can you."

We ended our succinct meeting with Kat smiling as she did throughout our session - and with me being grateful for such an unexpectedly great encounter!

**I have been following Kat on her journey via her Instagram and found loads of inspiration: she is now doing Crossfit and is, indeed, a ‘machine’ of strength and good vibes! Thanks again for an incredible time!

James Joel Dann

Two years have passed since my first photoshoot with filmmaker and scriptwriter James Joel Dann, and, at the same time, a great opportunity to update on our projects and developments, exchange ideas on visual expressions and contemporary challenges for freelancers in media.


James wanted to wander around central Manchester and Northern Quarter, to take some profile shots, so we did just that. I wanted to photograph him wearing his amazing jacket, purchased from Vietnam - which attracted loads of positive comments wherever we went - but also his red Puma tracksuit which I noticed in one of his short films. The light was really bad - a perfectly gloomy day in Manchester but we tried our best. James is natural and versatile in front of the camera and I enjoy capturing his honest, open and true nature.

**Despite this being an overly photographed place, we had to try and have a few shots here.

**Despite this being an overly photographed place, we had to try and have a few shots here.

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**As it started to rain, we decided to shelter inside Chapter One which boosted as always an incredible atmosphere and allowed us to shoot inside. Coffee was amazing, too! Thank you!

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James is now offering video services, so if you need a videographer, here is the link to his work: https://swiftvideo.co.uk