Michael Crichton Photography is a Toronto-based duo of still life photographer Michael Crichton and his wife Leigh MacMillan, artist and stylist. Michael studied design and art history and then switched to photography. Leigh has a fine arts degree and studied art history and printmaking with a photography minor.
The duo works on various subjects but food is their main subject partly because they appreciate its emotional, and socio-cultural significance, as well as its narrative potential. Michael and Leigh shoot still life and conceptual food photography of advanced technical skill, beauty and sophistication. They are in creative dialogue with previous masters of still life bringing their own viewpoint to the genre with graphic, dynamic, sometimes surreal, compositions. Their conceptual shots include some very intriguing concepts, like the Rorschach-esque floor mop and squid, stories of spilled wine and leftovers, surreal takes of flying coffee or food captured mid-air.
Michael and Leigh make art out of simple objects and complex concepts. Their work is sought after by topnotch commercial and editorial clients, such as Capital One, Con Agra Foods, GQ Magazine, Kellogg’s, Leo Burnett, McDonald’s, Nutella, The Globe And Mail, and many others. The creative duo merges art photography with the demands of commercial photography beautifully. Besides, art does not necessarily have to be made for art’s sake. If, as Michael says, “inspiration is omnipresent”, so can be art.
He went on to earn a doctorate in theoretical and mathematical physics as well as a master’s degree in economics from Princeton University. He holds additional master’s degrees in geophysics and space physics and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He did postdoctoral work with Stephen Hawking at Cambridge University researching cosmology, quantum field theory in curved space-time, and quantum theories of gravitation before starting a software company that would be acquired by Microsoft.
As his career developed, he still found time to explore the culinary world and photography. While working directly for Bill Gates as the chief technology officer at Microsoft, Nathan was part of the team that won the Memphis World Championship Barbecue contest; he worked as a stagier at Chef Thierry Rautureau’s restaurant Rover’s in Seattle; and then he took a leave of absence to earn his culinary diploma from École de Cuisine La Varenne in France.
Nathan retired from Microsoft in 1999 to found Intellectual Ventures and pursue several lifelong interests in photography, cooking, and food science. During this time, some of his photographs were published in America 24/7 (DK Publishing, Inc., 2003) and Washington 24/7 (DK Publishing, Inc., 2004). Unable to find practical information about sous vide cooking, he decided to write the book he had hoped already existed—one that provided a scientific explanation of the cooking process, the history of cooking, and the techniques, equipment, and recipes involved in Modernist cuisine. Inspired by this void in cooking literature, he decided to share the science of cooking and wonders of Modernist cuisine with others, hoping to pass on his own curiosity and passion for the movement.
"A geek at heart, I appreciate authors who describe their methods in detail—such guides are invaluable when you want to learn how to do things. That is why we decided to include a 38-page chapter on the Techniques of Modernist Food Photography, which provides a tour of our photo studio at The Cooking Lab and explains, in a highly visual way, how our team captured and digitally edited some of our most intriguing images. We also included tips for taking better photos of food, such as lighting tricks for camera phones, that we hope both budding and experienced photographers will find useful."
Dan Bannino is an Italian-born photographer whose work has been aptly described as 'Pop-Renaissance’. He combines influences coming from the Old Masters and the rich cultural inheritance of his native Italy with inspiration drawn from the world of contemporary pop culture, displayed on the internet or TV.
Bannino has been praised for the clarity and sharpness with which he translates ideas into images, often through outstanding still lives. He draws his themes from everyday life, from books, films or the news and he creates pictures that tell stories or convey complex concepts. As he himself explains, “behind every shoot there are days, weeks, and even months of research”.
Fondness for unusual themes is another characteristic of his work and it is one of his declared goals to draw the audience’s attention to such themes. Exemplary in this respect is his strangely beautiful “Chic Chicks” project, a series of human-like portraits of a special breed of Paduan chickens whose ridge has been replaced by colorful feathers resembling 80s hairstyles.
Food is a topic that fascinates him and figures most prominently in his “Still Diets” project, a series of hauntingly beautiful still lives devoted to the diets of various celebrities drawn from pop culture, literature, politics and history. Bannino’s work has gained international fame and praise and has appeared in major newspapers and magazines such as The Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Elle, Cosmopolitan and many more.
Tony Ray-Jones (7 June 1941 in Wells, Somerset – 13 March 1972 in London) was an English photographer. He studied graphic design at the London School of Printing and then joined the Yale University School of Art on a scholarship. His 5-year stay in the United States was crucial for his artistic development. Ray-jones photographed energetically for both commercial (Car and Driver and Saturday Evening Post) and creative purposes (the Design Lab, Richard Avendon’s Manhattan studio, New York "street" photographers).
Ray-Jones took his understanding of social documentary photography back with him to England and pursued the idea of a survey of the English at leisure with a somewhat surreal humour. Between 1966 and 1969, he and his wife Anna travelled around England ‘and photo-documented’ a way of life he believed was disappearing: Morris dancers, seaside picnics out of the car boot, and the stoic English on holiday in unending bad weather. His aim as a photographer was to capture the specific British aura, the nostalgic potential and surreal humor in ordinary situations. Tony Ray-Jones’s prolific photographic career spanned only one decade but in his short life he helped create a way of seeing that has exerted an enormous influence on the development of documentary art photography.
Jelly Of Quail, Crayfish Cream Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast. Photo credit: Ashley Palmer-Watts
HARGREAVES + LEVIN
Henry Hargreavesand Caitlin Levin met over several glasses of rose and quickly recognized their shared passion for all things food, photography, travel, and art. Their collaborations have spanned a decade, and they continue to push the boundaries always attempting to find a balance between beauty and the far fetched. With food as their favored medium they always manage to turn the mundane into works of art.
Organized by month,Food Scansis a series that showcases the beauty and bounty of seasonal fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Just as produce picked at peak flavor requires very little adornment on the plate, such was the case with these pictures. Simply placed on the scanner, the artists are able to see every curve, nook, and cranny in incredible detail — and mirrored images allows them to explore symmetry, natural beauty, and the way imperfections and inconsistencies often become the most breathtaking examples of nature's artistry.
Power Hungry shows how authoritarian regimes throughout history have used food as a weapon, systematically oppressing, silencing, and killing people through starvation.
Harry and Caitlin want people to literally and figuratively sit down and look across a table to see the glaring disparities between the 'haves and have nots'. The world has clearly changed tremendously in just a few short decades. Swaths of the world's people, once routinely afflicted by sweeping hunger, have more regular access to food than before. Indeed, even some poor populations now face a greater threat from obesity than from starvation.
Yet, tremendous imbalances exist in places both far away and closer to home. Many throughout the world are still forced to survive on the most meager of meals, or nothing at all, while a powerful few lavish in absurd culinary luxuries.
The images of this collection are just a small sampling of the communities where such contradictions exist.
Paritha Wannawanit: A Fusion of Colors, Tastes and Cultures
Paritha is a self-contained food photographer & blogger, who first became fascinated by food photography when she was a young child living in Thailand. Now living in San Francisco, CA, she loves to play with color contrasts and is inclined toward a “messy” photographic style. She is founder of the blog CircaHappy. Her works have been published in Saveur Magazine & Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Her photos also won 3rd place and ‘highly commended’ in Food Bloggers category from ‘Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year’ in 2016.'