With a degree of envy, I've read Instagram posts of food photography workshops in far-flung exotic locations, dreaming and wishing, but knowing the impossibility of visiting England or Japan, Paris or Spain for a few days of indulgent feasting, exploring and sharing all things food. Food photography and all that it entails is new to me, one year new in fact, so when I saw an Instagram post advertising the Local is Lovely Workshop in Australia with Luisa Brimble, Skye McAlpine and Sophie Hansen, I immediately paid a deposit.
Location is key to a memorable retreat and Kimbri Farm won us at first sight; nestled into the side of a verdant green hill within the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. The rambling farmhouse estate, owned and created by artist Annie Herron, is sheltered by a stand of pine trees and surrounded by cottage gardens and trees, notably flowering crab apple trees whose spring coat of blossom beauty mesmerised us all.
In retrospect, I had few prior expectations of the workshop, just the desire to meet other food creatives who don’t mind the food going cold to capture moments, with the bonus of insider knowledge into food photography. What we experienced was so much more. Strangers became friends as we shared our love of livelihood and life. Each meal was a feast for the senses; vignette moments worthy of capturing, served in different locals with locally sourced produce created into spring inspired dishes by Lil, Gillian and Pip. Presenters willingly shared life stories and experience with wisdom, wit and friendship. Luisa’s infectious spontaneous laugh and talent enthused us to take metering seriously, to try this angle or that position so our photos could be “friggin’ amazing” like hers. Skye’s welcoming and measured discourses about food styling, recipe development, blogging and tips in creating a cookbook shared the heart of the matter; that “food is about connecting with people”. Our hostess, Sophie, who must have spent many hours preparing this lovely spring retreat, helped us explore food photography in a shadowy nook of the shearing shed and oversaw a seamless workshop that we all loved. Annie Herron’s knowledge of art composition enlightened us of the time-honoured use of thirds and tonal scale, to consider lines, negative space and to embrace the edges.
Given the idyllic setting and talented advice, it was hard to take an ugly photograph. Yet like all personal accounts, they must be lived to be understood. I left Kimbri Farm realizing inspiration comes from the generosity of other beautiful people, and felt enriched and inspired to continue to explore my food journey in the reality of my ordinary life.
Some of the amazing attendees I met are listed below in their sites and accounts if you too would like to connect.
Thalia Ho | Butter & Brioche | @thaliaho
Clare Reilly | The Life of Clare | @thelifeofclare
Anisa Sabet| The Maccadames | @anisa.sabet
Honey Atkinson| Honey Atkinson | @honeyatkinson
Kristine Lindbjerg | Lindbjerg Graphic | @lindbjerggraphic
Jane | Bodalla Dairy | @bodalladairycheese
Belinda Nucifora | @belinda.nucifora
Jane Rochford| Sunningdale Farm Kitchen | @sunningdalefarmkitchen
Maree Beavon| @mareebeavon
Hunting and Gathering| @hunting_and_gathering
Margs, Chris, Meme | @yumyumangouriestore
PS I would like to thank the staff of Local is Lovely Workshop for going out of their way to provide me vegan meals.