This photo shoot was for the July/August 2011 cover of Food Arts magazine, a trade magazine for the restaurant and hotel industry.  One of the main feature articles in the issue was a profile of Chef Brad Farmerie and his recipes that involve cooking with real blood. For the cover, the goal was to photograph real blood and make it look both mysterious and appetizing. It needed to be simple for cover lines to run.


For the cover, I proposed shooting "a sky view of a pan (or shallow vessel) filled entirely with blood. The field of the frame would be entirely dark red (you wouldn't see the edges of the pan).  Cooking utensils (ladle or slotted spoon, perhaps) would be partially submerged/coated in the center of the blood." Lighting would be seductive.

I hired Ryann Cooley, a still life photographer with a penchant for shooting metallics against dark backgrounds and making them gleam.

On set, we used real blood provided by the chef mentioned in the cover story. We tried options with a dark background as well as options in which the utensils were laying in a pool of blood on white plexiglass.  Ultimately, the black proved to have the mystique we desired most for the cover.

download copy.jpeg

For the feature opener, I suggested shooting "a bird's eye view looking down on a graphic grid arrangement of white circular or square porcelain plates, arranged on a white plexi.  A beautiful drip pattern of blood would extend across a few of the plates (to reference a restaurant chef saucing plates.)  The entire field would be white except for the blood element—which would stand out." This arrangement had to account for the magazine gutter and allow space for the hed and dek of the feature.