Today we welcome a special guest! The third half of the Beyond Bacon team, Aimee Buxton. She was instrumental in making the whole project sing, as everyone has mentioned when looking at the preview. But what was it like to spend several months of Sundays in a row at the Paleo Parents’ house? How does one go about photographing someone else’s food to execute their vision? She’s the only one who can answer!
Aimee is one of our very dearest friends, so we knew that handing her this vital part of the project was going to work because we trusted her talent and she trusted our vision. Together, we believe we have created a beautiful book that both looks good and tastes good! And if there’s anything you want to know about the food in this book, she’s the one to ask – she’s taste tested EVERY recipe!
Taking photos for Beyond Bacon was the easiest job I ever got. No applications or marketing myself—just being in the right place at the right time with the right friends. I received a text that pretty much said, “We’re writing a book. You’re taking the photos. Here’s what the contract says.” And I said “OK!” Because no matter how self deprecating or devoid of self esteem you are about your abilities, you never say no to Stacy (related: hence this blog post).
After some marathon shopping for old, rusty, ugly things, we started working in October. I think it was after I got to witness the Halloween menu from Gather being cooked and photographed. Looking in from the outside—just being there to eat—made making a book look as simple as whipping up some food and snapping some pictures. But I think that was all just because Bill and Hayley are so good at entertaining under pressure. When our turn came to have a day of recipes and photographs (minus a house full of “guests”), we were not so calm and collected.
Matt likes cooking for his family and making things taste good. Then here I come asking him to cook with the lights off to avoid color casts. And there is Stacy asking him to make the food look exactly like it does in her head. We also couldn’t quite find our food styling rhythm at first. I had only ever matched blankets to headbands on newborns—plates, napkins, and random ingredients scattered around were foreign to me. I am easily hurt; and every time Stacy disliked a photo from that day because the light was wrong for the aesthetic or her own styling wasn’t perfect, it was hard to not take it personally. Luckily we were able to reshoot most of those!
Gradually we found our groove. They cooked as much as they could on Saturdays. When I arrived on Sundays, they had most of it ready and we styled and photographed plate after plate, one after the other. One day we did 15+ recipes! And all while we had 3-5 hungry kids under foot.
The best part of my pay was all the leftovers I got to take home. I would joke with my husband that I was off to go grocery shopping. Sometimes, I wouldn’t bother to defrost any meat because my half of the leftovers would feed us the entire week! My favorite photo day was when I brought home all the smoked pork. I am a sucker for smoked meat.
Some days, there wouldn’t be any leftovers because what we were shooting tasted just that awesome. On the day we did Sweet Thangs, I had the brownie sundae you will see in the book as my lunch. Then I also had dessert. Fried Foods day was another good day for my tummy and taste buds. We picked at yuca, chips and apple fritters etc. all day.
While it’s awesome hanging out with Stacy again and both of us not being total stressballs, I do miss the creation of art and the eating of yummy recipes. I keep hinting that lamb would be fun to eat through—which puts me at the risk of being punched. Can you blame a photographer for trying?