Words and Photographs Kulsum K.
Foreword Batul S.
Kulsum bhen takes foodstagramming to a whole new level. Her talent for the capture makes even the simplest foods look like Michelin stars. Get a peek at the photos that’ll make your stomach grumble and delve into the details of what lead her to this scrumptious hobby.
I quit my corporate job for full time photography and it has been all good since.
How did you get into food and lifestyle photography? What was your inspiration?
I used to run a food blog which is still live called Journey Kitchen (www.journeykitchen.com) where my love for food and photography truly started. Whatever spare time I got from my corporate job at the time, I spent in shooting, cooking and editing. Until I quit my corporate job for full time photography and it has been all good since. The wonderful thing about food is, it resonates with everyone. It can stir so many emotions. I try to bring out the same with my food photos.
Mood boards, prop selection, lighting and location is decided beforehand.
How do you set up for the shoot of the day? Could you take us through it?
Ideally the process starts a week in advance of actual shoot day. Mood boards, prop selection, lighting and location is decided beforehand. So on the day is just pack and reach on location. We do have a thorough discussion with the chef of how and what we will be doing. Always be on a chef’s good card, it’s his food after all. Then we set up and once ready, the food rolls in.
…every photographer has their own aesthetic which comes without trying
Do you have a signature style? Something that you keep consistent in all your photographs?
Not a style I intentionally try but every photographer has their own aesthetic which comes without trying. As your body of work increases, you can see a certain consistent theme through them all though I find it hard to pinpoint. Perhaps, it is a mix of various factors, light, angles, viewpoint.
I enjoy working for small boutique restaurants
Who have your past clients been? Which project was your most favourite to work on?
Fortunately, I get to work with many different kind of clients. From commercial brands like Costa Coffee, Applebees, to popular restaurants like Cocoa room, OFK, Melenzane and even to small soulful owner-ran restaurants. Each come with their own set of challenges and opportunities but I enjoy working for small boutique restaurants. Mostly because they are more passionate about what they do!
The style…is inbuilt and you can’t disconnect from it.
As an artist, finding your style is singlehandedly the most crucial thing, it’s what sets you apart. How long did it take you to find yours? Have you found it or is it still evolving?
I think all artists have a style but we should still be evolving. The style or as I like to call it – aesthetics – is inbuilt and you can’t disconnect from it.
Art makes us happy
How do you think artists contribute to society? What role do we play?
In general art makes us happy. It creates a medium for us to express our emotions and feel emotions that we don’t otherwise. As a food photographer, I hope I can bring people to feel the textures, emotions and colour of food. Connect them to what they eat, and bring the joy that only good food can. On a gloomy dreary day, one sees my photo and feels inspired to cook something for example, that for me is an achievement.
You can have a steady stream of her scrumpcious photographs on your Instagram feeds!
Follow her: @kulsumkunwa