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Camera Obscura: Blurring the Lines with Food Photographer Victoria Baldwin


Camera Obscura: Blurring the Lines with Food Photographer Victoria Baldwin

Originally from Sydney, Victoria grew up with an obsession with food. Coming from a family in food production, the culinary arts were part of her story from a young age. Upon finding a love for photography, those two worlds naturally combined. Since then, she has delved into every part of the process and now finds herself equally at home in a field as she is in the studio. 

A background in theatre has resulted in a great love of mise en scène, Victoria works closely alongside Art Directors and understands ‘what’s not in the scene is just as important as what is’. This considered approach, in combination with her structured process of image-making, results in work that is not only bold and impacting but also highly relevant to the project's display medium. 

Victoria is a leader in the photographic community and founded the Women’s Work Collective, a collective of female photographers working to create equality in the industry. She has served as the Vice President of AIPA (the NZ Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association). Victoria also appeared on and hosted panels, Webinars and Workshops. Victoria shares her skills to create a better world with equality and compassion at its core. 

Pervious work from Victoria Baldwin

LBB> What is your niche craft obsession?

Victoria> Is it a photograph? Or is it a film? 

Food photography is my thing. And I’m all in! I’m so passionate about every aspect of food photography. But within that, I’m loving exploring the bounds between photography and film. Media outputs have changed, and digital advertising has become the norm. The lines between photography, motion graphics and film have blurred.

Along with still photography, I now produce Stop Motion, GIFs, Films and Cinemagraphs. I love collaborating with creatives to get the most out of our media placements. Crafting images for use across many platforms is fascinating to me. 

Sometimes we shoot stills and stitch them to create short videos. At other times, we shoot film, loop small segments, isolate parts of the frame, and freeze the rest. There is a tipping point when it makes more sense to film something - and this balance is where the fun happens! There are creative decisions around what camera to use. Should we use continuous or strobe? Shall we shoot locked off or handheld? Are stop-motion techniques appropriate? I love it all. 

LBB> Where/ when/ how did you first come across this thing? 

Victoria> I came across the work of Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, who created the cinemagraph and coined the term in 2011. I immediately wanted to create rich, eye-catching, engaging media. Media continues to fragment and evolve. Moving billboards in malls, airports, and train stations are commonplace. Digital media extensions spill into web pages with smart placement. I love the challenge of these once-static placements. And I love collaborating with creatives to breathe life into the platform.

LBB> Was it an obsession straight away or something that has evolved over the years?

Victoria> My partner is an accomplished Cinematographer. Our romance blossomed over cameras and mutual admiration for each other’s approach to image-making. We’re always showing each other new bits of gear and software updates that allow us to work in different ways. I’ve always thought about my career in the long term. Image-making is a passion, and I want to create a life where I can keep learning and growing. Operating in both the stills and film arena means I'll always have new challenges. The minute you stop learning, your work stops growing. 

As creatives, we always want to shift perspectives. Challenge our assumptions. Reinvent ourselves. 

LBB> What are the most interesting debates or conversations you are having around this obsession?

Victoria> We’ve seen a huge push for photographers shooting “motion”. I would define this as a moving still - something static with a moving element within the frame. This is an easy translation for many photographers because you are still thinking in 2D. But it has led to some confusion among photographers who may identify as DOPs or directors. And there is more to it than that. I now work with Film Construction, a film company with a long history. They put a lot of emphasis on getting the right team in place. 

LBB> How widespread do you think this obsession is with your peers?

Victoria> I'm in touch with a lot of photographers through Woman’s Work and AIPA. A lot of photographers want to shoot motion. But there is an art to that transition. Since joining forces with Film Construction, I can see the stark difference in the approach to film-making to photography. I've seen that many photographers tend to shoot more loosely and operate on instinct, hoping things will pan out. Film projects need a broader mindset, it's way more of a team game and requires more stamina for the editing process. 

LBB> Can you share any examples of work where that obsession really came to the fore and elevated the final production?

Victoria> For the Lucky AF project, we wanted to tell the story of Otis and Sarah enjoying this beverage collaboration, alongside the story of their famous food truck. We shot a stills campaign in the studio, and also created an engaging stop motion sequence of stills following the journey of making the drink. 

In the Mediterranean Dip project, we created a still image that could work in static placements, then we then built this into animated images that worked really well in digital screens in malls. You can see the stack teetering and you almost want to rush over to steady it. 

For the Aunt Betty’s campaign, we created a series of images and extended these scenes by creating short looping, stop-motion. These work really well on social as the viewer is watching along, waiting to see the start of the next sequence, and try to find the join!

LBB> For anyone just getting into your field, what advice would you share to help them get their head around this particular thing?

Victoria> Jack of all trades and master of none - it’s a cliche for a reason! My advice is to find your niche. Then focus on it. Perfect your offering before taking it to market. 

View Victoria's work below: 

1st: Lucky AF, 2nd: Mediterranean Dip, 3rd: Aunt Betty's



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Film Construction, Fri, 28 Apr 2023 01:04:45 GMT