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Antara Boruah: Elevating Culinary Artistry Through Expert Food Photography And Styling

Culinary Artistry

Antara Boruah, an IIT Bombay alumni and former production geologist with Shell India, has carved a unique path as a food photographer and stylist.

Food photography is more than just capturing images of meals; it’s an intricate art form that combines technical skill and creative vision to evoke emotions and cravings. By employing elements such as strategic lighting, meticulous plating, and thoughtful composition, Antara, who is a self taught photographer and stylist, transforms dishes into visual stories that can tempt, inspire, and connect with viewers on a deep level.

Culinary Artistry
Picture Credit: Antara Boruah

Whether showcasing the vibrant colors of fresh produce or the textures of a perfectly cooked dish, her food photography has the power to influence our perceptions, appetites, and even our culinary choices, making it a crucial aspect of the global food culture.

How does food photography influence our aesthetic perception of cuisine, and what elements make a food photograph visually appealing?

Food photography aims to present a dish in a visually enticing manner, tempting viewers to crave a bite just by looking at the picture . As such, it profoundly influences how we perceive a dish aesthetically. Several elements contribute to creating a captivating food photograph.

Key among these are lighting, whether natural or artificial, and meticulous plating—from selecting the right crockery and cutlery, artistically plating the components of the dish to garnishes that brings out the freshness of a dish.

The use of color theory, principles of photographic composition for achieving balance, and creative prop styling for storytelling, whether cultural or themed to a restaurant, all play important roles in enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a food photograph

When did you started as an food photography and styling journey?

It’s been almost 4 years no. Currently I am on a sabbatical since last 15 months, planning to resume in another month or so.

How does the presentation of food in photographs affect our psychological and emotional responses to food? Can it influence our appetite and food choices?

Food presentation in photographs profoundly influences our sensory and emotional responses, shaping our perception and interaction with culinary offerings.

Consider the scenario of a food delivery app with a multitude of new eateries to choose from. The decision to order often hinges solely on the visual appeal of the food displayed. A well-executed food photograph instantly creates a positive impression, setting expectations for taste. Conversely, a poorly presented dish with an inadequate photograph directs attention to other options.

Culinary Artistry
Picture Credit: Antara Boruah

Furthermore, food photograph enriched with a compelling cultural narrative can evoke nostalgia, foster emotional connections, and inspire culinary exploration. Similarly, an intriguing photograph set within a restaurant’s thematic backdrop can pique the curiosity of food enthusiasts, shaping expectations of taste and stimulating the desire to try the depicted dish. Thoughtful plating featuring textures, vibrant colors, and elements such as steam for hot dishes or refreshing droplets for chilled beverages can evoke cravings and enhance appetite.

In what ways can food photography be considered a form of artistic expression?

Whether intended for commercial, editorial, or personal blogs, food photography, like any other genre, constitutes a form of artistic expression.

The blend of technical expertise with the photographer’s artistic vision, often complemented by stylist ’s skills, results in captivating images meant for diverse photographic goals.

The strategic use of lighting not only enhances photographic quality but helps to create different moods, contributing to the overall aesthetics of the image. The artistic use of aperture and shutter speed makes a normal photograph very captivating .Similarly, the artistic application of color themes serve to convey brand identities or capture the essence of restaurant themes in commercial photography. Attention to detail in props, backdrops, and their artistic arrangement underscores the importance of maintaining visual balance and harmony.

Culinary Artistry
Picture Credit: Choukascribbled

These elements exemplify the necessity for photographers to possess both technical proficiency and artistic sensibility, whether aiming to evoke a specific emotion, convey a narrative, or enhance aesthetic appeal. Thus, food photography serves as a medium where technical prowess converges with creative expression to produce visually compelling and meaningful imagery across various platforms and purposes.

How does food photography contribute to the globalization of food culture, and what are the implications for culinary diversity and authenticity?

In today’s world, where social media, food blogging, digital marketing, and e-commerce take center stage, food photography plays an increasingly significant role in the globalization of food culture.

The visual representation of various dishes, traditional recipes, regional ingredients, and cooking techniques on digital platforms and in cookbooks helps viewers/readers worldwide appreciate and learn about different culinary aspects from diverse regions.

Culinary Artistry
Picture Credit: Antara Boruah

An intriguing food photograph sparks curiosity in viewers, motivating them to seek out specific dishes or ingredients at restaurants serving that cuisine or during visits to the locations where those dishes originated, thus fostering cultural exchange and new experiences.

However, concerning the authenticity of recipes or dishes, food photography can sometimes be misleading. Styling aesthetics to conform to current trends or enhance visual appeal may inadvertently compromise authenticity and alter their original identity.

How do the intricate interplay of aesthetic appeal, authenticity, and stylistic elements in your Instagram food photography reflect the meticulous effort and dedication invested in each composition?

Behind every photograph is a creative vision, my own unique style that guides the overall process . The theme ( traditional, minimalist, modern, moody , light& airy and many more) of each photograph is designed based on the emotions it requires to evoke.

It involves detailed planning for lighting, colour schemes, props, angles and composition to make the food as appetising as possible while retaining the true essence of the dish.

My effort is always to present the food as true to its real life appearance by distinctly showing its textures and true colours. Every detail from plating to garnishes is carefully thought out. If its a product shoot that involves curating recipes, then a thoughtful research for innovative recipes is an integral part of the process

I try to minimise post processing as much as possible and it is mostly restricted to focus stacking and colour grading.

There is one picture on your Insta post of Topspin club the light from the back if am not wrong that’s changes the Whole  dynamic of the story? Explain that? That post brew Bliss post

Culinary Artistry
Harsh Backlighting By Antara Boruah

Yes, harsh backlighting was intentionally used in this photograph. The light serves as a styling element, similar to a prop. Since this shot was for the launch of the cold coffee brews at Topspin, the objective was to create the ambiance of a sunny day with strong lighting. This was intended to make the cold brew look particularly refreshing, tempting viewers to order one on a hot, sunny day.

The sharp shadows of the leaves were designed to evoke the experience of enjoying the brew in a cozy, airy, sunlit setting.

News Shot 24
Author: News Shot 24

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