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Behind-the-Scenes with a Renowned NYC Food Photographer

Whether he’s shooting a best-selling cookbook, teaming up with a celebrity chef, or telling the story of a beloved local restaurant, the NYC photographer David Malosh reminds us of the creative possibilities of food. Originally from Wisconsin, he’s built a career by capturing all manners of dishes around the country, from coastal oyster recipes to fancy, minimalist eggs and everything in between. Malosh has a unique talent for producing images that are at once surprising and simple, making him the go-to photographer for some of the biggest names in the food business.

When it came time for the photographer to create a website, he put his playful yet refined sensibility to work once more. Ultimately, he selected the website builder Squarespace to help bring his vision to life. Malosh’s images speak for themselves, so his Squarespace site places them front and center. Each page under his domain is a feast for the eyes, and it’s easy to lose track of time while browsing his diverse and colorful galleries. We spoke to Malosh about food photography, web hosting, and some behind-the-scenes secrets from the kitchen.

Why did you choose Squarespace to build a website, and what website template is your favorite?
“I chose Squarespace because it was simple. I’m not a huge techie; I don’t talk about the specs of a new camera or the latest software. That’s what digital techs are for, and I’m immensely grateful for their skill and technical knowledge. I needed to set up a website that was flexible and easy to update, one that I could manage myself.

“I think creatives have a tendency to overthink websites. We want them to be perfect. But photo editors and art buyers just want to be able to see images quickly and navigate through your site efficiently. I use the Wells template, which I modified a little. Wells is very straightforward in terms of design and navigation. I was looking for an opening gallery view plus big single images, which is exactly what the template does. A portfolio-based website shouldn’t call attention to itself; it should showcase images. It’s an effective design when they only see the images and the rest is intuitive.”

Your website design is so colorful and fun! Was it easy to add all these images and gifs to your homepage?
“Thanks! Images and gifs are easy to add. I size the longest dimension to 2500 pixels and then drag and drop the files in.”

What about your individual galleries? Why did you choose to display your images in this clean side-by-side layout, as opposed to a slideshow or something similar?
“Gallery views are the fastest way for an editor or art buyer to view a lot of images and (hopefully) find something they are into. I do like scrolling sites, but if you put an image at the very end of a long scroll, someone might not get to it. So I opted for a gallery.”

What was the most rewarding aspect of creating your own website rather than hiring an outside web designer?
“I don’t want to sound like it’s only about ease and efficiency, and I know there are incredible web designers out there, but I wanted a simple site that I could update whenever I felt like it. It’s nice to be able to put up a new gallery in a few minutes and to take them down when you want.”

Can you walk us through the process of collaborating with a chef? How much creative control do you typically have?
“Every job is different, and it depends on who approaches me for a particular book or project. Working directly with a chef tends to give me a bit more freedom because our goals are aligned from the start. We have a meeting and kick ideas around for a while to come up with something that suits the chef or the subject of the book. Cookbooks don’t always have an art director, so it often falls to me to pull a board together. I like to have a story or concept in mind when I shoot rather than just winging it. It gives consistency to a longer project that might otherwise go off in a thousand directions. I’ve also been lucky to work with chefs who are really excited to be doing a book and have placed a good amount of trust in me to make something interesting. They often see their food in a new way, which is exciting for everyone.”

Do you cook yourself?
“I don’t cook as much as I used to or as often as I’d like. I used to cook almost every night, and the more complicated the recipe, the better. I was into dishes that would take hours or days to prepare and had a laundry list of ingredients. I loved it when I had the time, but as my schedule got busier, I started cooking a bit less. I now sort of default to simple Italian and French cooking, 5-ingredient-or-less kind of stuff. I do make my own pasta, though. That’s where I draw the line.”

What are some differences between shooting a magazine editorial and shooting a cookbook?
“Magazine editorial shooting is usually much more scripted. A designer has already done a layout, and you’re essentially shooting the image into it. Editorial shoots take place over a day or two and you’re doing 8-10 recipes a day. It’s pretty hit-and-run. With cookbooks, you’re shooting for 10 days or more, and there’s time to get into it and make it all flow together. You get to know the chef and the rest of the crew, and it’s more familial. Cookbooks seem to have more freedom because it’s nearly impossible to lay them out ahead of time. That means we can make great images and trust a designer to do something even better with them.”

How have other genres, like fashion and still life, informed your approach to photographing food?
“I tend to look at still life and fashion images for inspiration more than I look at pictures of food. That’s not to say that I don’t keep up with what’s going on in food, and there are definitely food photographers I truly admire, but what I find interesting tends to be based on composition and movement in an image more than the food itself. Good composition is fairly universal, even if the subject matter is different.”

Have you learned any unconventional food styling tips along the way?
“The real styling tips I’ve learned are very simple: use good ingredients, make nice shapes, leave some negative space. And a bit of shine never hurts. The food we shoot is (usually) completely edible. There are a few things that still require tricks, like tacos… I’ve seen more strange things hold tacos together than I care to admit. Every client wants tacos to magically stand up on their own and also somehow stay closed. I’ve seen magnets, denture cream, and T-pins all work magic on flour tortillas. More than anything, though, stylists have taught me good cooking techniques: using higher heat, salting (especially fish) ahead of time and not cooking things to oblivion.”

You can try Squarespace free for 14 days. When you’re ready to subscribe, be sure to use coupon ‘FEATURESHOOT’ for 10% off your first purchase.

Squarespace is a Feature Shoot sponsor.

Photos of 65 Iconic Artists In Their Bathtubs

Keith Haring, 1982. Photo © Don Herron, courtesy Estate of Don Herron and Daniel Cooney Fine Art

Phoebe Legere, 1988. Photo © Don Herron, courtesy Estate of Don Herron and Daniel Cooney Fine Art

The East Village, 1988: Phoebe Legere was preparing to pose in her bathtub for photographer Don Herron. The 25-year-old songwriter had signed to Epic Records—one of the most powerful in the world back then—and they poised to make her into some combination of Madonna, Barbra Streisand, and Liberace. At the same time, Legere says, Michael Jackson had reached huge commercial success, Cindy Lauper was past her prime, and few female singers or artists were depicted as strong or powerful figures in stardom. Not to mention there was a booming yet wholly male-dominated art renaissance emerging quite literally around the corner in New York, according to Legere. Even Keith Haring was showing at the now-iconic FUN Gallery just half a block away from Legere’s apartment, where she still resides today. “It was a boys club, no question about it,” Legere tells me. “Girls were not welcome, except as maybe a muse or a drug dealer.”

A few days before her photo shoot with Herron, however, Legere had an idea. The up-and-coming musician could use the session to reveal another one of her talents: painting. Using black bathtub glaze, she adorned her bathtub in paintings of fish—which she calls her “totem animal”—and voluptuous women. She didn’t think her beauty alone was enough to would hold anyone’s attention. By the time Herron arrived, after he climbed 80 stairs to Legere’s fifth floor walk up, the paint on the tub had not yet dried and the water had turned black.

Squarespace, the All-in-One Website Builder, Has a Great New Tool

Customer Engagement

In 2018, photographers have more on their plates than ever. Thriving in a digital world often seems like a constant juggling act; in addition to making work, the modern photographer’s to-do list includes building an online presence, engaging an audience, and consistently reaching out to followers and clients through email and social media. We know this sounds overwhelming (and expensive), but it doesn’t have to be.

Instead of shelling out the time and money for a million different services–one platform for website hosting a second for finding a domain name, another for blogging, another for online sales, and yet another for email marketing–photographers can now do it all with Squarespace. An all-in-one website builder like Squarespace is an obvious choice for convenience and affordability, and it’s also the right pick for anyone who wants to create a consistent and professional brand.

This month, Squarespace is changing the game by rolling out a state-of-the-art email marketing campaign feature. Users can now send beautiful, customizable emails from any device. Squarespace offers thirty starter layouts for email marketing, and it’s easy to incorporate your website logo, images, or even blog posts into every one. Call-to-action buttons can direct followers straight to your portfolio pages, products in your store, or RSVP forms for upcoming events. Let’s take a look at some of the ways photographers can use this new tool to expand their businesses.

A Spiritual Journey Exploring the Magnificence of Trees

Lake Tree, Beihai Park, Beijing, China, 2008

Bamboo and Tree, Qingkou Village, Yunnan, China, 2013

Huangshan Mountains, Study 13, Anhui, China, 2008

As a young boy growing up in the town of Widnes in northwest England, photographer Michael Kenna discovered a tree at the edge of a field in Victoria Park and made it his own. He and his brothers staked out their respective arboreal homes, hidden from the world, they could escape into the limitless expanses of their imaginations. Those trees became sanctuaries from all that civilization demanded of them, allowing them a space to commune with nature, free and unfettered.

Over the past 35 years, Kenna has dedicated himself to photographing trees all around the globe. Using a Hasselblad to create exquisite black and white silver gelatin prints, Kenna’s portraits of trees are like Zen koans: tranquil and enchanting, minimal and moody, and powerfully evocative of life’s deepest mysteries.

A selection of these works is on view in Philosopher’s Tree’ by Michael Kenna at Blue Lotus Gallery, Hong Kong, from June 15 through July 1, 2018. The works take us around the world, into different realms where trees have their own unique relationship with the landscape and the environment. Whether in China or Italy, Norway or Brazil, Kenna’s relationship to the trees is an unwavering act of devotion.

15 Years of Haunting Landscape Photos

As Light Falls #8 (2015) © Nicholas Hughes

In Darkness Visible (Verse I) #14 (2007) © Nicholas Hughes

Field (Verse I) #3 (2008) © Nicholas Hughes

Nowhere Far, a monograph by the photographer Nicolas Hughes (GOST Books), spans six series and fifteen years of large-format work, hand-printed in the darkroom. Rooted in the traditions of Romanticism and Pictorialism, the book slips into the outer edges of abstraction, displacing us in vast expanses of land, sea, and sky. In Hughes’s world, the ground blurs and moves; he freezes waves and stretches the boundaries between heaven and earth almost to the point of breaking.

Discover the People Behind the “Strictly Platonic” Ads on Craigslist

Vegan bestie – w4w
body: fit
height: 5’6″ (167cm)
status: single
age: 26
Looking for an intelligent, vegan, self starting woman who wants to explore vegan food together.

Naked cleaning by man – m4w
body : athletic
age: 36

Man for hire: cleaning house or apartment without clothes. Man: white, 5’8″, 165 lbs, athletic

In a city of 8.5 million, for some New York can feel like the loneliest place on earth. The irony of the crowd is the way it depersonalizes life; when everyone is a stranger, it can exacerbate antisocial tendencies. Add to the increasing dependency on digital communications, where three dimensions are reduced to two and people cease to act in real time and space, creating representations that they use to seek attention, albeit positive or negative.

For those with particular hobbies and tastes, or simply more inclined to introversion and risk adverse, making friends can be a challenge all its own. Craigslist understands this and offers “Strictly Platonic” personals. Here, people can say exactly what they want outside the context of a sexual or romantic exchange (although this is something of a grey areas, as many ads blur these lines).

Magic moments found in the everyday in Russia

“As a child I already felt a strong affinity with Soviet culture, because of the history and place I lived in” writes photographer Frank Herfort, who was born in Leipzig, East Germany, in what was then the German Democratic Republic (GDR). “As a young kid with 8 or 9 years or so, I already dreamt of Moscow”, he continues, “don’t ask me why, there was something magnetic about the city’s atmosphere”. Some dreams come true—Frank now resides between Moscow and Berlin.

Color and Light in a Unique Suburb of Sydney



Sydney-born photographer Markus Andersen first visited the suburb of Cabramatta two years ago. A memorial had recently been set up in the main square honor of those who lost their lives in the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis, and moved by the scene, the photographer found himself wandering the streets.

Love, Lust, and Loss: A Photographic Memoir of the 80s



Love, Lust, and Loss: A Photographic Memoir of the 80s is both a visual coming of age story and Atlanta-based photographer Billy Howard’s homage to a decade which stayed with him emotionally and visually. At the time people were less cautious about having their photograph taken by strangers and so the camera became his ticket to the fringes of society in the south — with it he was granted access to “those people your mother warned you about”: drag show dressing rooms, strip clubs, tattoo parlours, homeless shelters and homes of people dying of AIDS. At first glance these portraits of strangers might not seem pertinent to the photographer’s own story, though on closer inspection they share some common ground.

Intense Aerial Photos Reveal Mankind’s Effect on the Planet

Magenta Bloom, Fort Morgan, CO, 2014

Magenta Bloom, Fort Morgan, CO, 2014: Purple algae blooms in the nutrient-rich waste from a feedlot near Fort Morgan.

Improved Paradise, Castle Pines, CO, 2015

Improved Paradise, Castle Pines, CO, 2015: Many natural landscapes such as this are disrupted by the addition of a golf course.

Evan Anderman spent much of his childhood in Colorado’s Eastern Plains, exploring feral terrain with his father. As an adult, he was pulled back to the plains of Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas – inspired in part by his own and our collective nostalgia for the landscape of the American West.

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