I suppose you can call me a professional food photographer, although this title does not exactly encompass the breadth of what I do and how I approach both client work and personal work. I [not-so-secretly-anymore] call myself a concept photographer because I rely heavily on concepts - be it in the form of a word, a feeling, an emotion, a visual art movement, a piece of literary fiction, a film, a balmy breeze, a memory --- anything ephemeral or transient, really - to produce the work I do. If I had to describe my work in a few sentences, I will say my contemporary art background and visual art practice somehow always informs the end product.
I hoard a lot of beautiful things - books, an unholy amount of handmade ceramics, dried flowers, unusual textures, architectural vases - the list is endless. I am far from a minimalist, in no small part due to the work I do as my own prop stylist in the shoots I conceive from the ground up. I love shooting with natural light the most, but I, being a mere mortal and all, am far from controlling Mother Nature - so I shoot most of my projects with strobes. I am fortunate enough to reside in a live-work building and I work out of my own home for most client work; it's quite nice to be able to say my studio has a full kitchen, which legitimizes me - only in the tiniest degree - in the food photography industry.
I refrain from using digital mood boards (like Pinterest) in my own personal practice, preferring to look at my vast arsenal of artist monographs and print ephemera instead. In this world of constant digital content consumption, relying on mood boards clouds my ability to imagine fully. My images do not exactly tread the realm of what's trendy at the moment, nor are they ground-breaking in any sort of avant garde manner, but I have been told by many that the images I put out there look very much like an 'Issha Marie photograph', and I take great pride in that. I tend to err towards moody Vermeer light - you will see a lot of that here - but I do love my light and colour too!
I picked up my first camera when I was in my mid-to-late teens: a Pentax digital point-and-shoot I would often steal from my mum to take moody teenage self-portraits and macro photographs of flowers. I did not know the first thing about photography - only that I loved it. In university, I went ahead and enrolled as a major in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence with a minor in Philosophy (in my attempt to be more practical and pragmatic), but eventually failed all of my classes because I would spend hours in my campus library teaching myself Photoshop (I started with version 5.0). So I switched majors, and enrolled in the very small Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto - where my love affair with contemporary art blossomed. Intaglio and darkroom techniques were my primary disciplines in art school.
I sought out the world of commercial photography as a means to support my visual art practice. I had wanted to be an interdisciplinary artist - working with intaglio, analogue, and alternative photography techniques to say whatever it is I wanted to say at that period in my life. I worked as a third assistant in one of the largest wedding photography boutiques in Toronto and got a hands-on education in strobes there. At one point, I even entertained the idea of working as a professional music photographer, but after a few years of working for free in my attempt to realize that dream, I abandoned that path altogether. Food photography is what finally paid the bills for me, and luckily, it was a deep love at first experience, as it joined together two of my favourite things in the whole world: making pictures and making food.
When I am not shooting client work, I help my friends out at The Wild Bunch as an assistant to the senior floral designers. I call myself a trainee florist; you can find my novice work and observations on Instagram under the hashtag #adventuresofatraineeflorist. I wrote and self-published a poetry chapbook two years ago, and am on the fence about releasing another one, even though I have already started writing content for a second chapbook. I am in the process of writing my own cookbook too - more on that much later.
I co-created Page+Paper with my best friend, Alison Page, and together we make up 2/3 of our print-focused collective, One of Us, alongside Sophia Ahamed of Monograph&Co. We put together a printed, self-published annual on the intersection of food, art, literature, and think pieces in the Canadian landscape. We are currently on our third issue.
I am currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia but am available for work all across Canada, as well as collaborative projects in the United States - where I have taught photography workshops suited for beginners and intermediates.
- Food Photography
- Lifestyle and Editorial Photography
- Brand and Product Photography
- Creative Portraiture
- Recipe Development
- Prop Styling
- Food Styling
I often work with my creative partner, Alison Page, as well as a maximum of two people for the roles of studio assistant and stylist, for full day or multi-day productions. We shoot with strobes outfitted with a variety of modifiers for most, if not all, of our client work. We have a variety of backdrops and props at our helm, but can build small sets on a project-by-project basis when given the time and resources.
Our studio is located in the heart of Railtown, and includes use of a full kitchen and my collection of beautiful ceramics for all food photography needs. We also have access to a slightly larger, more open shoot space suited for fashion and portraits, though it will have to be booked in advance and at least two weeks prior to proposed shoot dates.
Tell Us About Your Project!
Please specify your needs - whether it be photography, prop styling, recipe development, or a combination of these services - and send us as much information about your upcoming project! We will get back to you with some more follow-up questions and a quote as soon as possible. We sincerely hope you find our studio a good fit for your project!