Sarah Jane Sanders Prepares To Dish

After Sarah Jane Sanders and I worked together on some photo-essays and stories for Chevy Chaser and Southsider magazines earlier this year, she gave me one of the greatest gifts of my life in food writing: she agreed to take the photographs for my upcoming book, Classic Kentucky Meals. Fun ensued, from April through June this year. Her gifts and her hard work intrigue and inspire me.

Here she is, setting up the tools that help her shoot in natural light. And she intends to share her secrets on that subject during Food+Photo, our Saturday Seminar for the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning. The seminar begins with photography at the Lexington Farmers Market, includes work at the nearby Carnegie Center, and includes both creative and editing work for both images and words. (A few seminar slots are still available as I write this. Required pre-registration here.)

Friends prepare to enjoy a Classic Kentucky Meal, with Sarah Jane Sanders photographing it all.

Sarah Jane and her camera wade into smoke, corn cribs, and pigpens to get the image that tells the key story.

This wood-fired furnace at Henkle's Herbs & Heirlooms in Nicholasville heats a greenhouse.

This wood-fired furnace at Henkle's Herbs & Heirlooms in Nicholasville heats a greenhouse.

Sarah Jane interrogating the interior of Sunflower Sundries' crib, a storage space for heritage Hickory King corn.

Sarah Jane communes with young, whey-fed Red Wattle pigs at Hood's Heritage Hogs in Robertson County.

Sarah Jane views the world of food and farms with a powerful photographic eye for beauty, interpretation, meaning, and magic. I was honored when she agreed to spend a day with me, leading a Saturday Seminar for people interested in improving skills at food photography and writing. Together, we will make a new portfolio+story website in one day. Training in climbing stairs, ladders and fences not included.

Sarah Jane getting a good angle inside Weisenberger Mill, near Midway, Kentucky.

Good balance!

See some of the variety and beauty of Sarah Jane's work at her website, BraveTart, and many recent stories at Smiley Pete Publishing.

The work she does in her studio, after shooting, matters just as much, but I have no photos of her doing that precision-based, judgment driven work that makes her photos sing. On Saturday, she plans to share top ways to improve photos through editing.

Writers, we'll address some secrets to excellent food writing as well. It's a bit hard to take a picture of that process. Let's show-not-tell. Here's beloved William Carlos Williams:

This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Poetry: distilled, dense, packed with power—there's an option you may choose for Saturday's work of connecting narratives and images about food or growers, or the dogs people bring with them to the Market, or the history of the Pavilion, or the patterns discernible in one paving stone, or the fancy footwear some growers and customers wear: the topic—noble or comedic—is the maker's choice. Our intention for this day: to apply a friendly, gentle fan to the creative fire you bring to your food photography and writing.

Rona RobertsComment