I shot these (click to enlarge) over an early breakfast while on assignment in Bangladesh recently. Our breakfast joint was no more than a hole in the wall off the main street, we’d go in at dawn, somewhere between the rising volume of the morning call to prayer and the sun coming up hot and fast. Halfway through our first plates of roti, dahl, and eggs, the sun would peak through the door and sidelight the steam from the fresh roti. And by the time I finished shooting, my meal was cold. I looked forward to these mornings, it’s rare that the light and the food is so good all at once, the shooting-grounds only inches from my breakfast plate.
I look at these frames now and they seem so serene, no hints whatsoever of the buidling chaos and noise in the streets, as though the moment the sun awakes all the horns in the city wake up and begin their incessant din until long after the sun’s gone down on the other side of day. And in those hours we’d be miles away, in small villages tucked up against the Indian border, photographing children and families, listening to stories of how elephants trampled their home, and how they’ve rebuilt and moved on. I shake my head alot on these trips.
The quality and direction of light while shooting food is absolutely crucial. Watching it play in this man’s kitchen morning after morning gave me a renewed appreciation for the subtleties of light, not only from one hour to the next, but from one minute, one moment, to the next. You turn and it’s gone. I love this about our craft, playing with something so intangible, so fleeting.