Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Thousand Words

Well, I'm to the point now that I have to start looking for illustrations. The reader reviewers said the book must have illustrations, and I agree. They suggested photos from the period. That's tricky because photography had only just been invented, and wasn't common in the West. Of course we're very familiar with the Matthew Brady photos of the Civil War. But out west, we were only taking pictures of architecture and groups of important men. A lot of portraits but not many pictures of food. I suppose there are DUP photos of many of the women whose recipes will be featured. Here's one of Patty Sessions:

And here's my other hero, Emily Barnes, who wrote very explicitly about her food:

I found one photo at the Utah State Historical Society of people sitting on a lawn eating watermelon. The one you see here isn't that one, but it is similar, from a later date.

Here's one I call "Portrait with sauerkraut." Its not from a Mormon pioneer source. There just aren't that many good food photos from the period. Can I still use non-Mormon photos?

Then there's this lovely image of an itenerant cider-making operation. The details are exquisite.

I'm also thinking that perhaps we should go with some line drawings in the absence of photographs. I have a box of crayons and some printer paper. Do you think I can muster the skills? Or should it be farmed out to a professional?


Sherm said...

Take some pictures of period cooking implements. Modern pictures of old stuff will work just as well as old pictures of old stuff. I suspect no one said there had to be people in the pictures.

Tawna said...

I'm so glad you asked! I think you need to get yourself a food stylist. Did you know there was such a thing? You make the food, then your food stylist helps you take photos that make the food look good, with the appropriate dishes, tablecloths, backdrop, etc. I think you should have photos of the food that you have prepared. There are also stock photos that you can use for a fee that Scott used for his website ( You pay $20 or something and then you have access to thousands of photos that you can publish. For instance, rather than using a historical photo of a woman with her cherry cobbler, you could use a stock photo of a bushel of cherries. Or you could have your stylist take a photo of a cobbler that you made. Get on Twitter and ask around and I'm sure someone could hook you up. If you are interested, I have a friend who probably knows a food stylist in the Salt Lake Valley. I think it is worth having a food stylist, though. Scott's cookbook took a lot of time getting the photos made, because you have to have all the food made, and then you have to make it look good with the right color of plate and all that. How about some photos of you stirring stuff, or tending a fire in an old house with the pot hanging over it? I think the photos would really add to the book. Besides, you're a handsome guy; the ladies would love seeing you in action.

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

This is very cool and the pics are wonderful! it a yes then?

Tawna said...

OK, I checked with my source, who said this:

"if you go to (a local retailer for pros), they have a 'community' category at the bottom of their homepage wherein they have portfolios and contact info for local photographers. I just went to it and the page is down for maintainence but check back frequently... it's usually up"

Lindsey Johnson said...

I think it would be awesome to have photos of you making the recipes. The U has a great collection of photos, I believe.

E-mail me. We could help you out with props and some other things...maybe even photography if you want to go that route. (I'm just throwing it out there--no offense taken if you don't.)