Evolution of a Project

As a commercial food photographer, I look for inspiration in so many places and through osmosis, I’m constantly getting ideas for personal projects to work on. I have notebooks full of ideas. About the time that people are jotting down new year’s resolutions, I decided to make just one: do three awesome personal food projects this year that involve both stills and video. That's it. Super vague. I opened up the notebooks and sifted through ideas. There were some good ones, as well as lackluster ones. There were some that I couldn’t even decipher because my handwriting is terrible.  Sometimes I dream about food stories and I write them down in the middle of the night in a dream-like state. One time I woke up and found this written on a piece of paper next to my bed: “To my buddy. Sleep is king. I love cake.” Maybe there’s a personal food project in there somewhere.

To my buddy. Sleep is king. I love cake.

I kept coming back to one. I liked it because it could be approached a few different ways. I liked the freedom and the possibilities. The idea was very simple: invite chefs to my studio to create one meaningful, seminal dish. Something that had a good storyline. Something that possibly explained their love affair with food. 

So, I started collaborating with chefs. I would ask them to make a dish that was important to them. They would drop by my studio and we would hang out and talk about food. We drank beers and shared amazing food together. I listened to some fascinating stories and I did my best to document them and create a story. I made a lot of new friends, connected with old ones, and learned how to make some really incredible recipes.

Brad Iwen's studio in the Blackstone District.

Brad Iwen's studio in the Blackstone District.

All in all, I worked with 11 chefs over the course of the last 6 months. I created a video segment and a series of still images for each chef. The videos and some of the still images for each will appear on this site. The final still images can be viewed in person at an event on August 12, 2016. More details to come, but all proceeds from this event will be donated to No More Empty Pots, an Omaha-based food charity doing amazing things for the community.