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Portrait Joerg Lehmann - Award winning food photographer from Berlin

Vin de Bordeaux

1. Tesi: Being a food photographer is a creative profession many people dream of, but it is certainly not easy to stand out. What motivated you to become a photographer, and how did you discover your talent?

Joerg: I started taking photographs as a young boy while appreciating my father’s work. He used to wander around with his old-fashioned camera, shooting black and white film and colour slides. At 15 years old, I found myself closed up in the so called "Hobby Cellar" staring at the movie, Blow Up. Totally fascinated by that London-based photographer, I quickly decided that I would become a photographer, as well. My father then became my professor, showing me how to create a photo, how to develop the rolls, and how to do prints by myself. Frustration was a daily experience for me because I had to learn everything from scratch.

I don’t really know when or how I realized how much pleasure I took in seeing the world through a lens. The only thing I know is that I started to see my environment in a very different way and had a lot of fun doing so.

2. Tesi: Do you remember your first big job as a food photographer? What was the job about, and how did you manage to get it done?

Joerg: I started shooting food and wine pretty late, exactly 19 years ago. While travelling around the globe as a Fashion and Reportage Photographer, my life mostly took place in hotels and restaurants. I became very familiar with "world cuisine," from Havana and Hong Kong to Sydney and New York.

 

By accident, I met a journalist who worked for the German FEINSCHMECKER Magazine and who introduced me to its Art Director. I moved to Paris around that time (1992), and a long story of great restaurants and chefs followed. I had what I’ll call a "location bonus:" I knew how to speak French, so opportunities became bigger and bigger. I spent nine to ten months a year in hotels and vineyards, drinking and eating and getting paid for it.

3. Tesi: What are the top pictures you are most proud of? Can you give us some background information on each picture?

Picture 1:

les assiettes chez moi

Picture 2:

World Gourmet Society - Coings

Picture 3:

World Gourmet Society - Ma cuisine parisienne

 

4. Tesi: You just published your book, TEUBNER Vegetarisch. Can you please tell me what the book is about?

Joerg: I published TEUBNER Vegetarisch with the German publisher GRÄFE UND UNZER in Munich. This book contains 200 recipes, all kinds of product shots, and lots to read. I even went to Japan to get fancy ceramic dishes to frame the food. We shot all the images in my studio in Berlin with the great food stylists Anke Rabeler and Max Faber. Five hundred forty pages and three and a half months of work is quite a story.

 5. Tesi: What does good food mean to you?

Joerg: Good food is about the people who produce it. Good food is authentic, without pesticides, and produced with respect to nature. Only after this can we really enjoy our preparation at home or appreciate the chefs who work in a good restaurant.

 

People are becoming more and more aware of the big and little problems with food chains. At the end of the day, we have a choice: buy industrial, convenient food or take the time to choose better quality and take the time to share a great dish and wonderful wine with people we love. Food must have a daily benefit for our body, and that transmission works through curiosity, quality management, and awareness of those things to eat and those products to avoid. Humankind absolutely should think about our future. We cannot continue to eat cheap meat every day. Instead, we can select a local balance, where more people have better access to quality food and farmers are decently paid for their hard work.

Thank you

Matthias Tesi Baur

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