"If you don’t like the way food looks, you can’t eat it"

Pau Esculies is a Spanish photographer based in Barcelona. His amazing eye for culinary art together with his sensitive perspective of colour and his capacity to highlight the natural beauty of ingredients are making him one of the most sought-after food photographers in the country. He has been kind enough to talk to this blog.

Pau Esculies photography

What made you go for Gastronomic Photography?
When I was a child I wanted to be a photographer or a cook. I feel attracted to the creativity and the artistic inspiration linked to both professions. I started to work in photography in general, advertising, interiors and decoration, and little by little I began to specialised in gastronomy.

Which is your favourite restaurant in the world?
I don’t need to go far... It’s in Girona, one hour from Barcelona. It’s el Celler de Can Roca (world best restaurant 2013), for their quality and excellence. I really admire them, and I identify with their phylosophy of tradition and modernity. I had the chance to go there regularly during the season to take pictures and to try their new creations even before they were served to the public!

You have been to many destinations very different as far as cuisine is concerned, Morocco, China, France... as a photographer, what is what you appreciate the most when travelling?
The experience of becoming part of a new place and being able to put myself in the local people’s shoes and sharing the authentic and popular foods. This allows me to take the most real images of the local cuisine. Moreover, in this way I can know the history and costumes of the place without visiting the historical and touristy spots.

Pau Esculies photography

Have you studied photography or are you a self-taught photographer? Are you a full-time photographer?
I learnt things at the Photography School IEFC in Barcelona, also working as an assistant for various photographers, and on my own. And yes, at the moment I work exclusively in photography.

Would you say that the appearance of food is really important?
Absolutely, I have no doubts. If you don’t like the way food looks, you can’t eat it, and the other way round works too. That’s what “holistic” cuisine is about. They also take this into account in the Asian cuisine, concretely in the Japanese, every food is served in a specific dish depending on colour, form,  texture, etc, it’s great!

Which are your influences or references in your work?
I am a consumer of cooking magazines and books, like Jamie Oliver’s, Food&Travel, Saveur, Elle à Table, Donna Hay, Descobrir Cuina or Marabout among many others. They are very inspirational, sometimes they surprise me and they give me many ideas for my photographs.

What did you feel when you became shortlisted for the Pink Lady Food Photography Award?
That I am not doing it so bad (laughs), and I also feel a great joy when I think that my work is recognised by great professionals at an international competition.

Have you always being an advocate of healthy food?
When I was a child, at home the basis of our diet was vegetables; locally produced natural products, we rejected the industrialised foods.
Currently I like to work in healthy cooking projects, with chefs and nutritionists that support a healthy and more conscious living. This way my work makes sense.

What’s what you take into account the most when you are creating a photograph? Are you a food stylist as well?
I like team work, the chefs and food stylists that I work with are the creators of the dishes, then I am responsible for taking a good picture in the best way so that it highlights the beauty of their creation.
I also like to go to the market and choose the products myself to then go back to the studio and setting up still lifes. Choosing the right product is very important to create a good photograph.
For me, a good photography is to make food looking delicious, tempting. Achieving that just by looking at it you want to eat it and you can almost smell it or feel it. That’s my job. 

Pau Esculies photography

What would you advice to somebody who wants to start a career as a food photographer? Do you work in other fields too?
I think that one has to do and pursue what they want and like. From there it’s just a matter of effort and being constant, then luck comes.
90% of my commissions are related to gastronomy, the rest are other projects like advertising images, interiors or portraits.  

Is Spain today the Mecca of gastronomy?
(Laughs), the Mecca sounds too much, I don’t think that just one place is the centre of the world gastronomy.
The Mecca may be not, but sure it is a global reference together with so many other places in the world.
Here there is El Celler de Can Roca, considered this year the best restaurant of the world, Adrià’s Bulli was a few years ago, then Carme Ruscalleda, who is the female chef with more Michelin stars in the world. And there are also innovative chefs in the natural and healthy cuisine, like Montse Vallory or Christine Mayr, together with the nutritionists of Etselquemenges.com.
It is fortunate to have chefs of this level here since we all profit from it.

Finally, which are your future projects?
Now I am focused on my current commissions, I guess these will lead to other projects in the future, it always works like that.
Therefore, I will keep on working; I really like my food photographer job and travelling, always trying to enjoy the little things in life.
I hope many high-quality international magazines, editorials and restaurants call me to publish with them and keep on working and travelling and doing interesting projects around food, healthy food if possible.

Pau Esculies photography

1 comment:

Couture Carrie said...

Fabulous interview and delicious pics!