Growing up a food photographer’s son


Thanksgiving at our house was different I suppose.

Some years there were two Thanksgiving dinners. One was for the camera for a magazine. And one we could actually eat.

The first table setting looked great.  But there was shellac brushed on the turkey so it glistened. The first turkey wasn’t fully cooked, but a blowtorch was used to brown the edges and make the bumps on the turkey shrink. A syringe would pump mashed potatoes under the turkey skin so it would look plumper. They sprayed something on the vegetables and certain other foods to keep it looking fresh. Small wood blocks would sit under a casserole so it appeared to be higher in the dish. Thin fishice 2ing line would hold up certain items. Acrylic ice cubes were in in the water pitcher than ran about 85 bucks for each cube.

Fabric protector was sprayed on top of the yams so the butter wouldn’t sink in. Hot wet cotton balls were on the other side of the hot food so they gave off more steam. Other items on hand: tweezers to adjust this and that. Hemoststats to pick up and move little crumbs and stuff. Toothpicks made certain things face the camera. A few exposures later they took it all away and it was time to eat the real Thanksgiving dinner. I guess these days they just Photoshop everything…

Below is one of my dad’s photographs for Chivas Regal.  By the way, the acrylic slipper was made by a model maker just for this shot and someone stole it along the way.

Of course by the time the real meal came around we were all starving. It looked just about the same to us kids.  But we didn’t eat until it was checked and double checked that this was the real dinner. And trust me we listened.

Take it from a guy that has eaten cereal with glue in the milk and brushed his teeth with Brylcreem that came out of a tube of toothpaste.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to say a prayer for those loved one’s who are no longer with us. Everyone enjoy.

~Mike