Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Frittata

This is not a food blog – there are many excellent ones out there – but… I can see how it begins, after the frittata I made this week. We had some cooked sausage, and a trace of sauce, left over from a spaghetti dinner Gary made for the neighbors. I decided to make a frittata.

I had always used leftover pasta for making frittatas before (we have Italian night every Sunday so I sometimes have leftovers to work with). This time I decided to use the sausage, onion, and zucchini – and to use a new method. Instead of cooking it in a frying pan and flipping the frittata onto a plate to cook the other side, I tried Fanny Farmer’s recipe on page 343 of the 1980 edition cookbook.

It turned out great. Why did I always do that slippery plate-flipping technique when I could just cook it for five minutes in an iron skillet and finish it off for three minutes in the broiler?

Ingredients, in order:
Olive oil
Onion, 1 medium, sliced
Garlic, 2 cloves crushed and removed
Zucchini, 1 sliced
Eggs, 6
Parmesan cheese
Thyme, salt, and pepper
Tomato sauce, about 3 T.
Italian parsley
Sausage, sliced

You can see a list of my favorite food blogs on Photo Styling Workshops’ Link and Resources page.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ASMP Demo Day

I spent last Saturday styling at an event sponsored by ASMP’s San Diego chapter – a “Pro Workshop” featuring three different photo specialties, product, fashion, and sports. I worked with photographer William Morton, makeup artist Mary Erickson, and two models to demonstrate a fashion shoot. The description:
Fashion Photography with William Morton
William demonstrates his experience working with models to highlight fashion (as well as the model). Different styles of fashion will be highlighted, with a demonstration of the effects on different fabrics and textures. A professional makeup artist and a stylist will discuss their inputs to the finished product, and how the team works together to achieve the look the designer demands.

I found two dresses that would be challenging to light to make William’s life more difficult. Could it be any more difficult? Yes, everything that could go wrong…

First two models cancelled the day before. When he started setting up his segment, first one light blew out, then the backup light blew. The projector refused to work with his computer. It went on and on. The group broke early for lunch and eventually things worked out. All this is, I think, a more effective learning situation than a shoot that goes smoothly. The lighting, version three, beautifully lit the fabrics, the audience stayed interested, looking back and forth between the set and the image projected on the wall seconds after it was shot and we were all able to demonstrate what we do. And William kept his cool and made the point that you always need backup equipment on a photo shoot.

Photos courtesy of Wayne Richard and William Morton

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Thoughts About Decades

Greetings from 90210! Here is the postcard I was looking for in my "archives" when I wrote the post about the 1990s. Quite a relic. Is it valuable?

While I’m on this decade subject, I have a few more thoughts. Actually I may return to the topic as this passage of time and culture is fascinating to me. You know you’re older when you start thinking of your life in decades instead of years.

Anyway, it seems that the transitions of the decades are more likely to occur in the middle of the decade than the end. For example the first half of the 1960s was massively different than the second half. We went from teased hair to long hair. From Mod fashions to long Indian dresses. From longing to get married to being free. (Contrary to common opinion, though, many young people throughout the 60s were getting married and living very “straight” lives, working for IBM, or joining the military voluntarily.)

1965 seems like a real transition for the decade, just as the 1970s progressed from the post-hippie era when it was harder and harder to be “unique” to the disco era in the second half of the decade. With that in mind, what really did happen in the 80s and 90s. Any thoughts?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Venice Beach: Roller Skating Capital of the World

On a trip to Santa Monica (our old hood) my husband I perused a pictorial history book on Venice, CA. Since we both had lived there and I spent many happy days roller skating on Venice Beach these “historical” photos are always of interest.

In the late 1970s everyone was skating and Venice was proclaimed (by the mayor of LA anyway) to be “the roller skating capital of the world.” I was right there in this historical fad, spending my days skating in shorts and knee pads (after a nasty fall), my long, permed, blond hair flying in the wind. This was me.

I waitressed at night at Snooky’s, the jazz club where I met my future husband Gary Cox, slept till noon and then skated to breakfast. I was fit! It is so interesting to be a baby-boomer and participate in all the trends of my era. A living cliché – but loving every bit of it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Salary Comparison

I found a site that claims to provide the latest salary information for just about any job title in just about every city in the U.S. It is at, a job search site. Typing in "Photo Stylist" for Los Angeles, CA I find that the average salary is $44,000 a year. How does it know? I suppose it searches through all the data with the key words and comes up with the relevant salary. I tried "Food Stylist" for the same area and found that to be $59,000. Since we mostly freelance it's tough to say what a "salary" is but it's still fun to experiment with this site.

Here's the link to Photo Stylist in LA, as a starting point: What do you think? Is it accurate for your market?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Harper’s Bazaar August Cover

I love this cover! When I first received the magazine I liked the color, mood, dress, and composition. But then I thought, wait a minute! Did Kate Winslet really suspend herself at a great height like that? Would they let her do it? What a risk! Not that celebrities have more value than the rest of us. I keep staring at it.

The photographer is Peter Lindbergh and Fashion Editor is Aleksandra Woroniecka. (I think the cover may have been used only on subscription copies – sometimes I see other covers on the magazines in stores.)

Showing the cover around, I ask if other people think that shoot really happened. Most scoff and say, no, they shot that in a studio. I decided to look at the magazine’s Website and see if I could get the real story. The image was there but not the true story. I know from the other photos in the Kate Winslet story that there was a photo shoot in the same weather in Manhattan. But that’s all I know. Behind-the-scenes information is so much fun isn’t it? How do you think the cover shot was done? Add comments below.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Assemblage Workshop Weekend

I just spent the best weekend attending a workshop in Assemblage, led by San Diego artist Susan Osborn. It was especially great because I have been denying myself the pleasure of doing art - I am always working on Photo Styling Workshops, getting ready for my fall college class, our September Food Styling and Photography Workshop, my new book, or something...

For two days I just got to put materials together, gluing, drilling, and cutting with a dremel. Here's a box of nearly finished projects which will be finished next weekend. I'll post finished shots of them and then spend hours updating my artist site, but at least it's art.

Assemblage art arises from "the placement of multiple objects, which may be modified, in a way that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Found art is dfferent in that the artwork is created by using objects that are not normally considered to be art.

To visit Susan Osborn's site: and blog

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

St. Barbara's Dress

I just love the fabric in this dress. Just looking at every crinkle and fold in this garment, as the artist (Jan Van Eyck) drew them excites me! Is it not gorgeous?

This week I started working on the photographs for my next book, on Off-Figure Styling. I've been in the studio with my photographer Siobhan Ridgeway and assistant Cedric Chang, documenting every single step in creating the perfect laydown of, for example, a pair men's shorts. With a fine art background I look more at the fine details of fabric than the whole fashionable ensemble, whether I am looking at a photograph or styling it myself.

When I've been working on off-figure styling I find myself arranging the drape of every bit of fabric around me: the couch, the bed linens, my T-shirt, can't help it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blog Video Blog Video

I am having a blast blogging and creating new videos! There is this blog (Photo Styling Forum) and my new blog (The Invisible Stylist) which I suspect is too much confusion. I will likely merge them both into The Invisible Stylist soon! And then the thrill of making videos and uploading them to YouTube, which I have recently discovered. I placed two How-To videos for stylists on YouTube recently. These are the ones produced by photographer Jim Scherzi of Syracuse, NY: Toolkit and Rolling Rack. I think they're kind of fun and funny.
And here's the newest one, a promo about our Food Styling and Photography Workshop which will be held in San Diego September 26-28. For more details or to register visit Photo Styling Workshops! (Entry moved from Photo Styling Forum blog.)

Truly International Classes

They always say that the best thing about the World Wide Web is that you can reach people around the world as easily as around the corner. That was certainly true in the March 24 session of Everyday Food Styling presented by Photo Styling Workshops. The students were from:
Nova Scotia, Canada
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Shanghai, China
Kobe-shi, Hyogo-ku, Japan
Erwinna, PA
New York, NY

What's more, I was working on my laptop in Indonesia and then Hong Kong, processing their registrations!

Everyday Food Styling is our 4-week food styling techniques class enhanced with videos on Vimeo. These are accessible only to current students and demonstrate the special techniques that food stylists use "everyday" on the job. The instructor Lisa Golden Schroeder emails the students a written PDF lesson each work and access to the videos so that they can learn at their pace. There is a Class Gallery where the students can upload their assignments and receive feedback from Lisa on their work. They also benefit from viewing the work and comments of other students in the class.

One interesting aspect of this class especially was the search for products stylists use, like Kitchen Bouquet, for darkening sauces and meat. Lisa helped by encouraging the search for comparable products available at the local marketplace. Generally we offer a telephone conference call near the end of our courses for asking questions and sharing information but this class couldn't find a convenient time for all of them!

Other international students who have participated our styling classes have hailed from Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Venezuela, Nigeria, Finland, Phillipines, and Spain. The coursework is only provided in English but we have been considering a translation into Spanish. If this interests you - or if you are a Spanish-speaking stylist who could help with student comments please let us know!
(Photos above, Asian Perspective of World Map, showing our students and customers; Green Salad from Anthony Francis Antao)
Reprinted from Photo Styling Forum, May 3, 2009