An Interview with Hungry Foodography

i-NJFD is proud to have partnered with our friends at Hungry Foodography.  For two years in a row, Hungry Foodography has shared with us their mouth-watering portraits of food to inspire healthy eating worldwide.

Marko and Željka Dušak are the founders of Hungry Foodography.  This husband and wife photography team has mastered the art of food.  Their crisp, bright and moving images prompt an almost insatiable desire to eat healthy for 1 day and every day!    

Marko and Željka Dušak - founders of Hungry Foodography

Marko and Željka Dušak - founders of Hungry Foodography

 

Marko shared with us a little bit about how Hungry Foodography began and his thoughts about the i-NJFD initiative.

1) When did you start Hungry Foodography and why?

My wife, Željka, and I started Hungry Foodography in December 2014.  I enjoy eating food, and I know how to cook.  I also know how to identify good food when I see it.  I fell in love with photographing food, but developing the skill took some time.  I was a wedding photographer for over ten years, and I started taking photographs of food as a hobby.  Željka would prepare and arrange food, and I would take photos informally, not professionally.  Gradually, our hobby became Hungry Foodography.   

2) Your photographs feature food in all stages from its preparation to the time it is served.  The food is often raw, being cut, cooking, and plated.  You work in an amazing kitchen and own a unique collection of kitchen utensils and tools.  Talk to us about how you developed your studio.   

I came up with the idea of creating a vintage grandma’s kitchen to serve as a backdrop for the photographs. Željka and I spent time gathering the equipment we needed to achieve the look we were after.  We bought a vintage refrigerator and a stove through an ad, and had them varnished.  I found chairs, tables and kitchen cabinets at an old furniture store, and the owner had them redone to achieve the vintage look.  When I photograph a chef for an interview or event, I now have in my studio a beautiful vintage background and everything I need to accomplish a sharp, hunger inducing shot.

A few months ago, we hosted a cooking event in our studio.  We invited some of the best chefs in Croatia - specifically:  Gregorio Mannucci, Priska Thuring, Pero Savanovic, Kristijan Matijevic, Martin Karabajic, Sanja Sajko,and Villiam Gasparini.  We brought in fresh and healthy ingredients, and everyone had to cook something using only those ingredients.  Mostly they cooked Mediterranean dishes, which - as I explain below - is typical Croatian fare.  Having this amazing kitchen made an event like this possible.  To see photographs of this event, click here.    

Top Croatian chefs get cooking at Hungry Foodography's studio

Top Croatian chefs get cooking at Hungry Foodography's studio

3) How did you learn about photographing food?

First, I bought several books on food photography.  I had to learn about light set up and the art of arranging food in a beautiful way. I’m a big fan of the Chicago food photographer Stephen Hamilton, and his “Who’s Hungry” magazine became a great source of inspiration to me.  When I look at attractive photos of food, I always play with the lighting set up in the studio to try to achieve the same effect in my work.

4) For you, what has been the biggest challenge with photographing food? Also, what do you love most about it?

The biggest challenge for us is arranging the food – a good photo of a badly arranged dish won’t look delicious.  The process of getting an attractive photo of food that makes people hungry as soon as they see it requires patience, creativity, and preparation.   

Through my foodography, I tell the story behind the dish from start to finish.  I want food to be seen naked, in its raw state.  I then capture how it is prepared, seasoned, and cooked.  Finally, I feature how the food is arranged on the plate.  I love telling these stories and capturing the joy, hard work, and effort that go into preparing fresh food.   

5) What are your thoughts on “junk food” and food generally? Why do you support i-NJFD?

Junk food, to me, is food with artificial additives, such as packaged food that isn’t fresh.  Food at fast food restaurants, like burgers and fries, are also junk food.  To me, the same food is not junk if I prepare it fresh at my home.  When I cook at home, I buy quality matured beef or steak, I use plenty of organic vegetables and other ingredients, and vine olive oil.  I believe that the quality of the food we eat is important because eating meat that has been processed cheaply or inexpensive packaged foods are not nutritious or healthy.

Before I started photographing food I didn’t know much about vegetables or different cooking equipment - like cooper dishes, cast iron pots and grills.  Chefs that we have met have taught us many new recipes, made with vegetables and other healthy ingredients.  Through Hungry Foodography, we started eating healthier because we started preparing more vegetables and fresh ingredients at home.    

Food in Croatia is very important.  It is a tourist country with beautiful coasts and seas.  We are partially a Mediterranean country, so our food is also heavily influenced by the Mediterranean diet.  We eat plenty of fish, pasta and tomatoes, like nearby Italy.  We also eat truffles, mushrooms, and grilled meat, like burgers and steaks.  We usually use extra virgin olive oil and we like to drink good wine.  There are many famous wine makers in Croatia.  We also produce great prosciutto and goat cheese.

Hungry Foodography promotes healthy eating every day through photographs of fresh food.  I have been inspired to eat healthier through this work.  I believe that through i-NJFD, people from across the globe can learn from one another about what is healthy food.  Photographs especially can help communicate what foods are healthy  - we can break language barriers through food photography.  In this way, Hungry Foodography is part of this movement for healthy eating awareness across the globe.  

We are proud to support and promote the i-NJFD initiative to eat healthy on March 30 and beyond!

You can view Marko and Željka’s work at - www.hungryfoodography.com - click here to visit their website!