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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Career in Food Styling

By Pari Syal
Photography: Courtesy Saba Gaziyani


I can make food emote for the camera,” says Saba Gaziyani, food photographer-cum-stylist, based out of Mumbai, India. Capitalizing on the visual aspect of culinary art, she shares her insights with aspiring food stylists…

A graduate in Hotel Management from the illustrious IHM Mumbai, Saba Gaziyani chanced upon food styling as junior chef at The Leela in Mumbai way back in 1994.

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Going from strength to strength – she is the person responsible for a lot of visual appetizing that one gets to see at local eateries like Oh Calcutta, Gajalee and Domino’s chain of restaurants and the established brands like Venky’s Chicken, MTR, etc., - Saba has been instrumental in raising the bar for food styling across the country, especially in a scenario sans any formal study course in Food Styling as a vocation.   

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Combining the aesthetics of a good cook, with the artistic sensibilities of a good photographer, food styling has been turned into a full fledged career with more than 15 years of experience with the best in the industry and 500 films as a stylist. Saba’s foray into food photography in 2004 was a natural progression for one who had worked for more than a decade with some of the most respected photographers in India and abroad.


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Saba's studio in Mumbai, the only exclusive digital studio for food photography in India, is really her canvas. She excels by questioning stereotypes and reinventing set methodologies. “I believe as a food stylist and a food photographer, one should know their food well, if required, do a good research & experiment with your creativity." In conversation with IAnD:

·         What prompted you to pursue a vocation in food photography and styling? How different is this from culinary education?
As a Food Photographer I started in the year 2004. I was just a Food Stylist before that. Well I got bored of only styling and this seemed very exciting. I had picked up fine nuances of photography while styling so that helped. I can now create my own compositions the way I see it and am not dependent on anybody to ruin my imagery just because he or she does not know food well enough.

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Food styling is a natural culmination of good culinary skills. One has to be thoroughly knowledgeable about how to cook, how food behaves –both, aesthetically and scientifically, etc. So there is no difference; it is progression.

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·         Are there any particular courses that one can pursue especially in food styling?

No. No courses. The best way to learn is by paying a lot of attention to food science. Having a good aesthetic sense helps.

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·         What is your current pursuit - gourmet or food styling? Or both?

Positively both. I am also dabbling a little in recipe development...

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·         After 16 years in the field, what is that one thing you wish you could have learnt as a student, which should have been part of your syllabus?

I wish the colleges teach you Food Styling as a subject in itself. It is positively not something that should be picked up as an option when you don't get any campus placement...

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·         Two do’s and don’ts (each) that you could share with a student aspiring to pursue food styling?

Do’s: Cook a lot. Experiment a lot. Go beyond boundaries. Pay a lot of attention to what happens to your food at various temperatures...

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Don’ts: There are no short cuts. So don't think you can learn this in a jiffy just because you know to cook. Going through magazines helps... Keep your eyes, ears and mind open. Don't think that this is a high paying profession initially. Eventually, yes; the world is yours!
 

5 comments :

  1. May you consider this: http://food-design.arba-esa.be/fr/articles.php where I'm the coordinator and a professor as well
    or my own website: www.francoiselaskar.com
    If you please share it with your relations! Thx
    Francoise Laskar

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Saba, Thank you for such wonderful inputs. The pictures are great!!! I have recently started with a food blog ( infact, recently started entering kitchen after marraige :) hahah ). Do have a look at my pics... There is a lot to improve, yes...but ur feedback will be appreciated. Thanks !
    cookininpajamas.blogspot.com
    -Gauri.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for great info I was looking for this information for
    my mission.

    ReplyDelete
  4. hi saba i am very keen to know about if u teach food styling

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey nice post saba... the pictures are really great...Thanks for sharing.
    Food Styling done was really nice...

    ReplyDelete

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