A few months back I shot the Carnivore restaurant for Joburg Style magazine with the slightly open brief of "Just try not to make it look gross". I half joke and paraphrase but Carnivore is a big restaurant that brings out huge skewers of meats of all kinds at a bewildering pace - photographing this was not going to be easy, especially for a style magazine.
The manager at Carnivore unwittingly had a lovely solution: sit down and eat and shoot as and when it pleases me. An idea I had no trouble in jumping on.
Sitting and enjoying the food as a guest would proved the perfect way to pace the shoot and prepare the plates. No food stylists in THIS kitchen! Just massive open fires hot enough to melt your shirt off if you walk too close. Luckily I happened to have an amazing food stylist on hand: Tallula aka my girlfriend. The waiters/slashers would come past with massive skewers of meats and slice onto our plates till we shouted STOP and then we got to tasting and arranging and plating and drizzling sauce over the crispy, still sizzling meat and venison.
I'm quite sure the other patrons thought we were barking mad, some Food-Instagramers taking it a little too far. I no one old lady was particularly intrigued as to why I painstakingly filled a plate with food only to go outside and put it on the floor and star waling around it taking photographs. The reason? There was some lovely slate stone outside I wanted as a background surface for that plate. Same reason I put the next one on the wooden floor near the window - nice wooden floor and great light equals winning. Yip, she and others thought I was completely bonkers. Which only made it more fun.
I also needed to get some shots of the space and the chef, both of which pleased me immensely as I love portraiture and decor as much as shooting food.
And lest I forget to mention some of the meats we ate: springbok, warthog, beef, pork, chicken, gemsbok and..... CROCODILE! (That's the pic below. Which, you guessed it, tasted like chicken...)
Finally, me and my girlfriend - both terribly full and happy - plonked ourselves back into the Sundowner seat on my Harley Davidson and we headed off home with exhausted taste buds and full memory cards.
If you are a carnivore, this place is lots of delicious. Just make sure you go hungry.