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This assignment ran from Nov 1 to Nov 29, 2013.

What does the landscape of food look like in your world? What's a typical food scene? How do the people you know gather around food? How do they share meals?

Food ways offer one of the most profound insights into a culture: how foods migrate to a region, how they are used, what foods celebrate certain life events and times of year. Food and the moments that surround it are an incredible way to dive into a community and discover stories and real human moments.

Food is what connects all of us; it is the single most powerful element that we all share no matter our culture, ethnicity, geography, or class. It is the great connector. More...

Curated by:

Penny De Los Santos
Food & Travel Photographer
Assignment Status
  • Open

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  • Closed

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  • Published

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Published Dec 11, 2013.
Thank you for your contributions!

Parting Words of Thanks

Posted nov 27, 2013

Dear Photographers:

I was really excited to extend the assignment another week. Although I've been shooting a huge book project these last few weeks, I've spent every spare minute I've had looking through your photos.

It was inspiring to see, from all over the world, images of how culture and food connect. Thank you all so much for working hard and putting your images out there for the world to see. The only way to grow as a photographer is to take risks, constantly put your work out there, seek honest feedback, and, of course, practice—all of which are what this community is all about.

Some of us tomorrow will sit down to a traditional meal and give thanks to all that is good in our lives; for me personally, I will gather with a small group of family and friends and be grateful for how full this year has been for me, and also for this Your Shot community. You all have reminded me what it means to try, to have a yearning to grow and a desire to be better at what I love, all of which are awesome things to hunger for.

In my closing comments to you all, I send you off with the best wishes for continuing in your passions and with what makes you happy with your photography.

What I have learned on my own photography path is that it's a journey with many unexpected turns, but that the true artist enjoys that journey and not the destination.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. It has been an honor,


One Week Extension

Posted nov 21, 2013

We've decided to extend the assignment by one week and increase the assignment quota upload by one photo. How could we possibly close an assignment about food a week before the biggest food holiday in the United States? So take my feedback to heart and let's see what an extra week brings.

I look forward to spending another week with you!

A Sense of Story

Posted nov 20, 2013

Dear All:

I want to give you some final thoughts on what it means to be curious and inspired behind the camera.

Photography has always been my way into people's lives, whether they're a family sharing a meal in the Mediterranean, a group of farmers harvesting grapes in northern California, or the elder ladies of a Sicilian village drinking wine and cooking. Like so many photographers before me, my passport has been the camera.

This assignment, Foodscapes, was my way of asking you all to see what's at the crossroads of food and culture. My wish for you is that the subject inspires you to see how evocative it can be to discover and delve into a culture through its foodways.

Shooting food is so much more than showing what's on the plate: It's about everything that surrounds it, especially the connections that happen before, during, and after the meal. That is what inspires me about food photography. Those are the images that leave me with a sense of story.

In the final days of this month, as those of us in the U.S. sit down to celebrate the Thanksgiving meal, I hope you will think about what foodways look like in your part of the world, through your lens.

I want you to remember that no matter the subject, the best images are always grounded in a moment. If you can find nice composition, light, and color, then great. But for me, the arresting element in any photograph starts and ends with a moment. If you look at my Editor's Picks section, you will see that idea again and again.

A moment makes you feel something. Think about that as you put your camera to your eye in the next few weeks.

Thank you for joining me here. I have been inspired by so many of your images. It's always moving to see the world from different, unexpected perspectives. Your images have made me want to pack a bag, grab my camera, buy a plane ticket to anywhere, and photograph. Thank you all for being so willing to share your images here in this space.

Energy & Emotion

Posted nov 8, 2013

I am really enjoying all the images that have been posted for this assignment on foodscapes. I've managed to comment on some of the photos and have "liked" several. I wanted to take a minute to elaborate and give you a little more guidance on what you should be thinking about as you continue to work on this assignment.

When I think about the idea of foodscapes, two things come to mind. First, I want to be where the action is, where the energy in a scene is most intense—that's where I want to physically stand. And when I'm there, I want to wait with my camera to my eye. I am waiting for a moment. Maybe it's fast-moving cooks in the kitchen slinging pans and yelling out orders, or maybe I'm on a step stool hovering above a table scene to show the crowded table and hands grabbing for bowls and plates. My point is, put yourself physically where the action is—not ten feet away from it, but right in front of it. Go there and show me what it looks like.

The second thing I think about is, How does this scene feel? Think about that when you're shooting—how does it feel? Is it chaotic? Is it empty, lonely, happy, sad? As a photographer you should be trying to capture whatever that feeling is, and it should be revealed in the image you make. Think about the creative devices you can use to create mood in a photograph: lighting, motion, shadows, details, emotion, etc.
This is one way to start to elevate your skills as a visual storyteller. When you can capture emotion and feeling in an image, you as a photographer have elevated your skills.

These two ideas take time to develop, but practice makes perfect, so this assignment is a great opportunity to start.

I hope to see more emotion and feeling in your foodscapes and hope that you'll take me where the energy in a scene is most intense.

I can't wait to see what you come back with …


Posted oct 31, 2013

How do you gather around food? What moments happen when you sit at the table?

Show me the people and culture around the cooks who make a meal. Show me what the food landscape looks like in your world. Show me your food stories and scenes.

For this month's assignment, we are looking for photos that show the connections between the food we eat, the gathering spaces we create, and the people who connect us.

What are the images that show how these connections happen? What makes them revealing, unique, and evocative?

Penny De Los Santos

Penny De Los Santos

Food & Travel Photographer
Penny De Los Santos, an American born in Europe with a family history tied to the Texas-Mexico border, began photographing as a way to explore her diverse cultural background and identity. At the heart of her work is the culture surrounding food, from the all-male dining clubs of the Basque country to Jerusalem’s most besieged markets. The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, she has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and to over 30 countries for projects and magazine assignments.