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Game Pies with Berry and Brockmans Gin Sauce

Game Pies with Berry and Brockmans Gin Sauce

Irina Georgescu
September 20, 2018
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This is a collaboration with the team at Brockmans Gin, who asked me to develop and photograph an Autumn recipe inspired by the botanical flavours of the gin, its intensely smooth taste, and by the brand positioning as mysterious, unique and adventurous.

The flavours of the gin are juniper berries, blackberries, blueberries, cassia bark, orange and lemon peel, coriander, liquorice, almonds, orris root, Angelica. They all go incredibly well with game meat, the season for game opening each October, hence the connection with Autumn and with comfort food. What can be more comforting than a hand-raised pie, nourishing, rich in flavours, accompanied by a tangy sauce to bring everything together?

I chose a heritage technique to make the pie crust, in contrast with the modern twist of the berry sauce. I was looking for dark, complementary colours that would highlight the berry and gin sauce, and bring the scene in line with the colour palette of the brand. I needed bold, minimalistic materials, as opposed to soft fabrics, in order to keep the focus on the hero elements.

As a food photographer, I only use natural light and my camera. In post-editing, my workflow is very brief, I adjust clarity, shadows and highlights. As a recipe developer, I base my work on natural, fresh ingredients, that can speak for themselves. I take my inspiration from my Eastern European background, especially from the rich influences of the Romanian cuisine, that I blend with British traditions.

The process for this artwork started with establishing the key messages (such as the key flavours, the strap-line 'Like no other'), with deciding the dominant mood (dark, deep shadows, black background, the direction of light, composition), selecting the right props and finally with the setting-up.

The second stage was the cooking, making sure that all the elements were according to my vision: the shine on the pastry, the texture of the filling, the colour of the sauce. While the pies were cooling, I did a test-shot, in order to lock in the best settings of the camera, and establish the final angle.

The third stage was the styling. Although I knew how I wanted them to look, I tried a few variations. Can you spot the blackberries on top of the three pies in the background? They were one of the versions. The requirements of the brief were to shoot landscape, portrait, with and without the Brockmans Gin bottle. I needed to make sure that I had all versions in place.

The forth stage was post-production, which I usually do immediately after the shot. Then, last but not least, I ate them! I never photograph food that I don't eat, in this way I make sure that no food goes to waste.

I was very happy to learn that Brockmans Gin loved the photos, and there were no amends. The recipe was received extremely well on social media and on the website. The pies were the right blend of traditional with modern, with a touch of inventiveness.

With every project that I do, I learn a little bit more. The first stages of any project are often more important than the actual shot. Therefore, attention to the structural elements of the work is key.

Irina Georgescu

Food photographer and recipe developer. I feel very strongly about exploring the world through food, understanding people through what they eat, and putting things in the context of history.

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