Dark Food, Bright Drinks: Photography 2022 Winners

As consumers, fueling our bodies is essential, but we easily eat with our eyes first because sight has the biggest appetite to fulfill. Photography is one of the most effective mediums to do this, and in these two award-winning photographs, these photographers were tasked with making food and drink as delicious for the eye as for the stomach.

Dark Table” was photographed by American Graphis Master Laurie Frankel as a self-initiated piece, winning her a Platinum award. Styled by Alessandra Mortola and shot with a Nikon D850 camera with a 24-70 Nikkor lens, the photo is a direct illustration of the name, with a dark brown table in a dimly lit room. Upon the table sits a sparse meal of produce, with avocados, purple lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and root vegetables splayed out on a rough tablecloth. Accessories such as a pen, reading glasses, a wallet, and a half-filled water glass suggest human activity, like a person or two have just finished eating and left the table. The overall color palette is dark with blacks and browns, and even though the food provides pops of red and green, those too are dulled by the lighting, which gives the still life an almost blue tone. While eerie, the scene still feels intimate and romantic, with the food shining and standing out despite the darkness. A simple spread that calls the viewer to focus on the natural goodness of raw fruits and vegetables, it’s quiet and mesmerizing.

Perhaps hit most hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant industry as a whole has struggled to stay afloat these past few years. Unfortunately many places closed, while others are still looking for ways to bounce back. The Donnelly Group decided to draw people back with a drink photoshoot and tasked Canadian photographer Kevin Clark with saving their business. 

In the three photo series “Donnelly Group Promo” (above), inspiration was drawn from a series of pics from Donnelly’s marketing director Ben Turner – head designer Ricky Alvarez, development chef Sarah Stewart, and food stylist Jennifer Stamper helped in crafting the images and bringing them to life. The theme is an old casino and a Hollywood aesthetic, with sultry dark colors that add a more intimate feel to the space and life being brought in with plants and movement from the people pictured gambling and drinking away with the star on the table being the food. The olive green curtains are draped back as the mystery hand cuts into a delicious entree, adorned with vegetables and side dishes making the meal feel clean, expensive, and gourmet. These sexy and trendy food shots not only saved their restaurant but won Clark a Silver Graphis award. 

To view more award-winning work from our 2022 Photography Annual, click here. To enter our 2023 Photography Annual, click here.

Author: Graphis