Moving from farm to lens, the photographic journey of Patrick Tregenza has been nothing short of inspiring. His work not only captures the results of hard work and the dedication of laborers but also showcases the exquisite tables these foods gracefully adorn. Hailing from California’s agricultural heartland, Patrick’s upbringing and deep connection to this area have indelibly influenced his craft. Join us in this visual journey as we explore the seamless fusion of his agricultural roots and vibrant still lifes in his Photography 2023 Gold award-winning project, “COLORES.”
By: Patrick Tregenza
Throughout my 30+ year career, I’ve always strived to grow, explore, and try new things. Being in a small market and mostly shooting food for the Agriculture Business, the need to stay relevant is self-driven and doesn’t come from client requests or the need to stay ahead of the competition. I send out a calendar yearly to clients and potential clients, usually pretty food still lives or tractors in fields.
They’ve been outtakes of shoots throughout the year, but I thought I would create something from scratch specifically for the project this year. The result is 12 images of fruits and vegetables shot on saturated primary-colored backgrounds with one hard light source.
I chose the subject first by visiting farmer’s markets and boutique grocers and letting the product find me. Then, I would play with different surfaces and background colors with the goal of finding as close to the opposite color of the subject as possible so it would really jump off the page.
The calendar was well received, and since I had a new crop of artistic photos, I entered them in a few contests. Some of the images made it into the American Photography 39 annual award book, the Graphis Photo Annual with a Gold Award, and a best-of-show with the APA. This has all been very rewarding and piqued my interest in doing more fine art images as my commercial career starts to wind down.
Salinas has given us Steinbeck, salad, Rodeo pronounced wrong, and, well, Patrick Tregenza. A second-generation Monterey County native, he ventured westward to the Monterey Peninsula and discovered that it’s pretty much the same but smells different. He decided to stay anyway, though he never forgot his roots, and so, to this day, he is able to identify almost any vegetable field at 60 miles per hour. Having found out early on that jazz drumming may not be the most secure way to make a living, he shifted his focus to commercial photography. Given his upbringing in the salad bowl of the world, Patrick’s pursuit of clients in the Agriculture Industry seemed like a no-brainer. His bread and butter jobs are sometimes literally bread and butter (or meat and potatoes) but are most often foods we were told to eat as kids. Salinas is still the lettuce center of the universe, as it has been since Cal and Aron fought for their father’s good graces, and Patrick still does his best to entice us all to eat healthier.