Photography was always an important part of my teenage years and in my early 20’s I decided to became a professional photographer.
I studied at a private photographic college called C.E.V. (Centro de Estudios de la Imagen) in Madrid, Spain. When I finished my studies I worked in different places: firstly I worked for a movie magazine as a photographer, taking pictures, processing and printing them in a home-made studio at home. Then after that I started working in a studio laboratory and finally, at the age of 24, I moved to Milan in Italy and worked as an assistant for two years for Roberto Dri, a food photographer, before venturing out on my own as a professional still life photographer.
At the very beginning of my career it was very hard to make a living and now I think the profession has become even more competitive. At the beginning there were long, empty gaps between one job and another, hence I started to paint art work in between photo jobs. I am still painting today.
My first career break came when I started working for Conde Nast in Italy, and I was commissioned by various magazines in their company including Casa Vogue, Vogue Gioiello, Uomo Vogue, Vogue Pelle and Vogue Sposa.
Despite my starting off in the world of fashion photography, I enjoy food photography the most. Ever since my early days I have stayed attached to food photography and I think I always will.
In my work I have been most influenced by Roberto Dri, whom I worked for as an assistant. I also admire the work of Man Ray, Irving Penn, Anny Liebovitz and Javier Vallhonrat, just to mention a few out of many.
Generally, when I arrive at a food shoot there is a team of people that collaborate on the day. I do work with different light sources but I tend to create my own lighting, ambience and effects, giving the images my own personal touch. Food photography is such a vast field, encompassing a huge body of work ranging from rustic to contemporary. It’s a mixed bag of individual ideas.
In the future I would love to work for a travelling food project or for a another cookbook publishing company such as my latest project, the William Curley ‘Couture Chocolate’ book published by Jacqui Small, which won The Guild of Food Writers Cookery Book of the Year Award in May 2012.
My plans for 2012-2013 are to focus more on the food industry. I do enjoy working away from home, in London (my home for the last 16 years), and I hope I can do more of it.
I enjoy cooking and eating fresh local produce, preferably organic. I go to health food stores, farmerss markets and local shops. I became vegetarian two years ago and I usually eat vegetarian food at restaurants such as Mildred’s, Princi, Vantra and Govinda in Soho or Food for Thought in Covent Garden.
If I had to give advice to a young person looking to enter the field of photography as a profession, I would say that you will need to be very focussed and make it part of your everyday life. Eat, breathe and sleep photography all of the time. Take as many pictures as you possibly can and give yourself specific projects to work on. Believe in yourself and all that you do.
Jose Lasheras: www.joselasheras.com