The Hands That Pick The Food That I Eat

At The Foodie Bugle we always keep an eye out for new posts in the Blog of food and garden photographer Jason Ingram, at We were not at all surprised that Jason was nominated as a finalist earlier on this year by the judges of the prestigious International Garden Photographer of the Year competition ( We found his series of six black and white photographs titled “The hands that pick the food that I eat” really thought provoking, poignant and moving. We wanted to know more about how he took these photos, who these hands belong to, where the food was picked, where Jason picks his own food and how he felt about being nominated as a finalist in one of the most coveted awards in the industry. Here is what he told us.

“The hands that pick the food that I eat” by Jason Ingram

The idea for these six photographs originated from an advertising shoot I was doing for a chain of garden centres for their “Grow your own” range.

The pictures were shot on a friend’s allotment and the child’s hands belong to the assistant I was using for the shoot. His hands also appear in the pictures. When stripping down a shot to focus on hands, the slightest change in hand position makes all the difference. Sometimes the shot can work perfectly with how someone picks up a bunch of asparagus or carrots, whilst at other times you find yourself spending more time arranging fingers etc. The image of the man and child’s hands worked perfectly and wasn’t actually a shot that was planned. This is often the way.

Unfortunately, not all the vegetables were in season when I shot this. I would have really liked this to be the case but in order to get the continuity in the images I needed to be out of season for some of the vegetables. I originally thought I would shoot this set over a period of a year so that everything could be in season but decided against it in the end as I was worried the shots wouldn’t hold together as well.

All the hands used, including the child’s hands, belong to growers and people that really understand the importance of growing their own.

The photographs were all taken outdoors with the minimum of props, as I wanted the images to be as raw as possible.

I shot the images on a Nikon D3X using a 60mm f2.8 macro lens. As the images had already been shot in colour for an advertising commission I knew exactly how I wanted these images to look. The set was inspired by a collection of work by the great photographer Tessa Traeger, who worked closely with French peasants and the food they produced. I wanted to evoke a similar feeling by working purely with the hands, showing the freshly picked produce as an extension to the people that had grown it.

The processing of the digital files was kept quite dark as I wanted to accentuate the texture of the hands and vegetables. Working in black & white allows you to concentrate on texture and form, if this doesn’t work the conversion from colour isn’t possible. I would still like to shoot a similar series on film and getting back in the darkroom to get my hands wet!

As a family we try to buy as much local produce as possible, I work with lots of local growers so will always try and shop there first. We are actually in the process of moving house and we have already worked out what we shall be growing to eat from our bigger garden.

We try and eat seasonally as much as we can, I love looking forward to food coming into season. I am just about to pop from all the fresh British asparagus we have been eating, it is absolutely delicious. We are striving to use supermarkets less and less. I really enjoy visiting Farmer’s Markets and artisanal producers. Seeing people so excited about food is wonderful, there are some truly gifted people out there doing the most amazing things, I am just so lucky that I get to meet some of them.

When I found out that I had been nominated as a finalist in the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition for 2011, I was very excited indeed. I didn’t think I would get a nomination at all, I thought the images may have been too dark for the judges.

Shooting black and white landscapes is what I do for my personal work, most of it is actually shot on an old Rolleiflex Twin Lens Camera using film. I really enjoy slowing the whole process down which is a real contrast to my normal working day. I would love to have a gallery at some stage.

These six images are going to be shown in several locations over the year as part of the International Garden Photographer of the Year exhibition and will also be available to purchase from my website. There will also be a limited edition print available of all six images together.

Contact Details

Jason Ingram Photography

Unit 2

Cotswold Road



E-mail: [email protected]


Tel: +44 (0)117 9663872

Mob: +44 (0)7967 272423

A member of the Association of Photographers.


Jason Ingram

Jason Ingram graduated in photography from Salisbury College of Art in 1992. After three years assisting and two years working as a photographic hand printer, Jason launched his freelance career. Based in Bristol, he travels widely photographing gardens, plants, food and people for magazines, books and design groups. He also works in collaboration with Toby Buckland, Carol Klein and Joe Swift on regular magazine features as well as providing the stills for BBC Gardeners’ World television series. His work has featured in many cookery, gardening and lifestyle books and magazines, as well as on advertising and online. Jason brings an individual approach to all his work, combining his passion for photography and the subject itself. To find out more about his work, visit Jason’s website: or follow Jason on Twitter @jasonphotos.

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