Photo Contest for Curdbox | July 2020

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We're on a roll, with our third consecutive Curdbox photo contest (check out May and June). Quick recap: five photographers try their hand at styling and shooting the box, and we pick a winner! This month, our five photographers were working with our July Fruitful box, and we loved seeing where they went with it!

Nermina Saucier

Nermina and her husband Jon are behind Jon Saucier Photography and specialize in photographing family, kids, and weddings, but they could very well add a cheese section to their regular lineup. Their photos were clean, bright, and nicely composed on an elevated cheese board. 

Photo by Nermina Saucier (@jonsaucierphotography)

Our favorite photo had the Life's Grape Chocolate-Covered Vine-Dried grapes and a Maui Fruit Jewel in the foreground, with the rest of the cheeses and pairings in the backdrop.   

Monica Smith-Narke

Monica is a floral arranger, which may explain her particular attention to shapes and texture with her photos—we loved how she used the crimped paper from the curdbox in the mix. 

Photo by Monica Smith-Narke (@infullbloomfloral)

Our favorite photo of hers had the three cheeses in a row resting on a bed of crimped paper. The glean off the rind of the young Mimolette really shows off its subtle grooving, we feel like we can reach out and touch it!

Michelle Balingit

Michelle is a product photographer and blogger, whose thoughtful photos had the pairing in a bowl in the center with the cheeses placed around, all on a beautiful round, giving her shoot a soft and rounded feel.

Photo by Michelle Balingit (@ seymichelle

Our favorite photo from Michelle showed the three pairings together, and then with slices of the Idiazabal in the center, with each delectable morsel almost glowing in the warm lighting.  

Linda Hensell Fleming

Linda set up the cheeseboard in a few different settings in her shoot, but each photo popped with color.

Photo by Linda Hensell Flemming

Our favorite photo of Linda's had the cheese board brightened with fresh fruit on a bright blue blanket in a lush outdoor setting by a serene pool of water.

Kristin Saling—the winner!

It's never easy to choose an absolute favorite, but this month we awarded Kristin the grand prize. Our favorite shot of Kristin's had the burnished ruby pomegranate seeds from Trinity Fruit in a dish surrounded by the sliced cheeses and a trail or chocolate-covered grapes. She captured both the rich hues and different textures of of the pairings and cheeses beautifully here.Kristin is a food blogger at her site Homefront Cooking, and her photos showed nicely composed shots of the box ready to be plucked from the board and popped into your mouth.

Photo by Kristin Saling (@homefrontcooking) 

Interview with Kristin Saling

Note: The interview has been edited for clarity. 

Kristin Saling, July contest winner

How long have you been doing photography? Professional or in spare time? Did you have experience shooting food before?
Kristin: So I am a full on amateur hobbyist but I’ve doing it for a while. I think I took my first actual photography class in 2012. A friend of mine had gotten a camera for his wife as a present but had also gotten her a class. She was a little shy about going to do it, and she knew I was interested, so we both went and I ended up falling in love with it. In that class I met a food blogger and I thought this was a great idea, you have fun baking pretty food and taking pictures of it, so I picked it up as a hobby, and I still have a food blog. And the amount of attention I’m able to give it ebbs and flows based on my regular workload, but I just really enjoy testing out new recipes and playing with different ideas of how to present food, and playing with new photography techniques. And it’s become a really fun little release for me from all things work. But I’m still able to make to make things for my family try.

What do you shoot with?
I shoot a Canon 70D but I’m looking to upgrade. I usually shoot DSLR. I occasionally play around with my iPhone but I just like the ability to play with my depth of field and I like the solid feel of an actual camera in my hands, even though phones are so capable the days.

What inspired your style/styling?
I think one of the most basic and friendly and welcoming things you can throw out on your table when you’re entertaining is a cheese board. You just see them everywhere and you see a lot of different techniques for styling, but they say style it like you would if you were hosting. I just ended up making one for my family, but it is a way to show off how pretty some of the ingredients are. And invite people to come in and try different things either by themselves or in combination. But it was also the pomegranate seeds, it was such a unique ingredient that I wanted to build everything around it.

What did you most enjoy about participating in this contest?
So I looked back at the previous contests, and I just thought it was a fun way of seeing all the different ways people were celebrating some really fun and unique ingredients. When I do my blog normally I’m putting together recipes and it’s just as much about the recipe development and choosing ingredients to shoot. I just wanted to see what was in the box and what I could do with it, given it was a box of ingredients that was preselected, kind of seeing what they said to me.

What was the most challenging part?
Trying to stay true to the box and not going “Oh I’m going to add this, and throw in all these extra things.” But I think that’s hard when you’re shooting any kind of food or any kind of recipe, you’re alway tempted to add a bunch of things. But it bugs me when I see a food blogger adding a bunch of things to their pictures that aren't in the recipe. So, this is a good exercise to make sure I didn’t overcomplicate things that are already really pretty and really delicious with a whole bunch of extra stuff.

Did you have a favorite photo?
The pomegranate seeds spoke to me. I really liked the ones you talked about with the pomegranate seeds around it. I was also trying to figure out how to do a quick animation with the shut and open box. It was just fun to play with

Which was your favorite cheese and/or cheese combo?
There was a white creamy cheese in there that was just fantastic.

The fourmage?

Yes, that was gone almost immediately. I shared it with my toddler but was thinking “I don’t know buddy, momma’s feeling greedy here”

What about the pairings?
I tried them with the different pairings. And I don’t know, with all the pairings it’s fun how they bring out different flavors, but I also wanted to take each one individually and savor it because there were so many unique things in there. Oh the passion fruit jellies, those were just fun and went so well with so many of the cheese and it was so fun to see what flavors they brought out in each other.

Anything else you want to add?
That’s always a hard question!  It was just a really fun way for your brand to reach out. It is nice to have so many cool people in the online photography and food communities. A lot of them have been a saving grace in this craziness because we’re all so used to wanting to make and try food and host, and we can’t really do that right now, so it’s like, well let’s find another way to share our passion, and this has been a really great way for a lot of us to share in the great flavors that were in the box. And to have a little bit of celebration. It’s fun to go to your door and be like “oh a box! Oh it’s cheese, even better.”


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