Photo Contest for Curdbox | June 2020

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We’ve just wrapped up our second photo contest, and it was just as much fun as our first month was. If you're only just tuning in now, the details basically are: five photographers try their hand at styling their curdbox, and we choose a winner! So, without further ado, let’s take a look at this month’s submissions for our Hillside Picnic box.

Scarlet Tang

Scarlet Tang, of Washington's Huckleberry Knits, had photos with luscious, deep colors—which makes sense when you see the same gorgeously pigmented yarns over on her Instagram (@huckleberryknits).

Photo by Scarlet Tang

This was our favorite photo of Scarlet's—with the cheeses and pairings plated, the bread sliced, and the wine poured, it captures an absolute picture-perfect way to enjoy June's box.

Alyssa Reinen

Alyssa's elegant fireside set up looked exactly like the kind of place we wouldn't mind spending an afternoon nibbling on cheese and sipping wine, and was able to capture the same sense of place that you can see over on her Instagram @alyssareinenphotos

Photo by Alyssa Reinen

Our favorite shot of Alyssa's had the decked out cheese plate front and center, with the otherworldly aqua fire pit glittering in the back.

Mariah Jackson

Mariah is a professional photographer, and, just like on her Instagram (@photosbymkj), her photos were bright and fun, and captured the different textures of the cheeses and pairings wonderfully.

Photo by Mariah Jackson

Our favorite photo of Mariah's was unique in all our submissions—the pairings laid flat against a bright white pattern, almost tessellated. We love it when our photographers really think outside the (curd)box!

Paulette Phlipot

Paulette is a professional photographer (@FoodAsArt) focusing on food and styling, and you could tell she was right in her wheelhouse with her photo submissions depicting a verdant, luscious spread.

Photo by Paulette Phlipot

The photo of Paulette's that we chose was her shot of the box adorned with greenery, lacy flowers, and wine that looks like it's glowing. To top off this gorgeous photo, there's the "our cheese, your place" top side of the box subtly framing the shot. 

Elizabeth D’Ascensao

Once again, it was not an easy choice, but in the end, this photo from Elizabeth D'Ascensao stole our hearts. (IG: @elizabethev)

Photo by Elizabeth D'Ascensao

The rosy hues, the gently knotted napkin, and the rounded plating made it so looking at this photo was like sinking into a soft, downy pillow. 

Interview with Elizabeth D'Ascensao

Note: The interview has been edited for clarity. 

Elizabeth D'Ascensao, June Contest winner

CB: Could you tell me a little bit about yourself—what's your background with photography?

Elizabeth: So I had a 10+ year career in nonprofit management, of all things, but my educational background is in fine arts and French. So, I’ve always had this thread of creativity running through all of the other things. But now I have two young children, so I freelance in content creation primarily for small beauty brands, in the nontoxic green beauty space. But I have a lot contract work that’s one-off, food in particular. So a little bit of everything. 

What do you shoot with?
For the photos that I sent you that was all iPhone, and that’s sort of been the trend that I’ve taken in the last two years—the best camera is the one that’s accessible and the one that you use all the time. That’s sort of my philosophy, and I definitely break out the big guns for shoots that require a DSLR, but again, just with chasing two little kids around, I always just have the iPhone right there, and it’s been a fun tool for me to transition to. 

What did you most enjoy about participating in this contest, and how did it inspire your styling?

I loved that it was set up as a hillside picnic, so thinking about what that might look like and how you would use the components of the curdbox to take on  a picnic , I think these days we’re all lusting over being outside and taking adventures, that it was nice to get into that headspace and think about what it would look like if we ventured out into the world in this climate and had space to have a picnic. So, thinking about something organic, something not forced, something casual, and fun.

Just in general I gravitate towards the minimalistic, bright, airy aesthetic, and in that way, for me at least, the mechanics—like which camera I’m using, which setup I’m using—always takes a backseat to that strong aesthetic. So I’m always happens when it resonates with other people, because for better or for worse, that’s what usually comes out of me!

What was the most challenging part?

So...I don’t eat meat, so when I saw there was sausage in the curdbox I thought, “oh no.” But I tried to remember that this isn’t just for me, this is for everyone, and to be a little bit more open-minded to that. That was the only part that really felt like a challenge.

Did you have a favorite photo?

Ooh, I think there was one on a white cheese plate, with the cheeses arced around the smear of dijon was just so perfect.

Photo by Elizabeth D'Ascensao

Which was your favorite cheese, pairing and combo? I guess it’s obviously not going to be the meat! 

The blue with the dijon, those flavors together were so great. But we’re big Jasper Hill fans, I mean the Moses Sleeper too—all of it was so good.

So this was really the box for you! You lucked out with the month we selected you for. So, is there anything else you'd like to add?
It was a really fun project, I’m grateful to have had the chance to participate.


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