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Quarantine Food Photography Portfolio

Photography work done during quarantine by the New York City Food Photographer Will Engelmann.

food photography in NYC
creative food photography new york city mens fashion inspired cocktail

I’ve been at home for the past month under the shelter in place order in New York City. It’s been a trying time but what’s kept me not only sane but also thriving is Art. As much as I’ve been heartbroken for my myself and my friends who own or work at now closed restaurants in NYC, it’s also been secretly rewarding to suddenly have all the time in the world to create Art with photography. I can wake up in the morning with nowhere to go and nothing to do other than to look around my apartment and let my imagination wander. Lie on the couch until an idea forms in my head. An old film camera that resembles a face and a straw. That’s enough to get my mind working and my hands setting up a makeshift photo studio on my dining room table. I say dining room but I live in a large for NYC apartment where my living room, dining room and home office are all one long room. A lot of the food photography work that I did at restaurants in NYC was almost always fast paced. It’s an electric atmosphere with people dining, waitresses carrying plates of food past me while I work, chef’s shouting from the kitchen. Each restaurant moves and flows with a life all their own and I Love it. But now suddenly I have the time. I can subtly move a light an inch to the left, an inch to the right. And if I’m not sure about something I can lay back down on the couch and think about it for a little while. As heartbroken as I’ve been I’ve also found a way to Love photography and Love what I do again. It’s my Silver Lining in these trying times.

"Art creates a fire inside of me that slowly grows bigger every time I pick up a camera."

photography studio in a new york city apartment

At home taking photographs in New York City.

Being a Commercial Photographer in NYC means creating work for others in their style and vision. Which in of itself can be rewarding but when creating So Much work for others an artist can lose their connection to their craft. Forget why they even ever wanted to be a photographer in the first place. And even at times feel trapped by it. Not loving what you do anymore but also having it be the one thing that’s sustained you through all these years. I’ve been a photographer for 20+ years and a professional photographer for 10+ and the thought of leaving it behind terrifies me. What would I do? I don’t have an answer for that but what I can say is that the more Art that I create the more hope I have for the future. Art creates a fire inside of me that slowly grows bigger every time I pick up a camera. And I couldn’t say that two months ago.

There’s not a lot of food in this portfolio because it is a quarantine portfolio. And in this time I was limited by what I could produce. All the “drinks” are actually just iced tea, and a lot of things had to be improvised or faked or rationed. But that’s the great thing about the creative process. Being limited forces you to think outside the box and come up with new imaginative ways to look at the world around you. And even if I didn’t make my masterpiece everything that I did, mistakes and all, inform every work of Art that I’ll make from this moment going forwards.

And yes I am obsessed with smoke and I Love it. It’s a metaphor for something but I honestly never put too much thought into it.