Monday, December 17, 2012

Garden and Gun Shoot - American Grocery - Greenville, SC

It's funny to me when talking to my friends in Tennessee and South Carolina how they write Florida off from the confederation of southern states. To many, Florida is the vestigial appendage that doesn't quite fit in with the others. There's probably some truth to that with all the northerners who have come down in their later years, but I always took a little offense. With latitude aside, I grew up with Southern Living magazine on our coffee table, bronze pineapples on the front door which I would always hold open for my mom or any other females that walked through, and I'm pretty sure there were a few monogramed towels laying around the house as well. So why weren't we part of southern club?

Sure, there's some dirty history with the South, but there's also a lot of rich culture and tradition so I felt a little shafted knowing I was left out of that group. Then, miraculously, in 2007 a magazine called Garden & Gun hit the newsstands, highlighting southern culture from Virginia to the Bahamas, including Florida, and we were all suddenly part of the same coalition of states that reveled in food-coma-inducing cuisine, outdoor recreation, and bootleg culture. I loved this magazine, maybe in part because it venerated me but also because that southern pride showed through every aspect of the publication. With heavy stock pages, beautiful photography, and soulful writing, Garden & Gun quickly became one of the hottest magazines in the US during their first year.

From that moment on, I've always wanted to shoot for Garden and Gun. Their stories are compelling, the imagery iconic and original and their pages swell with pride for this intangible thing we all call southern. A few weeks ago I finally had a chance to lend my camera to their magazine and I'm hoping this will just be the start to a long lasting relationship. Here are a few photos from the shoot at American Grocery during the Harvest Dinner in Greenville, South Carolina. For more images, though, you can go to the website and browse the event here: Autumnal Harvest Dinner

In terms of photography, it was a tough shoot. Low light and lots of movement made the event difficult to cover. I managed though with two camera bodies: Canon 5d mkii and Canon 7d. One of the bodies worked a 50mm f/1.4 and the other a 70-200mm f/2.8, an overall good combination for these sort of shoots. I also used a strobe to add fill by bouncing off the ceiling. While certainly it's a break from the normal natural history images, it's fun to keep the creative brain fresh and challenged and hopefully this event will lead to something bigger. You just never know.