Interview with Søren Gammelmark

Søren Gammelmark , Danish Food Photographer, talks about “life after the FOODPHOTO FESTIVAL”

Please tell us about how you entered into Food Photography and how your work in it evolved?

 When I was about 14-15 years old, I knew that I wanted to become a photographer. At that time I thought that press photographer was what I wanted to be. Probably because my father was working at a newspaper and my brother was studying journalism...

I went to different schools and worked in a photo store, selling cameras and films, shooting portraits and weddings, just to pay for my own cameras and films...In the autumn of 2000 I visited a food photographer for the first time. All of a sudden it was clear to me that this was what I wanted to do! In the beginning of 2002 I finally got a trainee job, working for a food photographer.

In the early 2006 I finished my education and started working as a professional photographer. The first year I worked for another photographer, but in 2007 I decided to start my own business. With the financial crisis just around the corner, I was off to a slow start. But I worked steadily, increasing the number of clients, and now I can't complain.

I have had the privilege of working with great chefs, in Denmark and most of Europe. I have shot several award winning cookbooks and commercial campaigns.

I have my studio in Aarhus, but I often pack up everything and go where the client wishes.


When did you visit the FOODPHOTO FESTIVAL and what made you decide to make the trip to Tarragona?

I heard about the FOODPHOTO FESTIVAL, and saw that I would have a chance to meet art directors and other potential clients at the portfolio reviews. On top of that the festival would give me a chance to participate in some fantastic workshops.

As my goal was clear, as it still is: "I want to be one of the best". I saw this as a great opportunity to learn from others, and get new inspiration. Therefore I decided that the FOODPHOTO FESTIVAL was well worth the travel, and was not disappointed!


What did you find valuable about the festival and what not?

At the Festival I got tons of new inspiration, meeting colleagues from around the world, seeing their pictures and the way they work.I attended all the workshops that I could fit in. Only problem was, too many workshops in too little time. So attending one workshop meant that I could not attend another workshop.

I found the workshops were very inspiring and everyone was open and willing to share experiences. No secrets, no magic behind the black curtain, this was for me a great way to learn new tricks, and improve my skills.

Because I had filled up my time with workshops I did not attend more than one seminar. But the one I attended was important and very helpful: "Coffee or New York" with Peter Steiner (art director at Der Feinschmecker). At this seminar Peter Steiner was telling about portfolio optimizing, how to organize a portfolio and optimize it for the client you are visiting.

The day after I had a portfolio review with the team from Der Feinschmecker, obviously I had optimized my portfolio to this meeting. Shortly after I started working for Der Feinschmecker.


How did it influence your work opportunities up until now?

As I was already well educated and working professionally, what I got from the festival were tips and tricks, and inspiration from other photographers. These things added to my knowledge helps me to create the work that I am proud of. The little details is often what makes a huge difference in food photography.

Working for a magazine like Der Feinschmecker, gives me a chance to show off my work to all the readers, and to work with many interesting chefs. I would not have had this chance, if I had not taken the trip to Tarragona and showed my work to Peter Steiner and his crew.


What would you recommend to other photographers to take full advantage of the FOODPHOTO FESTIVAL experience?

Read the program, find out what workshops interest you, what seminars would you like to attend, and then start planning, go to as many workshops as you can, you might think that you know all there is to know about the subject, but go anyway!

If you know most of what is said and shown at the workshop, try out something new, see how others work, it might not be much you learn, but maybe just one or two new tricks, that will come in handy one day...

Seize this chance, worst thing that can happen is for you to find out that you already know it all.

Do not be shy, show your work to other photographers and hear what they have to say, see their work and be inspired, the more open you are the more you will get in return.