The Daily Edit – Sift: Julia Reed

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Sift /A King Arthur Flour Publication

Creative Director: Ruth Perkins/Tamara Dowd
Photographer: Julia Reed


How did the project come about for you? Were they a former client?
I was actually hired at King Arthur Flour as a PR Coordinator in 2013. My background was in film and photography, but I saw an opportunity to bring those skills to King Arthur through PR. I was working as a food and lifestyle photographer in LA before moving back east (I grew up in Vermont) and had planned to continue my business here. I never imagined I’d end up in a marketing department, but King Arthur Flour is a wonderful company, known locally for its charitable giving and status as a founding B Corporation. They aren’t, however, as well known for these things on the national level. I felt like good companies need good storytellers and advocates too, so I took the job. About a year ago, I was officially promoted to Multimedia Producer, where I concentrate on telling our story through photography, writing, and video.
As the content creator for King Arthur Flour, what other content are you responsible for?
Oh man, everything and anything! I do most of our “lifestyle” photography, for bakeries/people of interest nationally, as well as internally. Many of those shoots end up in Sift, some are for our blog, Flourish. I am a contributor to our instagram feed, and I run our video program, which is still a bit of a one-man show. At the moment I write, produce, shoot, and edit all of our videos.
Do you have a full time food/prop stylist?
We do! Jenn Whittingham oversees prop styling, and Charlotte Rutledge does our food styling – most of the shoots we do in our local studio are for the catalog, though increasingly they are for Sift as well. Our Creative Director Ruth Perkins oversees all studio photography for Sift. In the field, where I primarily work, we don’t always have the resources to hire additional stylists, though the chefs and bakers I work with help style the food. We do hire independent stylists for certain Sift shoots out of state, it just depends on the project!
Are you working out of their test kitchen?
Our test kitchen is very well equipped for testing, but doesn’t have the greatest light for photography. All recipes that we shoot in the studio (which also has a kitchen!) are thoroughly tested in the test kitchen first. But no, generally we don’t shoot there.
Where did you love of baking/food photography come from?
A deep appreciation for food is in my blood. My father was a chef and my mother was a baker; they met while working for the same restaurant. Growing up, everything we ate was made from scratch, and often from the garden. I never saw store-bought bread in the house, and we never went out to eat. Bones and vegetable scraps were saved, for building rich stocks that simmered on the woodstove all winter long. I vividly remember visiting my aunt in Boston when I was 13. She asked if I liked frozen waffles and I was SO excited to try them, because I had never had them before! I was seriously disappointed. We didn’t have much money when I was growing up, but my parents knew how to transform even the cheapest ingredients into rich and flavorful meals. I took my first job in a restaurant at 14 washing dishes, and worked my way up to waitress, and later, cook. I went to college in my early 20s, as a way to escape the restaurant industry – which is somewhat ironic in retrospect. In LA I started going to farmer’s markets – at first as a way to reduce my carbon footprint, but later because of my love for the people who grew my food. I felt such a strong connection with the farmers I’d see every week – their stories and personalities connected me to the land in such a real and tangible way. The experience brought me back to my roots, and eventually inspired my move back to New England. I started taking photos for farmers to use in their marketing efforts – it was my way of helping the community and people that meant so much to me. I started a short-lived blog, and began getting solicited for more food-oriented jobs. At King Arthur, I get to merge my two favorite styles – food and lifestyle. The bakers I work with remind me a lot of the farmers I knew in LA. The best ones have enormous passion for what they do, and an indefatigable drive to better their craft. Everyone comes to the table from a different direction, and for a different reason. When I photograph bakers for Sift, I always want to know what moves them to bake. Baked goods are as unique to their bakers as fingerprints are to people, and I like to photograph them as though I was taking a portrait of the maker themselves.
What are the biggest obstacles and highlights of this project?
The biggest challenge for me personally was the timeline. We moved fast on this project, so I found myself rushing to meet deadlines for the premier issue, while simultaneously trying to collect images that we might want for future issues (fall foliage for instance – it happens without regard for your schedule!) As a team, we wanted to make sure that we weren’t just putting another food magazine into a saturated (and some say declining) market. Authenticity is what makes our company what it is, and we wanted that to come through in the magazine – I think it did. Our creative director Ruth Perkins, and our Editor Susan Reid worked hard to weave stories from many writers and photographers into one cohesive set. With the help of our agency HZDG, they put together a magazine we are all incredibly proud to have our name on. Also, it’s SO soft! Have you touched the cover? It just feels so luxurious and inviting, I couldn’t be more honored to have been a part of this team.
Can other photographers contribute? If so do they contact you?
Definitely! Interested photographers can e-mail sift@kingarthurflour.com and your note will go directly to the editorial team.  For best results, we recommend the following:
–          Samples and/or link to your published work, please also include a list of where you have been published
–          What specifically you would be interested in doing (ex. writing or writing and photography)
–          What topics you’re most interested in writing about or photographing
–          Your full contact information (address, phone, e-mail, website)

 

Heidi Volpe

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