How a Calendar Photographer Creates Portraits of Great Chefs

How do you come up with distinct, creative sets for several different chefs? For many of us, it’s hard to get past the idea of a typical environmental portrait of a cook standing in a kitchen. But photographer Martin Schoeller seems to have had no trouble creating imaginative sets for each of the great chefs he photographed for the 2014 Lavazza Calendar:

Playing into each culinary master’s personality, Schoeller not only developed unique sets, but he also added in elements of humor. For Antonino Cannavacciuolo, he recreated a fishmonger’s shop and added in a woman dressed as a mermaid. To illustrate Massimo Bottura’s intellect, Schoeller took his gear and crew to a library for the shoot. And to highlight the seemingly magical abilities of brothers Farran and Albert Adria, he developed a circus atmosphere.

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Schoeller relies on knowing his subjects. This helps him develop the perfect set. During each photo shoot, he strives to make his subjects feel comfortable. He does this by allowing for one-on-one connections with subjects. When subjects are comfortable, their true personalities show in their portraits.

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“I like to capture a kind of a playfulness that we all share.”

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