Spotlight Interview … Food Photographer Jackie Alpers

JRP: After viewing Food Photographer Jackie Alpers website she has become one of my inspirations. Jackie has been kind enough to join us here at JRP Blog. Thank you Jackie for sharing time with us.

Jackie Alpers: My pleasure! Thanks for inviting me.

JRP: Jackie where do you call home? How did you get your start in photography and is there any formal training in your background?

Jackie Alpers: I’ve lived in Tucson, Arizona for 18 years. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio and was lucky enough to be able to attend the Columbus College of Art & Design, which is a terrific private art college located there. I majored in both fine art and commercial photography, and minored in painting and illustration.

JRP: When did you realize that photography is what you should be doing and why did you choose the genre of photography that you have?

Jackie Alpers: Well, in college I was taking an advertising design class the same semester that I was taking beginning black & white photography. The instructor for the ad class was really tough and tended to throw the ads he hated across the room, which had happened to me on one occasion. One of the assignments was to create a Nike ad. I photographed some cute guys in my class skateboarding, added some type, got my first A in the class, and declared photography my major.

I didn’t start specializing in food photography until about 5 years ago. I started getting a lot of food themed assignments and realized how much I loved the genre.

JRP: Name for us some photographers you feel have impacted your work and why?

Jackie Alpers: I love Romuo Yanes, who used to be a staff photographer for Gourmet. His images are beautiful and have such a wonderful design sense. Martin Parr, Bill Owens and Irving Penn’s work showed me how I could be a both a fine artist and a food photographer.

Some of my other favorite photographers are Joel Peter Witkin, Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Larry Fink, and Roger Ballen.

JRP: Do you work with a support staff or are you an independent artist?

Jackie Alpers: Both. Though I prefer to keep my productions as low-key and low-tech as possible, I do use stylists, producers and assistants when necessary.

JRP: What type of equipment would I find in your camera bag or studio for a typical shoot? What lighting equipment do you favor and why?

Jackie Alpers: I use the smaller Canon pro cameras. Right now I have a 40d and a 5d Mark II. I use fixed 35mm and 28mm lenses and only natural lighting.

JRP: Would you describe your digital work-flow and the software you use?

Jackie Alpers: I use a combination of Adobe Lightroom, Bridge, and Photoshop CS5.

JRP: Do you personally print your images?

Jackie Alpers: Not any more. I usually get them printed through or at PhotoWorks, which is a local custom printer.

JRP: How do you keep productive and retain your creative edge under the current economic conditions?

Jackie Alpers: The current economic conditions haven’t had any impact on my creativity. In fact I’d say that I’ve had some of my best assignments in the past couple of years. I’m anticipating that as the economy improves things will get even better.

JRP: Are there any memorable images or shoots you could share with us? What made that image or shoot special?

Jackie Alpers: My favorite shoots are the ones where I capture something I hadn’t anticipated. I wait and I watch. For example, often when I’m cooking a recipe for a cookbook amazing things happen. As I’m stirring, or as a pot simmers, these images emerge that I could have never planned.

JRP: Jackie what has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?

Jackie Alpers: I’ve always found this quote from Diane Arbus to be good advice. It taught me to be a problem solver, “I work from awkwardness. By that I mean I don’t like to arrange things. If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself.”

JRP: What advice would you like to share with other photographers?

Jackie Alpers: Have fun and be present in the moment.

JRP: Thank you Jackie for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a real pleasure.

Jackie Alpers: Thanks, it’s been a blast!

JRP: To view more of Jackie Alpers’ photography please follow this link:


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