Editorial and food photography at the Whitstable Oyster Company
I’ve been working for over a year on a range of editorial and food photography at the Whitstable Oyster Company courtesy of a significant website redesign by James Montgomery at Realising Designs. It’s all about storytelling and the following the journey of the oysters as infants in the oyster beds to their final destination on a plate.
The timing of the early morning tides means that it’s usually a lonely trek across the muddy sand and shingle towards where the crew are working on the seed trays and bags. Whilst it might be cold and wet for me at 7am, they’ve already been out there for a lot longer, managing and repairing the trestles. This year the oyster trestles will see 5 million seed oysters put out to grow. Six million tonnes will be exported. It’s a serious business.
It’s a laborious process. Oyster seed is bought from the Seasalter Shellfish Reculver Hatchery which is owned by renowned oyster farmer and scientist, John Bayes. The oysters are then regularly turned and cultivated – taking three years to reach maturity in the hatchery. An oyster hatchery simply creates a controlled environment for the early portions of the oyster life cycle.
This project has required a breadth of photography, from people out on location, headshots, food and beer. The different locations and settings have required a mixture of lighting and camera techniques to work quickly and to tight timescales. You can’t rely on natural light alone (or the weather) to have sunlight just where you need it.
This has always been and continues to be at the heart of what I do – publication quality pictures that are good for large print and advertising, not just online. If you would like help telling your business or personal story through pictures, do please get in touch.