Image © Melissa Brisko
“Breakfast With Vonnegut”
First Place – Self Promotion / Personal
“My husband Tim and I were sitting down at our 1950’s dinner table and came up with the idea for a period piece: a 1950’s style diner breakfast scene, from when ‘men were men,’ they smoked, drank black coffee, and ate eggs and bacon for breakfast.”
ASMP: What was your inspiration for taking this photo?
Melissa Brisko: Epic nostalgia. The title is an homage to our literary hero, Pall Mall-smoker, Kurt Vonnegut.
ASMP: What type of setting do you prefer?
MB: I prefer a tightly controlled studio setting, shooting tethered, on a tripod, with a meticulously styled set.
ASMP: Is there anything unique about your style or approach?
MB: We strive to shoot as clean and slick as possible, but that can sometimes be sterile. Tim, my husband and partner in Studio Brisko, brings his special editing skills that come from years as an artist and product photographer. His post-production makes the images “pop.”
ASMP: What type of lighting did you use for this image or series?
MB: Profoto softboxes set up on C-stands, and a hand-held lightweight Alien bee with a snoot, using a light-painting technique of pointing at the various objects on the table. The final image was composited from about 6 images.
ASMP: How long have you been shooting this type of photography?
MB: My husband and I have been shooting the dramatic painterly images for about three years. Before I met him, I shot naturalistic, but styled food photography, with giant softboxes mimicking natural light.
ASMP: What other photographers’ or artists’ work inspires you?
MB: I have always loved the rich jewel tone colors of the Northern Renaissance. We use the technique of light painting to emulate the moody and dramatic lighting of Caravaggio and Rembrandt. We also draw inspiration from the impeccable compositions of Dutch still life, which often include an element of surprise. In the case of this piece, we included a crumpled up sweetener packet with powder spilled on the table.
ASMP: When did you join ASMP and what do you find most valuable about your membership?
MB: I joined as a student in 2011. I loved taking advantage of the lower rate offered and gaining access to the legal templates, pricing information, and business tips offered in the book that came with my membership.
ASMP: What is the more important relationship you’ve formed through your ASMP membership?
MB: I would say relationships. I was listed in “Find an Assistant” for a few years and I loved working with professionals in the field; it was like on-the-job training and it taught me a lot about how to work in the commercial industry.
ASMP: What kind of gear do you use?
MB: Canon 5d mark 3, Profotos d2 Air, and a good old Canon 100 mm f2.8 lens for 90% of what we shoot.
ASMP: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started your career as a photographer?
MB: The imposter syndrome feels real and it does go away. Every job is a learning opportunity.