We have an exclusive peek into FOUR’s exciting new magazine cover for the German issue. René Riis is a specialist in food photography, having worked on more than 20 cooking and wine books and capturing world-renowned chefs, like Noma’s René Redzepi and ‘Demon chef’ Alvin Leung. His love of taking chances and challenges has led him to produce cutting-edge, beautiful, bold food images that are perfect for FOUR – The World’s Best Food Magazine.
How did the idea for this cover take shape?
At a meeting with the editors/staff of FOUR magazine in London we discussed different ideas for future covers for FOUR. One of these was to make a cover with an ice cream for the German issue. There was an idea to make a cover without a model. In the end it worked better with a model. The idea for the shot was to create an image that reflected the futuristic look of the ice cream, but in a minimalistic way.
Tell us more about the ice cream – its unusual shape and perhaps its flavour?
The Kyl21 ice cream is the first and only gastronomic ice cream on a stick. The idea was to make the best ice cream with healthy ingredients, and a fantastic taste. To accomplish this it’s frozen under extreme temperatures and for that a special shape had to be developed. The geometrical design of this ice cream is influenced by a tower in Berlin. (No not the Fernsehturm, the other one!)
How challenging is it to work with transient products such as ice cream?
Working with products which undergo a rapid transition is what you must expect as a food photographer. You try to make a plan how to get as much time as possible where the product looks its best. What helped at this shoot was that the ice cream is colder than normal ice cream, but on the other hand it was a nice warm summer day in the studio, so that worked against us…
Tell us about your collaboration with Kyl21, how did it come about?
I met the guys from Kyl21 at a restaurant opening with the 3-star Michelin chef Juan Amador. Kyl21 where booked to produce their ice cream as an extra dessert in addition to Juan Amadors dishes. I saw there was a long line of people waiting to get an ice cream so I had to try one myself. It then became clear to me that they had a very unique product and it could be interesting to have a shoot with that ice cream.
How much of it was spontaneous and how much was intricately planned in advance?
I had planned the framework for the shot ahead of the actual shooting. What this means is that I had the image in my head and I knew how to get there and how to communicate this vision to the people I collaborated with for the shot – model, make-up artist, Kyl21, etc. On the other hand I don’t like to plan every detail and I would rather work in such a way that I can leave possibilities open. In this case my agent (and wife) suggested that we contact the designer Ricardo Steffen to maybe use some of his necklaces for the shots. That I didn’t have in my head before the shoot.
It sounds like an interesting process!
It was! And with a very international crew working to make the FOUR Germany cover: A Danish photographer, an Argentinian model, a Russian make-up artist and German necklace and ice cream, all coming together in Berlin!
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