EXCLUSIVE: The Making of FOUR’s Black Series

02 Feb 2014
2 min read
Take a sneak preview of FOUR’s up and coming Black Series and read about what the great food photographer René Riis’ used as his inspiration…

We have an exclusive peek into FOUR’s exciting new magazine covers that will be uncovered with the first issue of the German, UK, International, Asian and US editions. Embarking on the Black Series theme, the culinary cover images have been captured by illustrious photographer René Riis.

René is a specialist in food photography, having worked on more than twenty cooking and wine books and capturing world renowned chefs, like Noma’s René Redzepi and ‘Demonchef’, Alvin Leung. His love of taking chances and challenges has led him to produce cutting-edge, beautiful, bold food images that are prefect for FOUR – The World’s Best Food Magazine.

How did you come to become a food photographer?

It has always been in my blood. When I was younger I loved looking through my mum’s old-style cooking books and their images of different regional ingredients. I embarked on photography apprenticeships and came into contact with a food photographer. I loved his work and I took an opportunity to give it a go on my own, when I jumped at the opportunity of photographing an up and coming chef. The rest is history…

What do you use as your inspiration?

Before a shoot I’ll look through my books by famous photographers to get some inspiration, as well as paintings and still life photography from the 1970s and 1980s. I like to look at classic images, although they don’t tend to include food. I try to encompass elements of what I see and like in my work.

On a shoot, what would be the best conditions?

I think what’s unique about my work is that I can adapt to any condition – all I need is my camera and some light. I thrive in difficult conditions; I like to be pushed and to be spontaneous with my work. The “Demonchef”, Alvin Leung and I almost played creative ping-pong when we were on shoot – he would move something and tell me to quickly capture it and I would do the same. It was great!

How was the Black Series concept conceived?

It was in fact Antioco Piras (Director at FOUR) who came up with the idea of creating black images. I then thought about creating a series of graphic looking photographs that depict gastronomy at its finest. What I loved about working with FOUR is the freedom and lack of limits with the food and compositions used. It’s very rare to come across such open minds!

Can you tell us about the shooting the Black Series?

The shoot took me one complete day. However, with my food stylist we sourced the food to be used from all sorts of places beforehand. What comes with working on projects that push boundaries is a need for flexibility; we had to change ideas at the last minute and adapt to some tricky situations.

Have the images come out as you had envisaged?

Whenever I look back at the photographs that I have taken they are never the same as what I imagine. Although some end products come close, they are never exactly the same. That’s the beauty in photography. Some people will love an image that I don’t find ground-breaking and vice versa.

What gives a great culinary image?

Life and imperfection. The favourite image of mine is of a boiled egg. It was cooked to perfection and sliced in half. The way that the yolk was mixing with the white of the egg was both perfect and imperfect.

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