Joan Marie Co.

Creating Sophisticated Utility as a Culinary Photographer

Getting Labeled Was The Best Thing To Happen To Me

Joan Marie4 Comments
Spoon With Cherries - Joan Marie Photography

It happened in an instant.  It happened with such force that I was completely blind-sided.  Words cannot convey the level of emotion that pummeled me.  I was LABELED and will be forever grateful.

I have been working on a HUGE project over the last year and if you like, you can read more about that HERE.  This project was an unrealized dream that in hindsight has moved me forward so creatively I often stop to pinch myself to make sure it is real.

About a year ago, I was selected to exhibit my photography at our local art gallery as part of a small group of featured artists for the entire month of August 2018.  Along with myself, there are two other artists chosen to exhibit who create in different mediums.  One works magic with wood and the other with calligraphy and illustrations. 

Because we were chosen about a year ago, we were given plenty of time to refine our collections, develop artists statements, and prepare mentally to "show our work" to the live public.  It just seems like yesterday when I received the email letting me know I was chosen after submitting examples of my photography for their jury review and artist selection.

This past year has flown by with a flurry of activity ranging from fresh photo shoot ideas, determining the best fine art paper for printing the images, to the framing design.  As I chose to do all of the planning, creating, and work myself, minutes turned into days, days turned into weeks, which turned into months, which has brought me to now...all in the blink of an eye.

Just last weekend I put the final touches on the framed prints, printed and signed the certificates of authenticity, and ordered the individual prints and show kits for the exhibit.  I had 90% of my creative work completed.

I wrote and rewrote my artist statement (which if you haven't tried writing one for yourself, it is much harder than it sounds), gave my exhibit a title for the theme, took a breath to look at the collection in it's entirety and was very happy with what I saw.

The exhibit collection was ready.....

Then came the email in which I was LABELED.

The email came early last week from the gallery representatives and they provided information for us to submit pictures of our exhibit pieces for a press release, photos for marketing collateral, and our artist statement and bio.  They also shared dates on when to bring in our art for set up/display AND the date of our artist reception.  My heart really started pounding at the reality of all and I quickly discovered I had a bit more work to do.

As I neared the bottom of the email, I noticed they had listed all three of the featured artist names and the type of work we would be showing...... and this is what I saw... label....

 Joan Marie - Culinary Photography

There it was.....right in front of my eyes....a label for my creative work!!!!  A description of my niche!!!  My focus!  My Passion!....from a set of "outsider eyes".  From folks who viewed and curated art on a daily basis...



Yes "CULINARY"....It was perfect

Let me explain....

If you have followed my blog for awhile, you will recall the many many types of creative projects I have undertaken.  From creating a "farmhouse kitchen" photo shoot set, to building a harvest table top, photographing homemade dinner rolls, and my vintage kitchen tool and bakeware collecting for props.

All this time I wished I could've stated my "niche".  I wanted to confidently share my title of photographic style.  My "specialty" if you will...and try as I might, nothing seemed to fit.

I didn't consider myself to be a "food photographer" as those folks love to cook and create recipes all the while shooting their delicious creations....I tried that and since I don't enjoy cooking that was a no-go.  I didn't want to focus on interiors and decorating as that was not my forte either.  I tried flower photography and that didn't work as I envisioned.....I kept experimenting and practicing and just couldn't answer the question...

"What type of photography do you do Joan?"

Additionally I knew what I absolutely DID NOT enjoy and that was landscape/nature photography and taking lifestyle or portrait images. 

So as I continually looked over my entire collection of still life images, I searched for a trend, a pattern, or even a suggestion as to where my focus was with eluded me.  Onward I forged constantly seeking the answer to my photography style type....

BUT...with one email "label" all changed.

When I saw my name and what the gallery determined as the focus of my body of work I would be exhibiting, I was floored as there was the answer....I ran to the thesaurus and dictionary....


[kyoo-luh-ner-ee, kuhl-uh-]

   of, relating to, or used in cooking or the kitchen.

 YES!!!  YES!!!  YES!!!  YES!!!  YES!!!

My love of photographing fruits, vegetables, muffins, cakes, crusty loaves of bread and vintage kitchen props.  My love of farmhouse kitchens, aprons, green wood handled kitchen utensils, old rusty scales, slabs of old wood for backdrops, linens, tin cookie cutters, old bread pans and cookie sheets, and farmer's market fare.  Old worn cutting boards, mason jars with zinc lids, and spools of kitchen twine.  These are the things I love to create images with.

 So with one email, containing one label of me and my work, my style found a name. 

Thank You ArtZ Gallery!!

Now when someone asks me "What type of photography do you do Joan?"....I can proudly and confidently reply...

I am a CULINARY PHOTOGRAPHER who LOVES photographing all things "of, relating to, or used in cooking or the kitchen.

.....and let me tell feels good.

As I near the preparation finish line for this exhibit, I will be sharing images of the final framed pieces, the crazy wonderful awesome piece I found for displaying my show kit matted prints, how I designed the certificates of authenticity, a unique frame "backing" idea, and how I came up with a theme and title for my showing.

AHHHH....the life of a Culinary Photographer (wink)

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for visiting!



Microfiber Cleaning

Joan Marie1 Comment

There are few things that compare to the feeling of a job well done.  That feeling of hard work followed by the worn out contentment of blissful accomplishment.  To find yourself surrounded by the peace emitted from a house you have just cleaned.

Not just the quick ten minute tidy or the flash wipe of the counter tops but the slow and deliberate act of cleaning.  Cleaning with a purpose and strong intention.  Setting aside a full day to work through the housecleaning process wrapped in a slow and steady pace.  Real honest to goodness deep cleaning.  The kind of clean that makes you want to invite everyone over to enjoy the outcome with you.

In the past, my cleaning arsenal included various rags and towels, all types of spray cleaners, a few magic eraser sponges, and dusting spray.  This basic equipment along with the vacuum cleaner and broom/dust pan combo typically produced good results.  I have to admit that I would go through a pretty lengthy strip of paper towels as well due to the "ease of grab" and I knew deep down this was not really necessary but wasteful as well. 

The cleaning today began with a different tone in that I decided to see for myself the merits of cleaning with microfiber towels.  Supposedly one could scrub, dust, wipe, dry, and polish with this little woven wonder.  When done, rinse well and hang to dry for the next round.  If the towel was dirty beyond a rinse, then it was placed in a towel hamper (little basket by the washer) as they should be washed alone and without fabric softener.  Due to their lint and dust gathering characteristics, if washed with other items, you will be picking off little "pills" for days.  I have even read that a quick toss in the dryer helps build their static properties, thus "holding" on to the dust or dirt.

With a freshly laundered batch of microfiber towels in hand, I designated colors for various tasks.  The green towels would be for the bathroom and the yellow towels were for the kitchen.  I saved the blue towels for windows and dusting.

Let's start with the bathroom...

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Using my disinfectant cleaners I scrubbed the sink, shower, and faucets followed by the vanity counter tops.   The faucets shined, the counter tops glistened, and the shower sparkled.  Next up the toilet and floors.  Both were cleaned with ease and due to the drying properties, no evidence of product film was left anywhere.  As a final step, the large mirror was cleaned and polished without a streak to be seen and zero little lint remnants were left behind as previously achieved by my paper towels efforts!  I was actually enjoying this!!  The bathroom microfiber towels were rinsed and hung in the laundry room for their wash.

Next up, the kitchen.  In our kitchen there are two main areas that always give me grief:  1.  Our black appliances and 2. the smooth cooktop on the stove.  Our black appliances show every streak possible when wiping them down followed by a hand drying and try as I might with every specialty cleaner, the cooktop never shines the way I feel it should.

Using my yellow towels I started at the top and worked my way down to the floor.  Here again, the sink and faucets shined, the cupboard doors and handles glistened, and the appliances....the cooktop.....let's just say that I will NEVER clean our kitchen without my microfiber towels ever again.  Each task turned out better than expected and again, I found myself enjoying the tasks due to the results that were happening right before my eyes.

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Our patio door in the dining room was given the royal treatment and here too, not a streak or paper towel lint trail to be seen.  Dusting in the living room was incredibly easy as the dust was trapped in the towel and I didn't have to use much dusting spray if at all.  As I worked through the rooms, I took note of how many times I finished a job and then smiled.  I was invigorated!

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Lastly, I wanted to give the computer screens, iPads, and cell phones a nice clean and polish.  Using a fresh blue microfiber window towel, I lightly sprayed it with screen cleaner and began wiping.  Perfection.  Sparkly clean perfection.  I grabbed my glasses and gave them the test too - makeup and smudges...gone. 

I even took a couple of clean microfiber towels out to the garage and, wiped down the car interiors.  The control screens in both cars collect dust and finger prints and cleaning them with rags always left dust and lint behind. 

Not this time - beautifully shiny was the result.  I tucked a clean microfiber towel in each car to use for quick wipe downs inside and out after the car wash and for the quick weekly maintenance wipe down.

As I neared the end of the cleaning projects, I was delighted to see that not only had I saved time but the garbage wasn't filled up with used paper towels!

Saving time and making the best use of time, especially on the weekends, is a huge challenge for me.  Knowing how much time I saved today, I will be that much more motivated to tackle small jobs throughout the week to stay on top of everything and have even more free time on the weekends!

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I actually found enough extra time today to enjoy some creative planning, research new blog ideas, and start the editorial calendar I have been trying to do for months!  I can't recommend microfiber towels enough and am looking forward to even more cleaning discoveries with them.  Going forward, I plan to use the daylights out of these towels and will let you know how they wear as well as new ways to use them.   

Do you use microfiber towels around the house?  Are they a time saver for you?  Maybe you are considering their usage but find it hard to sway from your personal tried and true methods?  Do you have a special way you use them and would like to share?  If so, leave a comment below!  Let me know what you think because as always, I love hearing from you.''

Have a great start to the week!


The Power of Creativity

Joan Marie2 Comments
White Pencils.JPG

I don't watch the news much anymore.  I have come to the realization that no matter how much I disagree or don't understand what is happening in a political environment or with the stock market, it makes little difference.  How much time and energy do I want to spend trying to decipher the information?  How can I watch people assemble and protest while knowing that their voices may most likely fall on deaf ears?

How many stories of murder statistics, high dollar athlete contracts, or sex scandals can one person absorb?

This is not say I am cold and calloused to the world changes or economic efforts, it simply means that with the precious time I have on this earth, I can easily agree to disagree and make my personal and family life as beautiful as possible. 

With this mentality and by concentrating on creating  art through images, words, heart, hands, and eyes, our creative efforts instill a domino effect of greater peace and living more slowly.   Those around us take pause to view and listen.  Like or dislike.  We find ourselves removed from sadness, confusion, and anger.  We collectively grow our strengths of love, compassion, and encouragement.

We Thrive. 

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The greatest joy of being creative is seeing the world differently.  For example, when driving to work, as creatives we may immediately notice the gorgeous shades of green beginning to develop after a long white winter.  What we don't see is ourselves behind the mower once or twice a week, the price of gas,  or how much laundry is waiting for us when we get home.

Creative types dream, we look deeper, we appreciate more fully, we love unconditionally. 

Just pretend for a minute that for one day the world held a huge art class.  You could show up at anytime, grab your supplies of choice, and just start creating.  You could sit anywhere you liked and create whatever you wanted.  There is no contest or prize, just people slowing down and making.  There would be encouragement, compliments, quiet moments, laughter, conversations without judgement, and wonderful treasures created all over the place in words, with paint, with pencils, through cameras, with sewing machines, with knitting needles, or clay.  

What a gallery we could create!

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At the very same time, we would find ourselves learning more about our neighbors whether in our backyard or across the ocean.  We would be enlightened by the thoughts, the visions, the feelings coming to life all around us.  Folks terminally ill, homeless, or alone and sad would all be given hope and some form of peace.  We would help each other, encourage each other, laugh and tell stories, love each other.  Matters of skin color, culture, political beliefs would become non-existent...we would simply be human beings living and creating.

Now you might be thinking this idea is complete bunk, unrealistic, or insane.  That's really is and here is my reasoning.  You read these words, perhaps envisioned the scene and I would bet that for a moment, you believed in it.  You saw it.  You heard it.  You felt it.  Maybe it was only for a tenth of a second.  If so, for a tenth of a second, you slowed down and felt encouraged or realized no matter your social or economic position you were a very small part of what collectively could be a huge kind and caring community.

You didn't scramble to your Facebook page or Instagram feed for fear of missing something.  You weren't glued to your phone or email.  You didn't despise your boss or co-workers.  You didn't fret about the charts, graphs, or numbers.  You didn't worry about bills or health issues. You didn't worry about feeding your children or when that new job would appear.  For a tenth of a second you felt the world all surrounding just you for who you are.  You were empowered to tackle your issues.  You felt the world "having your back" and ready to help you live and love more deeply. 

You were going to be better than OK because you, for a brief moment in your time on earth, simply believed.  You created.

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Write that poem that has been hidden in your thoughts.  Paint that picture you see in your mind.  Sew that fabric that sits in the corner of your stash room.  Take your camera for a walk without a plan.  Feel that cool and damp clay in your hands. Sketch that apple on the table. 

Let your heart and hands work together to create something that is the most perfectly unique, one of a kind, masterpiece in the whole wide world.  Think about it....the only creation of it's kind in the world.  It is yours forever and ever.

Make something today and help someone else make something.  Encourage someone's dream and thank them for being part of your life.  Compliment someone's smile and say "thank you" as many times as possible.  Be Creative.

I hope these words added a bit of joy to your day and if so, I am happy to have given that just to you, just as you needed.

Wishing you mountains of creativity,