Douglas Friedman Eats It Up for Food & Wine
Every year when Food & Wine sets out to find the best restaurants of the year, they embark on an intense investigation that takes half the year and tallies 45,000 miles of travel. They whittle the list down to a final 10 and share them with the rest of us, an incredible distinction for any restaurant. When Food & Wine asked Douglas Friedman to create a bevy of assets to go along with their annual list including portraits, food and interior photography, as well as time-lapse video, they let it be an extension of the process they go through to compile the list: Douglas photographed all 10 restaurants in only 10 days. “It was an exhilarating 10 days in 10 restaurants in 10 different cities,” Douglas says. “A lot of moving around. Not a lot of time in the gym, but a lot of time to eat,” he says with a laugh. “I just ate!”
Douglas is known for his portraits and interior photography, but he photographs food less. For him the transition is an easy one. Instead of approaching it as an entirely different skill set, he reimagines the process through a lens he’s an expert at. “When you approach food like architecture, it becomes super exciting,” Douglas explains. Dishes are prepared and presented the same way an interior designer prepares and presents, just on a different scale.
Photographing that many people at that many establishments in that few days over that much distance can be a real challenge. But it can be easier if the artist is surrounded by positive collaborators. “Everyone was so excited. Everyone was great. Everybody was really generous with their time, super excited,” Douglas says. “I would show up and we would have three hours to do this, make a time-lapse video, shoot everything, and get out and get on the next plane and keep going. We all just fed off this excited energy.” From the beginning it was a steep hill to climb, a nearly impossible proposition. But thanks to the hard work and continued positive energy of everyone involved they got everything they needed, wanted, and then a little bit more.