Friday, November 8, 2013

Claire McCormack Photography | dallas

{portrait | Kelly Rucker}
We had the privilege of interviewing one of our favorite food photographers, Claire McCormack Hogan of Claire McCormack Photography. I love Claire for so many reasons... she's an incredibly talented artist, she's an open-hearted lover of people and life, and she's also one of those amazing dreamers who was courageous enough to pursue her dreams. Claire's work is captivating and Mr. H and I are also inspired by the way she lives life. She's so down-to-earth and celebrates life/people in such a humble, sincere way that it can be shocking when you find out her clientele includes: Superbowl XLV, The Ritz Carlton, Maggiano's Little Italy, Stephan Pyles, The Big 12 Conference, Weight Watchers & Jennifer Hudson, DuJour Magazine, The Scout Guide, Daily Candy, and Southern Living to name a few. 

We're honored to have her on the mr.&mrs.h guide today. If want to be inspired by beauty or need some inspiration for going after your dreams, read on because Claire's insight and art will do just that...

MMH: What led you to food photography?
CM: Art directors and editors looked at my website and encouraged me to focus on doing one thing really well. Food was what I loved most. I love the food scene and I've always had a passion for food. I love what food brings out in people. Growing up, instead of playing fort I played kitchen. I always wanted to be a food writer or chef. Food photography allowed me to be in the food world without the mean critiques. It was my happy medium.  

MMH: What was the biggest learning curve in taking on the world of food photography?
CM: I didn't go to school for it, so having to teach myself about owning a company, being in a technical art, and running a business has been a such a learning experience. But,  it's come naturally in the sense that it combines the things I love the most - people, relationships, and creativity. 

Now that I have a few years under my belt, it's definitely gotten easier. But, when you are an expert in a field or, in my case, trying to become one. You are always learning and I can get that wave of feeling like I'm drinking out of a fire hydrant. But, instead of focusing on that I've learned to love the experience of learning. 

MMH: Perks of the job?
CM: In the food industry, chefs are clearly passionate about what they're producing and I'm passionate about what I'm producing. That's an exciting element, to play off of each other in a sense. 

My favorite part, though, is the relationships I get to build. 
 It's great to get to know people and love on their individual creativity, understand how they work, and how they like to be responded to. Whether, it's the assistants, or the PR team, or the media, or the publications, or the chefs themselves, or their management team, I think it's really fun to get to know all the people that make it run because it's never just one person.

Another thing I love about food photography versus fine art photography is seeing work produced and in print or online. I love seeing it come to life with all the other elements whether it's the the text, the typogragphy, or the story. It's really fun to see the whole thing come together because I'm just a piece of it.  

MMH: Toughest part of the job?
CM: Confidence. There's so much technically to photography. I'm always striving to learn and there's always going to be someone who's better. When you're putting your work out there for criticism or likes and dislikes. You have people who like your work and people who don't like it.You have to be confident in what you are producing. But, you can't be all things to all people. That's one reason I finally picked a niche, that's why I did food photography

Also, comparison. There's always going to be someone who's better. But, comparison is a thief of joy. And, I love what I do. I love the clients I get to work with. I love the relationships I get to build and those are going to be unique to me. I think confidence and comparison are always challenges as an artist. But, it's worth it in the end. I love getting to do what I do, I wouldn't want to be in a office all day or under a big corporation. But, you do have to have a strong inner-voice. 

MMH: Do you have a "most memorable" shoot? If so, why?
CM: There are a lot of different ones for different reasons. But, right after I decided to focus food photography a magazine out of New York hired me to shoot the Food and Wine Festival in Austin. I remember being there for 4 days, shooting food for 10 hours a day, meeting some of the best chefs in Austin - really from all over - and it was such a cool feeling. I remember being exhausted but thinking, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe I get paid for this." It was such a sweet memory of realizing this is what I want to do and I'm actually here. 

But, honestly, in every shoot, I love hearing the chefs' stories. And, even on the littlest shoots, I look around and think, "Wow, I get to do this for a living."

{all images courtesy of Claire McCormack Photography}

MMH: Claire, thanks so much for taking time to share your passion, insight, and art on the mr.&mrs.h guide! We are so inspired by your work and the way you live life. 

{To see more of Claire's delicious photography, head over to her website & her blog. Also, if you're heading to the Lone Star state any time soon, don't miss Claire's favorite spots to eat+drink in Dallas, Austin, and Fredericksburg, Texas.}

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