November 14, 2016 in food styling, handmade goodness
The inspiration behind this story was a collaboration of two highly regarded shops: Flow Gallery and La Fromagerie.
We attended a white-on-white pop-up dinner one evening held in the middle of Flow’s gallery space. La Fromagerie provided the food, designed specifically to sit on handmade, bespoke ceramics from Flow Gallery. The combination of the owners’ impeccable taste – one with an eye for shape and texture, the other nose and palette – created an event that was a sensory experience.
Find out more about La Fromagerie’s cheese range and buy online on their website.
Find out more about Flow Gallery, their exhibitions and works available on their website.
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July 10, 2016 in food styling
This story is a play on the classic still life oil painting style of the Dutch masters in the 17th century. A table top shoot with fresh fruit and vegetables and classic props – styled simply and graphically, with minimal items and using empty space to make them look modern in contrast to the often visually-busy Golden Age still life paintings. Photography by the talented Beth Evans.
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May 20, 2016 in food styling
Dog gone: Theo Randall’s final meal
What would your last meal be?
Each week in ‘Cook’ The Guardian newspaper’s food supplement, a different top chef is interviewed in a lighthearted look at how they would spend their last meal, what it would be and why…
For these images I selected props and styled to help visualise the last bites of Padma Lakshmi, Arthur Jeffes, Pierre Koffman, Dan Doherty, Tom Kerridge, Theo Randall, Kelis and Tim Hayward.
The animated cinemagraphs are by photographer Emma Lee.
‘The story of the dream changes with each retelling’: Arthur Jeffes’ final meal
French leave: Pierre Koffmann’s final meal
‘I’ve hunted and gathered things from everywhere’: Padma Lakshmi’s final meal
‘By the time I’m done cooking, I just want to order pizza’: Kelis’s final meal
“I’d want someone to make a spiralised courgette salad and then pour it down the waste disposal”: Tim Hayward’s final meal
Seaside send-off: Tom Kerridge’s final meal
Homecoming: Dan Doherty’s final meal
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April 10, 2016 in food styling
These photographs were shot for Open Blue, the world’s leading mariculture farm situated off the coast of Panama. Their premium quality fish are raised in a natural and controlled environment in the world’s largest open ocean farm and supplied to the global restaurant industry.
As prop stylist I sourced backgrounds, surfaces and culinary props to show the beauty and texture of the fish in its raw state and also how it can be prepared and used in raw and cooked dishes. Working with Allies Design Studio, photographer Uli Schade and food stylist Peta O’Brien, we created a series of pure images that let the fish do the talking.
Open Blue Cobia fish are farmed in a sustainable way in farms in the open water in Panama, working in harmony with the ocean and ecosystem, and many experts call it the world’s most sustainable aquaculture operation.
Cobia is a pure, healthy, versatile white fish that is offered in high quality sashimi grade, so can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Its taste is a rich buttery flavor it is uniquely delicious any way you prepare it.
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February 18, 2014 in flowers, food styling, handmade goodness
I took these pictures last year. I had popped into Made London, an event held at One Marylebone where European designer makers exhibit, to see my friend Grainne Morton who had a stand there. After we caught up I browsed the show and bought a few new objects. I still had my favourite hired photo shoot surface at home and couldn’t resist taking some photos before it was returned to the prop house the next day. My new purchases all had a monochrome, geometric and graphic quality that I contrasted with a handful of natural items picked from the garden.
This glass and ceramic mini vessel is by ceramcist Jill Shaddock who was part of the Crafts Council‘s exhibition stand, promoting their 2013 Hothouse designer makers.
This asymmetric, blackened wooden serving board is by Pacha Design. I also used it in my recent styling story for Elle Decoration.
This delicate metal ring is by jeweller Kirsty Pearson, another of the Crafts Council’s Hothouse designer makers in 2013.
Craft shows are a great way to buy unique, hand made items for your home or to wear and to support designer makers at the same time.
Made London is being held at the same venue this year on 24-26 October 2014.
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December 29, 2013 in food styling, interior styling
With New Year’s Eve coming up, I wanted to share a shoot I worked on recently with the talented photographer Beth Evans for The Observer Food Monthly in conjunction with John Lewis. Although this was Part 2 of ideas for a stylish Christmas it’s also perfect for New Year. The theme was cocktails in the jazz age, so think The Great Gatsby to get you into the party mood.
Drinks were served in cut glass tumblers and hi balls, food served in stainless steel bowls, set on geometric fabric tablecloths to set the scene. Cocktail shakers with their timeless and elegant shape were necessary to make the drinks and added a sculptural shape to the images.
I wrapped gifts in silver paper with strings of sequins wound round them and topped with feathers. Party food was luscious and luxuriant; deep, dark velvety grapes, devils on horseback, smoked salmon blinis and juicy vibrant olives, pomegranates and Pavlova all set in low light with twinkling candles. Recipes include Between The Sheets, Gin Rickey and Mint Julep. All quite potent from the small sips I tried!
As part of the overall feature I also styled and prepped the set for three short films for John Lewis with writer and presenter Felicity Cloake. Here Felicity shows you how to mix the perfect cocktail:
Have a look at Beth Evans’ food, interiors and still life photography in her online portfolio here. Chrissie T Holden assisted with food and styling.
You can read the full story and see other images, ideas, tips, recipes and a competition to win a cookery class and a set of copper cookware! now over on The Guardian Online. There is also a great interactive version with high res images and videos:
All the props are available to buy at John Lewis so if you want to know what any of the products featured are the click on the main image on that page and you can see the product names and prices.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you the very best for the new year!
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Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
To enquire about commissioning Sania for commercial or editorial projects, please use the contact form.