New Project: Cookbook Photography!

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This month, I am having the great, great pleasure of working with the Lahey Clinic and the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts on a fabulous new cookbook that provides nutritious, delicious recipes for people undergoing cancer treatments.  The to-be-named book will have over 100 recipes – I am creating beautiful photographs of each dish – and will be organized according to the various symptoms that people living with cancer experience.  Weight loss, digestive problems, nausea, mouth sores, and other symptoms will all be addressed in the book with wonderful, easy recipes that patients can prepare at home for themselves and their families.

The timing couldn’t be better for me to participate in a cookbook for cancer patients.  Right now, I know people with lymphoma, breast cancer, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, and lung cancer.  This week alone, I lost three people I know to cancer: brain, liver, and breast cancer.  I have 3 people in my family in my family – who are currently being treated for cancer.  And I have 2 friends in treatment.  How does this terrible disease manage to infiltrate all of our lives?  I am furious that cancer continues to spread all over the world and throughout our families.  And I feel powerless to do anything about it.  I am so inspired by the oncologists, nutritionists, and researchers at the Lahey Clinic who came up with the idea for this book.  The doctors and nurses have been to every photo shoot so far, hands-on participating to make this project a success.

The people behind this book have been hard at work on it for a year and a half and brought me in this month to handle the photography.  This week, the amazing staff at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts prepared 60 recipes and I photographed each and every one in a little “studio” that I set up in their kitchen.  I can’t wait to see these photos laid out in the book – it will be a really beautiful cookbook, that is for sure!  Here’s a little sneak peek:

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I also got the chance to do some fun shooting in the kitchen, documenting the action while the chefs were working.  Some of these photos may go into the book as well, although the primary photographs will be of the food.  As you know, if you read my blog – ever – photographing chefs in action is one of my favorite things.  It’s almost like sports photography – these people are so skilled at their work, know exactly what they are doing, and do it gracefully and efficiently.  It’s really beautiful to watch and even more fun to be a fly on the wall, photographing the action!  Thanks again to the staff at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts for allowing me to follow them around!

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Okay, now a reality check: I know perfectly well that photographing 200 recipes for a cookbook is not going to cure this terrible disease.  Nor will it prevent more people from getting sick.  I know that eating nutritious food while your undergoing chemotherapy doesn’t make the cancer go away.  I definitely don’t feel like I am doing enough to stop cancer from becoming an epidemic.  For me, though, participating in this cookbook is giving me something very positive to focus on and allowing me to stop brooding over the power that cancer has over my life.  This one-of-a-kind cookbook will provide information, hope, delicious food to the people I know (my aunt hasn’t been able to stomach anything other than chicken noodle soup for about 6 months) and it’s going to be a big hit around the country when it comes out this fall.  I am so proud to be the photographer for this project.

So keep your eyes peeled for this very cool new book, due out in the fall.  We still have 40 more recipes to photograph and lots of work to do, but when it does come out, it will really be a help to people struggling through cancer treatments.  And meanwhile, if you want to know more about what YOU can to do help prevent and find a cure for cancer, check out my friends at the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow.  They are doing really important work to get toxic chemicals out of our everyday products and out of our lives.  Keep yourselves health and get involved in protecting your own health!

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