Start with an amazing idea: A food photography festival

Add an ideal location: Tarragona, Spain.

Make sure the creator of the festival is the best: that would be Gunter Beer – world class photographer

Assemble the main ingredients: talented photographers from all over the world;  collections of awe-inspiring work; brilliant speakers to give talks & seminars.

Mix together and stir till fully blended. Allow about two years for prep time.

Add a dash of competition, garnish with prizes and parties, mix in a fabulous blend of happy people and voila!

A perfect FoodPhoto Festival 2010!

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Spain, to attend the first ever Food Photo Festival. It took place from September 29-October 5 in Tarragona Spain and, in short, it was thrilling, inspiring, fascinating and delicious! I can’t wait to go back next year!

If you’re wondering what food photography is, wonder no more. Everything we eat is affected by how it looks. Whether on the plate or in the package, in a television ad or on a supermarket shelf – photography sells it. Cookbooks, gourmet magazines, travel journals – all depend on beautiful (hopefully) photography.

Gunter Beer, originally from Germany, now living in his adopted land of Spain, was the brains behind this enormous effort. Gunter has decades of experience with cookbooks (I had the honor to work with him on a few); magazines; live shoots, apps for i products – name it, he’s done it. His creativity is surpassed only by his talent. He happened to be talking to his neighbor and friend Manon Straver, who’s an international event organizer. He mentioned his dream, she said “Why not?” and a Food Photo Festival was born!

Gunter wanted to bring together professionals from all over the world and give them an opportunity to show their work, view the work of others, network, learn, co-venture. The extra value were the professionals who participated and offered expertise in various related fields.

What impressed me most was the camaraderie among the participants. People from Spain, Austria, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, South Africa, England, Sweden, Holland, and yes even me from Israel, had a chance to get to know one another over a period of several days. There seems to be a commonality among all these people – they’re modest, they’re fun, and they’re very talented. Perhaps its the love of food that creates the bond.

I was honored to meet and spend time with some of the participants. Ray Massey of England presented Liquid Illusions, a collection of images using special effects and amazing illusions. Tony Putnam, a transplanted Brit living the good life in Barcelona presented his still lifes of food for packaging and publicity. Petra Schmidt of Vienna and Monica Gumm of Germany are extraordinary photographers.  Marian Montoro Blanco came to see and her photos should have been on the exhibit walls (next year?). Sweden’s Mans Jensen was a chef for many years before turning in his colander for a camera. The charming Robin Willis, an American ex-pat living in Spain did a docu-drama of “Walter Ate a Peanut.” Poor Walter.

The German gourmet magazine Der Feinschmecker was represented by Madeleine Jakits, who presented a charming, sometimes too funny review of the last 35 years of food photography. Denise Vivaldo & Cindie Flannigan, from Los Angeles of all places, offered a seminar on food styling, another American Matt Armendariz, spoke about the social media phenomenon as a means of spreading one’s name. Germany’s Dirk Gebhardt provided a fact-filled forum on websites for photographers, and Belgian Joris Luyten made a presentation on creating your own cookbook. Over a period of several days, conferences, seminars, presentations, culinary workshops and mingling took place.

Oh yes – there were the exhibitions. Amazing! Several halls throughout Tarragona was commandeered for the purpose of displaying the photographs of these exceptional photographers.

All in all, a great experience. One not to be missed – even if you have nothing to do with photography – its well worth a visit. And Tarragona? Lovely, friendly, sweet, manageable.

You get to Tarragona by flying into Barcelona, and then getting a train or bus to the city of Barcelona, and then on to Tarragona, which is less than an hour south, on the coast. It got rather hairy the day I arrived – the day of the national strike. But all’s well that ended well.

If you’re thinking about where to go during next year’s vacation, put this festival high on the list!

FoodPhoto Festival –


Hotel Placa de la Font – extremely basic, but friendly, very well priced and perfect location

La Grava – Boutique hotel and upscale restaurant a few kilometers outside of Tarragona. One of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had! The place for Catalan cooking. Worth the drive!


987 Hotel – Loved it! Boutique, chic, well-priced, quiet location but close to it all.

6 Responses

  1. Hi Anne!!

    Lovely post my lady!!
    Thoroughly njoyed your company and a nice post Foodphotofestival lunch was good too!

    Hope all is good, will be in touch with you to see what can be done.. you know what I mean!!
    Take it easy

  2. Did you take these photos? I’m salivating looking at the mouth-watering dishes! My favourite foods.

    What a wonderful experience you had!

  3. I’m completely agree with you, it was amazing. See you there next year, or perhaps this could be earlier…

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